What is a regulated profession?
EU regulations aim to ensure that fully qualified workers have the right to practise their profession in another Member State. Once their professional qualifications are recognised in the country where they wish to work, they can practise their regulated profession or activity under the same rules as those who have obtained their qualifications in this country.
A profession is a regulated profession in a given country if the law of the country requires that exercise of such profession is subject to the possession of specific professional qualifications, such a relevant diploma, passing a special examination or registering with a professional organisation.
The professions subject to such requirements differ across EU Member States. Each country has its list of regulated professions and various offices or institutions which act as authorities competent for recognising professional qualifications and granting the relevant licences.
Please note! Go to the database of regulated professions to check whether your profession is a regulated profession in Poland. The database contains also information on the institution which grants the licence to practise a specific profession. At Biznes.gov.pl you can find out how to apply for recognition of professional qualifications in specific professions. Each country has also an assistance centre for matters related to recognition of professional qualifications, where you can obtain information on the rules in force in Poland.
Procedure for recognition of professional qualifications in Poland
The course of the procedure for recognition of professional qualifications depends on the manner in which you are planning to practise a regulated profession.
If you are planning to practise a regulated profession in Poland on a permanent and continuous basis and you have obtained relevant professional qualifications in another EU Member State, your qualifications need to be recognised in Poland – you need to obtain a decision on the recognition of professional qualifications acquired in your country of origin. The procedure for recognition of professional qualifications is carried out by the authorities competent for the specific profession. Only a positive decision of a competent authority will authorise you to practise a specific regulated profession in Poland.
If you wish to work in Poland on an occasional or temporary basis and you are authorised to practise a regulated profession in an EU Member State (country of establishment), you may provide cross-border services – all you need to do is submit an appropriate statement. In such a case, a simplified procedure is carried out.
Please remember! In the case of non-regulated professions, the decision whether to recognise qualifications obtained in another Member State and hire an employee is up to the employer.
The course of the procedure for recognition of professional qualifications depends on several factors, including the type of the profession. For most professions, the procedure for recognition under the general system applies.
Representatives of some professions – the so-called sectoral professions – may apply for automatic recognition of qualifications provided they present appropriate documents confirming their professional qualifications. Before starting work they need to present documents confirming their qualifications and wait until they are granted a licence by the competent authorities. Automatic recognition of professional qualifications applies to: doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, veterinarians and architects.
Read more about the procedure which applies to sectoral professions.
The industrial, craft and commercial activities covered by Directive 2005/36/EC (Chapter II of Title III) are subject to automatic recognition of qualifications based on professional experience provided specific conditions are met. The factors taken into consideration for recognition of professional experience are its duration and form (e.g. self-employment, as an employee, manager of an enterprise).
In some professions, it is possible to have professional qualifications recognised or to report the intention to provide cross-border services in Poland by obtaining the European Professional Card (EPC). At present, the European Professional Card is granted only in the case of the following professions: general care nurse, pharmacist, physiotherapist, mountain guide, real estate agent.
Use the website of the European Commission to complete a questionnaire which will help you find out whether you need to apply for recognition of your professional qualifications and which application you should submit.
Once you submit an application to the competent body, the authorities of the host country have one month to acknowledge the receipt of the application and ask you for any missing information or documents.
As a general rule, from the moment of receiving a complete application the authorities have three months to decide whether you hold the necessary qualifications to practise the regulated profession in the host country. In exceptional cases, this time limit may be extended by a month.
Recognition of professional qualifications under the general system
The following is verified under the procedure for recognition of professional qualifications:
- the level of education
- qualifications giving the right to practise the profession in question in the country in which they were obtained.
If the scope of education, training or exam required to practise this profession in Poland, as well as the scope of professional activity in the applicant’s country, differ significantly from what follows from the submitted application, the competent authority may make its decision to recognise qualifications in a regulated profession conditional on:
- completing an adaptation period (lasting no longer than 3 years)
- undergoing an aptitude test.
These are the so-called compensatory measures. As a general rule, the choice between the adaptation period and the aptitude test is made by the person concerned. Such compensatory measures do not need to be applied when the knowledge, skills and competence acquired by the applicant when gaining professional experience may compensate for such differences in total or in part.
