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The European Professional Card (EPC)

Some regulated professions come under the European Professional Card scheme. This article provides you with information on how it works, the formalities necessary to obtain it and the professions concerned.

What is the European Professional Card?

The European Professional Card (EPC) is an electronic procedure for the recognition of professional qualifications between member states of the European Union defined in Articles 4a to 4e of the 2005/36/CE directive . It aims at making it easier for European citizens to practise a regulated profession in another member state of the EU. This procedure promotes job mobility for European citizens.

Good to know

The EPC is not a physical card, but an electronic proof certifying that the professional qualifications of a citizen have been verified and recognised by the competent authorities of the destination country.

Who can obtain the EPC?

This scheme may be used by any European professional both in the context of a long-term establishment in the destination country in order to practise a regulated profession ( freedom of establishment ) and in the context of a temporary provision of services ( freedom to provide services ).

To date, the EPC scheme concerns five professions:

  • Estate agents,
  • Mountain guides,
  • Nurses,
  • Physiotherapists,
  • Pharmacists.

These professions were selected for the EPC scheme based on three criteria:

  • Significant mobility, or significant potential of mobility, for the profession concerned,
  • Sufficient interest expressed by the parties concerned,
  • Regulation of the profession or training in a significant number of member states of the EU.

The number of professions concerned by the EPC should increase as some professions, such as ingeneers or specialist nurses, are currently under evaluation.

Why request the EPC?

The EPC is an electonic certificate. It aims at simplifying the recognition of professional qualifications for both citizens and competent authorities.

As far as the freedom to provide services is concerned, the EPC should replace the prior declaration that is required to provide services for the first time in the destination country and which has to be renewed every 18 months.

As far as the freedom of establishment is concerned, the EPC is equivalent to the recognition of professional qualifications by the destination country.

Good to know

The professionals concerned by the EPC may choose between this scheme and the standard procedures of prior declaration or of recognition of professional qualifications.

For further information: European Professional Card (European Commission)