Table of Contents
Your application must concern:
- a national of a Member State;
- a "cross-border" element;
- the recognition of professional qualifications.
1. National of a Member State
A Member State is considered to be any state that is part of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA: EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), and Switzerland.
2. "Cross-border" element
"Cross-border element" means the fact of having acquired your main professional qualifications in a Member State other than the one in which you wish to practise your profession. Having a "cross-border" element is essential. Consequently, Directive 2005/36/EC does not apply to purely domestic situations. Therefore, Be-Assist does not intervene in purely domestic situations.
For instance: Directive 2005/36/EC applies to an engineer of Italian nationality who is fully qualified in Italy and wishes to practise as an engineer in Spain; or to a physiotherapist of French nationality who is fully qualified in Belgium and wishes to practise as a physiotherapist in France. On the other hand, the Directive does not apply to a doctor of Hungarian nationality who acquired his qualifications in Hungary and wishes to practise there.
Directive 2005/36/EC does not apply in principle to professional qualifications acquired in a third country (see the question "If you are a national of a Member State but you acquired your main qualifications in a third country, does Directive 2005/36/EC apply to you?
3. Professional qualifications
Directive 2005/36/EC concerning professional qualifications, as its name suggests, is concerned only with the recognition of professional qualifications. It is aimed at professionals, i.e. people who have the qualifications required to practise a profession.
In order to benefit from the recognition provided for by the Directive, you must be legally established in your Member State of origin (in the context of the freedom to provide services) or fully qualified (in the context of establishment). To find out whether you meet these conditions, please refer to the question "What are the existing regimes in terms of freedom of establishment? (permanent establishment)".
If you do not meet these three conditions, see the question "To whom do you apply for a certificate of equivalence of your diploma for the recognition of your professional qualifications? ".
If you are a national of a Member State but acquired your professional qualification in a third country, Directive 2005/36/EC will not apply to a Member State in which an application for recognition of your professional qualification was submitted for the first time within the European Union ("the first application for recognition").
For instance: you are of French nationality, you acquired your professional training as a speech therapist in Canada. The "first" recognition of this training in a Member State (e.g. France) is not covered by Directive 2005/36/EC but by the country's national legislation.
Directive 2005/36/EC only applies from the second application for recognition if the conditions for benefiting from it are met.
"Art.3.(...) 3. Evidence of formal qualifications issued by a third country shall be regarded as evidence of formal qualifications if the holder has three years' professional experience in the profession concerned on the territory of the Member State which recognised that evidence of formal qualifications in accordance with Article 2(2), certified by that Member State. ".
The three years of professional experience required under Article 3(3) of Directive 2005/36/EC must have been acquired in the same Member State which recognised the evidence of formal qualifications in accordance with Article 2(2) of that Directive. Indeed, the Member State must be able to offer some sort of guarantee that it has rightly recognised the qualification of "a third country" .
You will find information under the question "To whom do you apply for a certificate of equivalence of your diploma for the recognition of your professional qualifications? ".
However, check that you are not treated as a national of a Member State!
You may be affected by one of the following cases:
"Recital n° 1 Directive 2013/55/EU: "It should be recalled that third-country family members of Union citizens benefit from equal treatment in accordance with Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States (4). Third-country nationals may also benefit from equal treatment with regard to recognition of diplomas, certificates and other professional qualifications, in accordance with the relevant national procedures, under specific Union legal acts such as those on long-term residence, refugees, ‘blue card holders’ and scientific researchers.
Recital n°27 Directive 2013/55/EU: "Professional traineeships completed in third countries should be taken into account by Member States when considering a request to access a regulated profession".
Most frequent cases:
- National of a Member State who is related to a national of a Member State
The Directive also applies to third-country nationals who are family members of a citizen of a Member State exercising his or her right to free movement within the European Union.
For instance: an American doctor with a Dutch diploma is married to a Dutch citizen. The couple lives in the Netherlands and then decides to move to Belgium. In this scenario, the recognition in Belgium of the Dutch medical doctor diploma held by the American doctor must be done in accordance with the rules of Directive 2005/36/EC.
