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Automatic recognition

Automatic recognition

In the EU there is a system of automatic recognition of professional qualifications for seven sectoral professions: nurses, midwives, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, architects and veterinary surgeons.

How automatic recognition works

To work in another EU country, professionals must apply to the authority that oversees their profession in that country for the recognition of their qualifications.

To benefit from automatic recognition, professionals must obtain a diploma that complies with minimum training requirements under the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (2005/36/EC) and is listed in Annex V to this directive, as well as any other certificates listed in Annex V with regard to the profession in question. This particularly concerns documents certifying successful completion of professional traineeships and state exams. If only an academic diploma has been obtained, but not the respective accompanying certificates as listed in Annex V, there is no possibility of automatic recognition under Directive 2005/36/EC.

The authority must

  • acknowledge your application within one month of receiving it and ask you for missing, but necessary documents to process the application
  • assess your qualifications, and decide whether to grant your application within three months (or four months for specific cases stated below falling in the area of non-automatic recognition)

In case of disagreement, professionals can appeal to the court in the respective country. For the type of documents authorities may ask for, please see the code of conduct (3 MB).

Practical information on the seven sectoral professions

Nurses

General care nurses

Automatic recognition

Minimum training required for automatic recognition of professional qualifications for general care nurses is at least 3 years of full-time study and 4,600 hours covering the subjects mentioned in Annex V, point 5.2.1 of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (2005/36/EC).

For a list of all qualifications that meet these requirements, see the list of general care nurse qualifications in point 5.2.2 of Annex V of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications.

If the qualification is not listed in Annex V, point 5.2.2 because it does not meet the basic criteria, it may still be recognised under an acquired rights regime. General care nurses must demonstrate at least 3 years of professional experience within the last 5 years (Art. 23).

Non-automatic recognition

Even if the 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.

If there are major differences between the qualifications, nurses may be asked to

  • sit an aptitude test to check that they have the skills required in the chosen country
  • complete an adaptation period

Specialist nurses

Automatic recognition

There is no automatic recognition for specialist nurses.

Non-automatic recognition

Specialist nurses are recognised in other EU countries under the general system for recognition of qualifications. If there are major differences between the qualifications, nurses may be asked to

  • sit an aptitude test to check that they have the skills required in the chosen country
  • complete an adaptation period.
Related links

Midwives

Automatic recognition

The authorities in all EU countries must recognise any of the midwives’ qualifications listed in Annexe V, point 5.2 provided they are issued after

  • 3 years’ full-time midwife training
  • Plus 2 years’ professional practice depending on the level of the diploma

or

  • successful completion of general-care nurses’ training
  • Plus full-time midwife training of at least 2 years or 3,600 hours

or

  • successful completion of general-care nurse’s training
  • Plus full-time midwife training of at least 18 months or 3,000 hours
  • Plus 1 year’s professional practice as a midwife

For more details on the training requirements for automatic recognition of midwives’ qualifications, see Articles 40–43 and Annex V, point 5.5.1 of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (2005/36/EC).

If the qualification is not listed in Annex V, point 5.5.2 because it does not meet the basic criteria, it may still be recognised under an acquired rights regime: midwives need to demonstrate at least 3 years of professional experience within the last 5 years (Art. 23, but please see Art. 43 for other situations).

Non-automatic recognition

Even if a midwife’s 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.

If there are major differences between the qualifications, midwifes may be asked to

  • sit an aptitude test to check that they have the skills required in the chosen country
  • complete an adaptation period

For details of what qualifications may be recognised on this basis and what conditions may be attached, see Articles 10–14 of Directive 2005/36/EC.

Related links

Doctors

Automatic recognition

Basic medical training

Basic medical training is automatically recognised throughout the EU. This entitles doctors to access the profession in any EU country if their training

  • is listed in Annex V, point 5.1.1 of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (2005/36/EC), which conforms to Art. 24 of the directive

or

  • benefits from acquired rights (Art. 23 and 30 of the directive)
General practitioner qualifications

General practitioner training is automatically recognised throughout the EU. This entitles doctors to work in any EU country if their training

  • is listed in Annex V, point 5.1.4 of Directive 2005/36/EC, which conforms to Art. 28 of the directive

or

  • benefits from acquired rights (Art. 30 of the directive)
Specialist doctors’ qualifications

56 specialist doctors’ qualifications are automatically recognised in certain EU countries. These are listed in

  • Annex V, point 5.1.3 of the directive

Non-automatic recognition

Even if a doctor's qualification does not meet the criteria for automatic recognition, it may still be recognised in other EU countries under the general system for recognition of qualifications.

The same applies where the specialist qualification is not listed in Annex V, point 5.1.3 or where not both of the EU countries involved have an entry under the specialisation concerned. If there are major differences between the qualifications, doctors may be asked to

  • sit an aptitude test to check that they have the skills required in the chosen country
  • complete an adaptation period

For details of what qualifications may be recognised on this basis and what conditions may be attached, see Art. 10-14 of Directive 2005/36/EC.

