Austria - Country Commercial Guide
Licensing Requirements for Professional Services
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Licensing requirements for professional services in Austria are much more widespread than in the United States and include most trades. The process of obtaining a professional license is simpler for citizens of the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens. Foreign nationals (non- EU/EEA/Swiss citizens) must first meet the legal requirements of residing and of starting a business in Austria. In addition to a minimum age requirement, the person must be a resident, may not have any outstanding criminal proceedings, and must fulfill the legal qualifications for regulated trades/professions. Once these requirements are met, a business license can be requested through the Austrian Economic Chamber (WKO-Wirtschaftskammer).

The complete WKO list of regulated trades (in German) is long and covers everything from electricians to consultants to hairdressers. Some professionals, including physicians, lawyers, and pharmacists, are licensed by professional chambers. The recognition of a foreign degree varies significantly from between professions.

The European Commission Directive 2005/36 outlines recognition procedures for professional qualifications and licenses obtained in one Member State for the purposes of access and pursuit of regulated professions in another Member State.

Recognition of qualifications for academic purposes in the higher education sector, including graduation certificates are subject to the Lisbon Recognition Convention. The ENIC-NARIC network (European Network of Information Centres/National Academic Recognition Information Centres) provides advice on cross-border recognition of these qualifications. Recognition may be assessed by the receiving educational provider or employer in cases where there is a common understanding of the level, content, and quality of the qualification.

The “Your Europe” website maintains a webpage dedicated to help citizens identify regulated professions and the necessary documentation for Recognition of Professional Qualifications in each Member State.