- Refugee status
The Directive applies to third-country nationals who have refugee status in a Member State. The refugee must be treated in the Member State which granted him or her the status as one of its nationals. If a refugee has a professional qualification issued in another Member State of the European Union, the Member State that granted him or her refugee status must recognise this professional qualification in accordance with Directive 2005/36/EC.
For instance: an Iraqi citizen, who holds a French diploma in pharmacy and who has refugee status in Belgium, must have his pharmacy diploma recognised in Belgium in accordance with the rules of Directive 2005/36/EC. However, if he decides to settle in Denmark, he will not be able to benefit from the rules of this Directive.
I obtained my professional qualifications in the UK. What steps do I need to take to make sure that my professional qualifications remain recognised?
If your professional qualifications (obtained in the UK) have already been recognised in a Member state, nothing changes. You will also be able to continue benefiting from these 'acquired rights' after 31 December 2020.
I obtained my professional qualifications in Belgium. What steps do I need to take to make sure that my professional qualifications remain recognised?
If your professional qualifications (obtained in a Member state) have already been recognised in the UK, nothing changes. You will also be able to continue benefiting from these 'acquired rights' after 31 December 2020.
If have obtained my professional qualifications in the UK. What should I do to get them recognised in Belgium?
If you have obtained your professional qualifications as an EU national in the UK before 31 December 2020 (end of the transition period as a result of the Brexit) the professional qualifications are considered as “obtained in a Member State” and can consequently continue to benefit from the recognition regime under directive 2005/36/EC. This however does not apply to British citizens.
As of 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom is however a third country for Belgium. If you have obtained your professional qualifications in the UK after 31 December 2021, you will therefore no longer be able to benefit from the European legislation that facilitates the recognition of professional qualifications between Member States (Directive 2005/36/EC). You will have to comply with the conditions imposed by Belgian legislation. You might need to have your UK diploma recognised as equivalent. You must do this with the competent authority of the Community where you are based. Bilateral agreements may be concluded for specific professions or sectors, but to date no such agreement has been made.
For more information on the recognition of third-country professional qualifications in Belgium, please consult the questions "If you are a national of a Member State but you obtained your main professional qualifications in a third country, does Directive 2005/36/EC then apply to you?" and "If you are a national of a third country, does Directive 2005/36/EC then apply to you?”
I have obtained my professional qualifications in Belgium. What should I do to get them recognised in the UK?
As of 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom considers Belgium to be a third country. If you have obtained your professional qualifications in Belgium, you will therefore no longer be able to benefit from the European legislation that facilitates the recognition of professional qualifications between Member States (Directive 2005/36/EC). You will have to comply with the conditions imposed by UK legislation. In most cases, you will need to have your diploma obtained in Belgium or in another Member State recognised as equivalent in the UK. Bilateral agreements may be concluded for specific professions or sectors, but to date no such agreement has been made.
For further information, please visit the UK government website.
The applicable regime differs depending on whether you wish to establish yourself permanently in another Member State
or work there temporarily.
"Permanent establishment" means that you settle in a Member State on a stable and lasting basis.
For example: a Belgian speech therapist who leaves Belgium and opens a practice in France, settles in France; a Slovakian engineer hired by a Czech company on a permanent contract, settles in the Czech Republic.
In these scenarios, you benefit from the rules of Directive 2005/36/EC applicable to establishment.
On the other hand, if you are already legally established in a Member State within the meaning of Directive 2005/36/EC and you wish to exercise your profession temporarily in another Member State, you provide a service in that Member State, and therefore benefit from the rules of Directive 2005/36/EC applicable to the provision of services. The temporary nature of the service is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
For example: a Spanish veterinarian who is doing a three-month replacement in a veterinary practice in Portugal, provides a service in Portugal; an Estonian doctor who goes three days a month to treat patients in Latvia, provides a service in Latvia; a Spanish professional diver who goes to work on an oil rig in the United Kingdom for four months, also provides a service.
