The Working Group on Recognition of Professional Qualifications is responsible for legislation contained in Annex VII of the EEA Agreement. Article 30 of the EEA Agreement covers mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications.
In order to aid the free movement of persons, the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services within the European Economic Area, a system that facilitates the recognition of professional qualifications has been put in place.
For professionals such as doctors, nurses responsible for general care, veterinary surgeons, dental practitioners, midwives, pharmacists and architects, there are rules on common minimum requirements for training, to which all EEA States must adhere. A diploma complying with these criteria must be automatically recognised.
The European Professional Card (EPC) is an EEA-wide online procedure for the recognition of qualifications. It is currently available for general care nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists, real estate agents and mountain guides.
For other regulated professions, a "general system" applies for the recognition of professional qualifications. Recognition depends on whether the applicant has had professional training of about the same level and duration as the equivalent training in the host EEA State.
If a profession is not regulated in the host EEA State, applicants can take up their profession without further formality. They do not need to apply for recognition of their professional qualifications, and they are subject to the same conditions as the nationals of the host EEA State.
The European Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs: Recognition of professional qualifications