Related links

Dentists

Automatic recognition

Basic dentists’ qualifications

The authorities in any EU country must automatically recognise any of the basic dentists’ qualifications listed in

  • Annex V, point 5.3.2 of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (2005/36/EC)

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

  • at least 5 years of full-time theoretical and practical study of at least 5000 hours
  • coverage of the knowledge and skills listed in Article 34 and Annex V, point 5.3.1 of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications

If the qualification is not listed in Annex V, point 5.3.2 because it does not meet the basic criteria, it may still be recognised under an acquired rights regime: dentists must demonstrate at least 3 years of professional experience within the last 5 years (Art. 23).

Specialist dentists’ qualifications

Some specialist dentists' qualifications are automatically recognised in certain EU countries. These are listed in

  • Annex V, point 5.3.3 of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications

Non-automatic recognition

Even if a dentist's basic qualification does not meet the criteria for automatic recognition, it may still be recognised in other EU countries under the general system for recognition of qualifications.

If the specialist qualification is not listed in the annex or where not both of the EU countries involved have an entry under the specialisation concerned, it may still be recognised in other EU countries under the general system for recognition of qualifications. If there are major differences between the qualifications, dentists may be asked to

  • sit an aptitude test to check that they have the skills required in the chosen country
  • complete an adaptation period

For details of what qualifications may be recognised on this basis and what conditions may be attached, see Art. 10-14 of Directive 2005/36/EC.

Related links

Pharmacists

Automatic recognition

The authorities in any EU country must recognise any of the pharmacists’ qualifications listed in

  • Annex V, point 5.6.2 of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (2005/36/EC)

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

  • training of at least 5 years, including 4 years full-time theoretical and practical study and a 6-month traineeship in a pharmacy
  • coverage of the knowledge and skills listed in Article 44 and Annex V, point 5.6.1 of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications

If the qualification is not listed in Annex V, point 5.6.2 because it does not meet the basic criteria, it may still be recognised under an acquired rights regime: pharmacists must demonstrate at least 3 years of professional experience within the last 5 years (Art. 23).

The authorities in some EU countries may require pharmacists to have a certain amount of professional experience before allowing them to carry out certain functions.

Non-automatic recognition

Even if a pharmacist’s qualification does not meet the criteria for automatic recognition, it may still be recognised in other EU countries under the general system for recognition of qualifications.

If there are major differences between the qualifications, pharmacists may be asked to

  • sit an aptitude test to check that they have the skills required in the chosen country
  • complete an adaptation period

For details of what qualifications may be recognised on this basis and what conditions may be attached, see Articles 10-14 of Directive 2005/36/EC.

Related links

Architects

Automatic recognition

The authorities in any EU country must recognise any of the architects' qualifications listed in

  • Annex V, point 5.7.1 of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (2005/36/EC)

or

  • Annex VI of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications, provided your studies started no later than the academic year mentioned

Professional qualifications are automatically recognised if they are from a university or equivalent-level institution and if the studies

  • lasted at least 5 years' full-time or 4 years' full-time with the completion of two years' professional traineeship
  • had architecture as the principal component
  • had theoretical and practical components
  • taught the basic knowledge, skills and competences listed in Article 46(2) of Directive 2005/36/EC

Note: The qualifications listed in Annex V, point 5.7.1 of the directive meet all these criteria. Those listed in Annex VI do not, but are still automatically recognised. The authorities in some EU countries require architects to have a certain amount of experience before allowing them to carry the title of an architect. They may not apply the same requirement to you if this is not required under the rules of your own country.

Non-automatic recognition

Even if the architect’s qualification does not meet the criteria for automatic recognition, it may still be recognised in other EU countries under the general system for recognition of qualifications. If there are major differences between the qualifications, architects may be asked to

  • sit an aptitude test to check that they have the skills required in the chosen country
  • complete an adaptation period

For details of what qualifications may be recognised on this basis and what conditions may be attached, see Articles 10-14 of Directive 2005/36/EC.

Related links

Veterinary surgeons

Automatic recognition

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

  • Annex V, point 5.4.2 of the directive on the 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 5.4.1 of the directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (2005/36/EC)

If the qualification is not listed in Annex V, point 5.4.2 because it does not meet the basic criteria, it may still be recognised under an acquired rights regime: veterinary surgeons 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 the veterinary qualification does not meet the criteria for automatic recognition, it may still be recognised in other EU countries under the general system for recognition of qualifications.

If there are major differences between the qualifications, veterinaries may be asked to

  • sit an aptitude test to check that they have the skills required in the chosen country
  • complete an adaptation period

For details of what qualifications may be recognised on this basis and what conditions may be attached, see Art. 10-14 of Directive 2005/36/EC.

Related links