If neither the profession for which you are qualified nor the training is regulated in the country in which you are established, the host Member State may require that you have practised the profession in question for one year in the Member State of establishment. However, this requirement may not be imposed on you if you are an architect, doctor of medicine, nurse responsible for general care, dental practitioner, veterinary surgeon, midwife or pharmacist who benefits from automatic recognition or if you exercise a craft, trade or industrial profession (as listed in Annex IV to Directive 2005/36/EC) and if you meet the conditions for benefiting from the automatic recognition regime in the context of establishment.
The competent Belgian authority may require the service provider moving from a Member State to Belgium for the first time to provide services to inform it in advance by means of a written declaration including information on insurance cover or other means of personal or collective protection in respect of professional liability. The declaration must be renewed once a year if the service provider intends to provide temporary or occasional services in Belgium during the year in question. The service provider may provide this declaration by any means.
You are legally established when you fulfil all the conditions for practising a profession in a Member State.
and you are not subject to any ban, even temporary, on exercising this profession. You can be legally established as a self-employed person or as an employee. You do not necessarily have to be actually practising the profession in question at the time you are considering your service.
For example: you are a French architect registered with the professional order, you are considered to be "legally established" in France even if you are not yet effectively practising the profession of architect in France. However, if you are not yet registered with the order, you are not legally established.
For example: if you work in Belgium as an employed veterinarian in a veterinary clinic, you are considered to be 'legally established' in Belgium.
When you move from one Member State to another for the first time to provide services, you may be asked to inform the competent authority of the host Member State in advance by means of a written declaration including information on insurance cover or other means of personal or collective protection concerning professional liability.
The declaration must be renewed once a year if you intend to provide temporary or occasional services in this Member State during the year in question. You can provide the declaration by any means.
may ask you:
- for proof of nationality;
- a document proving that you are legally established in a Member State (example 1) and that you will not be banned from practising, even temporarily (example 2).
Example 1: where the profession is regulated in the Member State in which you are legally established: certificate from the competent authority and the competent professional body, copy of the professional licence, extract from the commercial register.
If the profession is not regulated in the Member State in which you are legally established: copy of the professional licence, extract from the commercial register, certificate from the professional association, certificate from the employer, accompanied by a social security form or tax form.
Example 2: extract from the criminal record, certificate from a judicial or police authority, etc.
- for proof of your professional qualifications: this is the qualification which gives you the right to practise the profession where it is regulated in the Member State where you acquired that qualification, or simply proof of your professional experience. If the profession is not regulated, this is the qualification awarded on completion of training which prepared you for the profession, or, in the absence of a qualification, proof of your professional experience; In this context, disposing of or being able to prove a professional experience is one of the possibilities but is, in contrast to the case as described below (no regulation in the country of origin), not an obligatory condition;
- for proof that you practised the profession in question for at least one year during the last ten years where neither the profession nor its training is regulated in the Member State in which you are legally established. You can prove this by any means: employer's certificate, tax form, etc.;
- for proof that you have never been convicted of a criminal offence if you work in the security sector (e.g. as a private security guard) and provided that the host Member State requires the same of its own nationals;
- for professions with implications for patient safety, a declaration concerning knowledge of the language is necessary for the pursuit of the profession in the host Member State;
- for the professions exercising the activities referred to in Article 16 of Directive 2005/36/EC and which have been notified by a Member State in accordance with Article 59(2) of that Directive, a certificate concerning the nature and duration of the activity issued by the competent authority or body of the Member State in which the provider is established.
The competent authority may request that information on insurance cover or other means of personal or collective protection in respect of professional liability be communicated to it annually.
On the other hand, the documents that accompany the first prior declaration only need to be communicated if there is a change from the initial situation.
For example, at the time of your first temporary service in Belgium, you were legally established in France, in the meantime you moved to Luxembourg where you are now established. The document stating that you are legally established must now be communicated by Luxembourg.