If a specific profession is not regulated in the applicant’s Member State, the applicant seeking recognition of qualifications to practise this profession in Poland, where it is a regulated profession, is required to:
- submit documents certifying their qualifications
- submit a document certifying completion of regulated education or
- confirm the practice of that profession in full-time for one year (or in part-time for an equivalent period of time) during the last ten years.
- List of regulated education in Poland
- List of types of schools offering regulated training
- List of types of special training programmes
At Biznes.gov.pl you can find out how to apply for recognition of professional qualifications in specific professions. Also, the portal offers information about where to submit the application and about the conditions you need to meet, the documents to be submitted, and the waiting time for the decision.
How much will I pay for recognition of professional qualifications in Poland?
The procedure for recognition of professional qualifications and the relevant decision are subject to a fee in the amount of 35% of the minimum wage, established based on the provisions of the Act of 10 October 2002 on the minimum wage, and in force in the year in which the procedure has been initiated. The fee should be paid to the bank account of the relevant authority.
Do I need to speak Polish?
A person whose professional qualifications to practise a regulated profession or to pursue a regulated activity are subject to recognition, is required to have the knowledge of the language of the host country sufficient to practise such profession or activity. According to the provisions of Directive 2005/36/EC, amended by Directive 2013/55/EC, the Member States have the right to carry out a language check before granting a licence to practise a profession, however, only once the decision on the recognition of qualifications or on the granting of the European Professional Card is made.
According to the Act of 22 December 2015 on the rules of recognising professional qualifications acquired in EU Member States, verification of the knowledge of Polish is made upon request of the person who wishes to practise the profession in Poland.
The manner and procedure of verifying the knowledge of Polish, the body competent for such verification, the manner of establishing and paying the fee, as well as the model certificate issued upon obtaining a positive result may be specified by the ministers competent for specific regulated professions.
Please note! Verification of the knowledge of Polish is regulated separately for the profession of doctor and dentist – in order to obtain a licence to practise these professions it is necessary to take an exam in Polish organised by the Supreme Medical Chamber (does not apply to persons who have completed medical studies in Polish). The fee for the examination is PLN 400.
The requirement to pass a dedicated exam applies also to pharmacists who are need to take an exam in Polish organised by the Supreme Pharmaceutical Chamber (does not apply to persons who have completed pharmacy studies in Polish).
The certificate confirming the knowledge of the Polish language sufficient to practise a regulated profession must be submitted also by service providers intending to provide cross-border services in Poland in any profession having implications on patient safety.
The procedure for sectoral professions
For sectoral professions, recognition of qualifications is automatic – provided that the applicant is in possession of documents certifying his/her qualifications (diplomas, certificates), as listed in Annex V to Directive 2005/36/EC. Automatic recognition of professional qualifications applies to: doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, veterinarians and architects.
Qualifications may be also recognised automatically, based on the documents certifying qualifications of an architect, listed in Annex VI to the said directive, and obtained based on acquired rights. Acquired rights may also be the basis for recognition of qualifications in other sectoral professions. This type of recognition of professional qualifications is possible if the applicant holds a certificate confirming they have practised the profession for at least three years during the five years preceding the award of the certificate.
If the applicant does not meet the requirements for automatic recognition of qualifications in a sectoral profession, the recognition process may be carried out under the procedure relevant for other regulated professions, covered by the general system.
Detailed information on the procedure for automatic recognition of professional qualifications is provided by the central and regional associations for the following professions:
Automatic recognition of qualifications based on professional experience
The industrial, craft and commercial activities covered by Directive 2005/36/EC (Chapter II of Title III) are subject to automatic recognition of qualifications based on professional experience.
The factors taken into consideration for the recognition of professional experience are its duration and form (e.g. self-employment, as an employee, manager of an enterprise).
The system based on recognition of professional experience is subject to the conditions set out in list I, II and III of Annex IV, referring to various sectors, such as:
- textile, chemical and oil, printing, manufacturing, construction industry
- manufacture of transport equipment
- activity connected with transport
- photographic studios
- restaurants and hotels
- services: postal, personal, for local communities, leisure
Simplified procedure for recognition of professional qualifications
If a person is qualified to practise the profession in one of EU Member States (home country) and wishes to move to Poland in order to practise a regulated profession on a temporary and occasional basis – that is to provide cross-border services, a simplified procedure may be applied. The simplified procedure is set out in Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications. The Directive applies to all professions covered by it, practised by both the self-employed and employees.
