EU - Country Commercial Guide
Licensing Requirements for Professional Services

EU Commercial Guide

Last published date: 2022-08-11

The recognition of skills and qualifications acquired by EU citizens in the Member States, including the corresponding recognition procedures and charges, are the responsibility of Member States.  Similarly, recognition of skills and qualifications earned in third countries is also a national responsibility.

If an individual with a foreign qualification was recognized in a Member State but wants to move to another Member State and has worked for at least three years in that Member State, which had recognized their qualifications, that individual can apply for professional recognition in another Member State under the rules that apply to professionals who have received their qualification from an EU country.

To prove the necessary experience to exercise a profession, a certificate issued by the Member State that first recognizes one’s qualifications may be needed.  This applies to both EU citizens and non-EU citizens.

However, the European Commission takes the initiative to facilitate recognition procedures.  For example, recognition of professional qualifications obtained in one Member State for access and pursuit of regulated professions in another Member State is subject to Directive 2005/36.  Recognition of qualifications for academic purposes in higher education, including school-leaving certificates, is subject to the Lisbon Recognition Convention.  The ENIC-NARIC network provides advice on cross-border recognition of these qualifications.

Recognition in other cases is assessed by the receiving educational provider or employer.  An understanding of the level, content, and quality is needed for them to recognize skills and qualifications.  The Commission currently explores the possibilities on how to support these recognition decisions better.

The European Union’s “Your Europe” website maintains a webpage dedicated to helping citizens identify regulated professions and what documents are needed for their recognition in each Member State.