There are three regimes:
- the general regime of recognition of professional qualifications
- the regime of automatic recognition
- the regime of recognition of professional experience
1. The general regime of recognition of professional qualifications
- If the profession is regulated in the Member State, the competent authority of the host Member State must grant applicants who possess the certificate of competence or evidence of formal qualifications prescribed by another Member State for the taking up and pursuit of that profession access to it under the same conditions as those granted to nationals. Being in possession of the certificate of competence or evidence of formal qualifications is therefore sufficient and does not automatically imply that the holder needs to dispose of a professional experience or be able to prove it, this in contrast to the case as described below (no regulation in the country of origin);
- If the profession or the training leading to the profession is not regulated in the Member State of origin, applicants must have pursued the profession full-time for at least one year during the last ten years.
The competent authority of the host Member State may require the applicant to complete an adaptation period of no more than three years or to take an aptitude test in one of the following cases:
- where their training relates to subjects substantially different from those required in the host State;
- where the profession in the host Member State comprises one or more regulated activities which do not exist in the Member State of origin and where this difference is characterised by compulsory specific training in substantially different subjects.
2. The regime of automatic recognition
Under this system, the host Member State recognises evidence of formal qualifications which satisfies the minimum training conditions laid down by the Directive (you will find these evidence of formal qualifications in Annexes V and VI to Directive 2005/36/EC).
The following professions fall under the application of this system (sectoral professions):
- doctor of medicine;
- nurse responsible for general care;
- dental practitioner;
- veterinary surgeon;
3. The regime of recognition of professional experience
The recognition of professional experience mainly concerns professions related to commerce and crafts (see Annex IV to Directive 2005/36/EC).
A service provider who has a certain amount of professional experience, supplemented where appropriate by training, can obtain recognition via an EU certificate.
Please note: this system applies only to the professions listed in Annex IV.
The EU certificate is only valid with the aim of providing proof of professional experience that you acquired in a Member State.
More information about the certificate for professional experience acquired in Belgium
The competent authority may ask you:
- for proof of your nationality - for example, a copy of your identity card;
- for proof that you hold the certificate of professional competence or evidence of formal qualifications which prepares or gives access to the profession in question (e.g. a copy of the certificate or evidence of formal qualifications). However, you cannot be asked for these documents if you are eligible for automatic recognition based on professional experience alone.
- for proof of your professional experience if you hold a qualification acquired in a third country
- and if the qualification has already been recognised by another Member State; in this case, the competent authority of the Member State in which you desire to pursue a professional activity may require a certificate issued by the Member State which recognised your qualification, stating that you have actually pursued that profession for at least three years on its territory.
In the same way as for nationals, the competent authority may also ask you for the following documents:
- proof of your good reputation, good character or the absence of bankruptcy or the fact that you have not been suspended or banned from practising the profession concerned for serious professional misconduct or a criminal offence;
- a medical certificate of aptitude issued by a competent authority, which may be a non-registered doctor (general practitioner or specialist, depending on the certificate required);
- proof of your financial capacity and insurance coverage;
- a certificate confirming the absence of temporary or permanent suspension from pursuit of the profession, and also of criminal convictions.
The Certificate of Current Professional Status or Letter/Certificate of Good standing generally refers to the document that indicates that the holder is registered and authorised to exercise the profession in the country concerned (in this case, Belgium) and that no sanctions have been pronounced with regard to the exercise of the professional activity (which also explains the name "professional status").
Applications can be submitted via the following e-mail addresses:
The certificate of competence or evidence of formal qualifications must
If you wish to exercise a healthcare profession in another Member State, you may be required by the competent authorities of the host Member State to submit a certificate of equivalence or conformity which proves that your training meets the minimum requirements laid down at European level in Directive 2005/36/EC.
