Recognition Process

If you wish to work in a regulated profession in the UK, the recognition process differs depending on whether you intend to seek establishment in the UK, or whether you intend to provide services on a temporary and occasional basis. If you are not sure, you should contact the UK competent authority for your profession for further guidance.

If you intend to provide services on a temporary and occasional basis, you should make a declaration to the relevant competent authority in advance. Competent authorities should consider applications for the temporary and occasional provision of services on a case by case basis, with regard to the duration, frequency, regularity and continuity. Declarations should be made and renewed annually if you intend to continue providing services on a temporary and occasional basis.

Together with the first declaration of providing services, competent authorities may require the following:

  • a) Proof of nationality
  • b) Attestation of legal establishment in the home Member State, confirming absence of suspension from practice
  • c) Evidence of professional qualifications
  • d) Where a profession is unregulated in the home Member State, proof of pursuit of the activity for one year during the previous 10 years
  • e) Confirmation of absence of temporary or final suspensions / criminal convictions (for professions in the following sectors, when it is required for own nationals - security, health and education of minors)
  • f) Declaration of language competence (for professions with patient safety implications)
  • g) Certification of the nature and duration of the activity issued in the home Member State (for professions where professional experience is required)
  • h) Details of any insurance cover or other means of personal or collective protection with regard to professional liability

When providing services on a temporary and occasional basis, you should use the professional title from your home Member State.

For professions classified as having ‘ public health or safety implications’, the UK competent authority may require a prior check of qualifications before a professional can begin providing services on a temporary and occasional basis. These checks are to mitigate the risk of any serious damage to the health or safety of the service recipient.

For certain professions, the European Professional Card process may facilitate the application process. Applications for the temporary and occasional provision of services via the European Professional Card procedure should be processed within three weeks. For professions with ‘public health or safety implications’, applications should be processed within two months.

If you are seeking recognition for the purpose of establishment, there are three main systems for the recognition of professional qualifications available under Directive 2005/36/EC, as amended by Directive 2013/55/EU. These systems are as follows:

Automatic Recognition system

The automatic recognition of professional qualifications is available for seven professions: nurses, midwives, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, architects and veterinary surgeons. To work in another Member State, professionals should provide proof of their qualifications to the authority that oversees the profession in that country.

General system

The general system of recognition enables workers to have their professional qualification recognised in another EU country.

The host country:

  • recognises qualifications when the professional’s qualification is no more than four levels below the level required in the host country.
  • grants recognition to workers whose profession is not regulated in the country of origin but who have worked full-time in that profession for one year.
  • may impose compensation measures such as an adaptation period of up to three years or an aptitude test under certain conditions.
  • may grant partial access, so long as the professional is fully qualified and requires full training to .access the profession, which has separate activities from those of the profession in the host Member state.
Recognition of Professional Experience

In some sectors, including craft, commerce or industry, professionals may qualify for the automatic recognition of professional qualifications in another EU country based on professional experience.

This can either be via automatic or mutual recognition.

  • Automatic recognition – applies on the basis of professional experience. A Certificate of Experience can be used for experience gained in the UK.
  • Mutual recognition – applies for qualifications on the basis of the general system.

If there are differences between the training acquired in your Home State (including your professional experience) and that required in the Host State, the competent authority may ask you to complete compensation measures – an adaptation period or aptitude test.


If you feel you are being treated unfairly during the recognition process, you have the right to appeal. The UK’s transposition of Directive 2005/36/EC outlines the appeals process in the UK.

The following professions are covered under specific legislation as well as / instead of Directive 2005/36/EC or Directive 2013/55/EU. These are:

  • Sailor
  • Seafarer
  • Statutory auditor
  • Insurance intermediary
  • Lawyer
  • Commercial agent
  • Some transport operators
  • Some professions handling toxic products