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Veterinary surgeon

To work as a vet in another EU country, you must apply to the authority that oversees the profession in that country, providing proof of your qualifications. The authority must:

  • acknowledge your application within 1 month of receiving it, and ask missing but necessary documents to process the application
  • assess your qualifications and decide whether to grant your application within 3 months (or 4 months for certain complicated cases in the area of non automatic recognition)

If you do not accept their decision, you can appeal to the relevant court in that country. As to the type of documents an authority may ask, please see also the Code of conductpdf Choose translations of the previous link 

Which qualifications are recognised?

Automatic recognition

The authorities in any EU country must recognise any of the veterinary qualifications listed in:

  • Annexes V, point 4.2 of the Directive on recognition of professional qualifications

All these qualifications meet the basic criteria for automatic recognition, which are:

  • at least 5 years’ full-time theoretical and practical study
  • coverage of the subjects listed in Annex V, point 4.1 of the Directive on recognition of professional qualifications

If your qualification is not listed in Annex V, point 4.2 because it does not meet the basic criteria, it may still be recognised under an acquired rights regime. For this end you must demonstrate at least 3 years of professional experience within the last 5 years (Art. 23 but please see Art. 39 for other situations).

Non-automatic recognition

Even if your veterinary qualification does not meet the criteria for automatic recognition and is not listed in Directive 2005/36/EC, it may still be recognised in other EU countries under the general system for recognition of qualifications.

However, if the relevant authorities think your training is significantly different from the training required in that country, you may have to sit an aptitude test, or to complete an adaptation period.

For details of what qualifications may be recognised on this basis and what conditions may be attached, see Articles 10 to 15 of the Directive (2005/36/EC).


  • Directive on recognition of professional qualifications (2005/36/EC)
  • Automatically recognised qualifications – recent additions

Read more:

  • Updates list of diplomas
  • Archives
  • Statements:
    Council Statements concerning the mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications in veterinary medicine, including measures to facilitate the effective exercise of the right of establishment and freedom to provide services - Council statement on prophylaxis and the inspection of animal foodstuffs and foodstuffs of animal origin.