To that extent, you can contact the various competent authorities at Community level in Belgium:
French Community – Communauté française (Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles):Ministère de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles Administration générale de l’Enseignement (AGE)
Direction générale de l'Enseignement supérieur, de l’Enseignement tout au long de la vie et de la Recherche scientifique (DGESVR)
Direction de l’Agrément des Prestataires de Soins de Santé
Rue Adolphe Lavallée, 1
Phone: +32 (0)2 690.89.20 or +32 (0)2 690.89.40 (Tuesday from 14:00 to 16:00 and Thursday from 9:00 to 12:00),
E-mail : email@example.com
1) Indicate the following : « J’ai obtenu mon diplôme en Belgique »
2) click on « Je veux exercer ma profession à l'étranger »
3) Choose « Dans l’EEE »
4) chose the profession you want to exercise
5) You will finally find the Following option : « Quelles démarches dois-je faire pour obtenir l’attestation de conformité ? »
Flemish Community – Vlaamse GemeenschapTeam erkenning gezondheidszorgberoepen Ellipsgebouw
Koning Albert II laan 35/38
Phone: 1700 (from Belgium) or +32 2 553 1700 (from abroad)
German-speaking Community – Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft
Ministerium der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft
Phone : +32 (0)87/59 63 00
Note: The German-speaking Community only issues certificates on the basis of competence for the nursing profession.
The competent authority of the host Member State cannot require you to submit the original documents; on the other hand, it may ask for certified copies of essential documents such as professional qualifications and documents proving your professional experience.
If you are unable to provide certified copies of one or more of these documents, the competent authority must itself verify the authenticity of the document with the competent authority of the Member State in which you are legally established.
can only require a translation of the documents if it is really necessary for the processing of your application for recognition.
A certified translation can only be required for essential documents.
For example: professional qualifications, certificates relating to professional experience.
Note: if you are a doctor of medicine, nurse responsible for general care, dental practitioner, midwife, veterinary surgeon, pharmacist or architect (i.e. a profession listed in Annex V to Directive 2005/36/EC), a certified translation of your professional qualification cannot be required as it is not essential for the processing of your application for recognition. Indeed, the competent authority can easily check whether the title of your qualification corresponds to the title indicated in the Annex.
Nor may the host Member State authority require a certified translation for standard documents such as identity cards, passports, etc.
In any event, you are free to choose to have your translations certified by a competent authority in your Member State of origin or in the host Member State. The authority of the host Member State is in any case obliged to accept translations certified by a competent authority in your home Member State.
The European professional card is an electronic procedure for the recognition of professional qualifications in another EU country. This system allows you to track recognition applications online and reuse previously uploaded documents to submit new applications in different countries.
In this procedure, the competent authority of the Member State of origin plays an important role, which is not the case in the standard recognition procedure. This authority must prepare various documents required by the competent authority of the host Member State. In some cases, you have more contact with the competent authority in your Member State of origin, which should help you in the procedure for the recognition of professional qualifications. Moreover, the competent authorities of the Member States are subject to strict time limits.
It is, however, a non-mandatory instrument. Consequently, persons who practise one of the professions that can benefit from the EPC procedure, still have the possibility to follow the classical recognition procedure.
Currently, the professional card procedure applies to the following professions:
- nurses responsible for general care;
- mountain guides;
- Estate agents.
For other professions, the traditional procedures for applying for recognition of qualifications still apply.
More information on the European professional card can be found at:
You can use the EPC procedure in one of the following cases:
- you wish to pursue your profession in another EU country on a temporary or occasional basis (temporary mobility).
For example: a Belgian estate agent wants to travel to Hungary to help a client find an apartment in Budapest.
- you wish to establish yourself in another EU country and pursue your profession there on a permanent basis (establishment).
For example: a French nurse responsible for general care wishes to settle in Belgium with his family and practice his profession there.
The European professional card is not a physical card but proof, in electronic form, that you passed administrative checks and that your professional qualifications were recognised by the country in which you desire to work (host Member State), or that you meet the conditions necessary for the provision of services on a temporary basis in that country.
When an application is approved, you can create an EPC certificate in PDF format. This includes a reference number that allows a potential employer to check the validity of the EPC online.