If you intend to provide services on a temporary basis in relation to practising a regulated profession in Poland, you need to submit an appropriate statement in writing. Competent authorities in Poland will assess the temporary and occasional nature of such provision of services on a case by case basis, taking into account such aspects as their duration, frequency, regularity and continuity.
If services related to a regulated profession having implications on public health or safety, where fault could result in serious consequences for the service provider, are provided for the first time, the competent authority of the home country may verify your qualifications before you start to provide the services (prior check of qualifications).
European Professional Card (EPC)
What is the EPC?
In some professions, it is possible to have professional qualifications recognised or to report the intention to provide cross-border services in Poland by obtaining the European Professional Card (EPC).
The European Professional Card is an electronic document confirming:
- recognition of professional qualifications in another EU Member State
- meeting the conditions necessary for lawful provision of cross-border services in another EU Member State (temporary and occasional practice of a regulated profession or a regulated activity in such Member State).
At present, the EPC procedure is available only for the following professions:
- general care nurse
- mountain guide
- real estate agent
How to obtain the EPC?
In order to apply for the EPC, you need to:
- create an account in the EU Login system, if you do not have one yet
- sign in with an EU Login, the European Commission’s authentication service (once you have signed in, you will be redirected to the EPC interface)
- complete your EPC profile with your personal information and contact details
- create an application
- upload electronically scanned copies of the relevant documents (each supporting document should be scanned and then uploaded as a separate file)
- submit all relevant documents to your home country authority
This way you will submit your application for the EPC to an institution competent for your profession.
Throughout the next stages of the procedure, the documents will be available for both the competent authority in your home country as well as the corresponding institution in Poland.
When applying for recognition of qualifications and submitting a statement on the intention to provide cross-border services in Poland in a regulated profession or activity which in the host country is considered to have public health and safety implications, the competent authority – based on the prepared documentation – will compare the qualifications of the applicant with the qualifications required in its country and will decide whether to recognise them. If the authority decides that the applicant’s knowledge or skills do not meet the requirements in force in the host country, it may make the EPC conditional on completion of an adaptation period (a traineeship supervised by a fully qualified person) or taking an aptitude test (up to the applicant). For persons who wish to provide services, the aptitude test is applied.
The EPC is granted by the authority of the host country.
In the event of applying for the European Professional Card in order to provide cross-border services in a profession not having public health and safety implications in the host country, the EPC is granted by the authority of the home country and submitted to the relevant authority in Poland. This replaces a statement made directly by the service provider to the competent authority in the host country.
The EPC is valid:
- indefinitely for permanent professional activity
- 18 months if you are providing services temporarily
- 12 months if you are providing services temporarily and your profession is related to public health or safety (for example, you are a physiotherapist or a mountain guide).
How much does the EPC cost?
The following fees are collected for the European Professional Card:
- a fee of 35% of the minimum wage, in force in the year in which the EPC is issued (for applicants who hold qualifications acquired in a EU Member State other than Poland and who apply for their recognition in Poland, and for service providers who conduct their activity on a permanent basis in another EU Member State and intend to provide cross-border services in Poland in a profession which is considered as related to public health or safety, and need to have their qualifications verified); the fee is required regardless of any earlier fees for verification of documents collected by the home country
- a fee in the amount of 3% of the minimum wage in force in the year in which the EPC is issued (for service providers who conduct their activity on a permanent basis in Poland and who apply for the EPC to provide services in another country in a profession which in that country is not considered as related to public health or safety)
The fee should be paid to the bank account of the competent authority.
Using the IMI system, a holder of the European Professional Card may apply to the competent authority or indicated institution to:
- update, complete or correct any information concerning the EPC holder and included in the IMI system
- block the EPC
- remove any documentation concerning the EPC holder from the IMI system (in such an event the competent authority issues the decision on recognition of qualifications in a paper form).