In order to find out whether you need to apply for an EPC for temporary mobility or settlement purposes, contact the national authorities.
If you intend to settle in the host country for the long term, you may have to register with a professional association or undergo additional checks before practising your profession. Consult the national authorities for requirements specific to your situation.
More information on the European professional card can be found at:
You can find the helpdesks in all Member States at:
Recognition of professional qualifications
When your professional qualifications are recognised by a valid diploma, it means that you have access to a specific regulated profession. You are, therefore, fully qualified to practise the profession in question. In order to qualify for such recognition, the following elements may be taken into consideration: being fully qualified in the Member State of origin, holding a valid diploma, having the necessary professional experience, having successfully completed a professional internship, etc. This professional recognition is carried out by the specific competent authority (e.g. the Order of Architects for the profession of architect).
Recognition of a diploma
The recognition of a diploma covers academic titles. If your diploma is recognised as equivalent, it means that your diploma is considered equivalent to diplomas awarded by Belgian educational institutions. Recognition may be for the purpose of pursuing studies in our country or may be used in conjunction with other elements in an application for recognition of professional qualifications. Nevertheless, it does not, imply that you are on that basis fully qualified or recognised to practice a regulated profession. The academic recognition is carried out by the competent communities in our country.
Note that for the sectoral professions (doctor of medicine, nurse responsible for general care, dental practitioner, veterinary surgeon, midwife, pharmacist, architect), there is automatic recognition on the basis of evidence of formal qualifications meeting minimum criteria. It means that holders of this evidence of formal qualifications, contrary to what is applicable for other evidence of formal qualifications, can obtain automatic access to the profession. This exhaustive list of evidence of formal qualifications can be found in the Annexes to Directive 2005/36/EC.
You can contact the different communities.
Wallonia-Brussels Federation (French community)
Directorate-General for Non-Compulsory Education and Scientific Research
Service for the Academic and professional recognition of foreign diplomas
Rue Adolphe Lavallée 1
The offices are open to the public on Mondays and Thursdays from 1.30pm to 4.00pm.
You can find more information at: http://www.equivalences.cfwb.be/
Boulevard du Roi Albert II 15
Tel.: 1700 or from abroad: +32 2 553 17 00
E-mail (contact form):
More information can be found at:
Here, you will find an explanation of words, terms, etc. used in the general Be-Assist FAQs.
Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications as amended by Directive 2013/55/EU. This Directive lays down the rules according to which a Member State which makes access to or the pursuit of a regulated profession in its territory contingent upon possession of specific professional qualifications ("host Member State") recognises, for the purposes of access to and pursuit of that profession, professional qualifications obtained in one or more other Member States ("Member State of origin") and which allow the holder of those qualifications to pursue the same profession there.
Can be consulted via the link: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:02005L0036-20211210
Any state that is part of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA: EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway), and Switzerland.
All countries that do not fall under the definition of a Member State.
Member State in which you acquired your main professional qualifications.
Member State in which you are established at the time of your application. It is often, but not always, the Member State of origin.
Member State in which you wish to pursue your activities on a temporary/occasional basis or in which you wish to establish yourself permanently.
Competent authority or body responsible for controlling or regulating access to, or pursuit of, a profession.
You can consult the list of all Belgian competent authorities at:
In the drop-down menu under the heading "Profession regulated in the following country", choose "Belgium" to find the competent authority for each profession.
Profession for which access, pursuit of, or a modality of the pursuit of (e.g. the use of the professional title) is directly or indirectly subject to the possession of specific professional qualifications.
For example, a profession such as psychologist in Belgium, where only possessing professional qualifications is required to hold the title, is therefore also a regulated profession. However, you only have to apply for recognition of your qualifications if you want to use the title. To find out which professions are regulated in Belgium and the EU/EEA/Switzerland, click on the following link:
Professional qualifications required to practise a regulated profession (e.g. academic title and internship if an internship is required to practise the profession). Article 11 of Directive 2005/36/EC sets out the way in which levels of qualifications are grouped according to level of education.