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Recognition to practise a non-university healthcare profession or physiotherapy with a foreign degree

In certain cases, you can apply for recognition from the Flemish public administration (Department of Care - in Dutch: Departement Zorg) to practise a non-university healthcare profession or physiotherapy in Belgium with your foreign degree.

If you have both a basic degree and a specialist degree (physiotherapy, nursing), your basic degree in nursing or physiotherapy must first be recognised in Belgium before you can apply for recognition in a special professional title or a special professional competence. You can submit both applications together. Documents that are requested twice should then be added to your application only once.

After receipt of a complete application, the Department of Care first initiates the procedure to recognise the basic degree. The FPS Public Health (in Dutch: FOD Volksgezondheid) then automatically issues the visa (authorisation to practise the relevant healthcare profession). After that, the Department of Care starts the procedure to recognise the specialisation.

Conditions

You can apply for recognition for your healthcare profession from the Department of Care if you wish to practise your profession in Belgium and if:

  • you either obtained your non-university degree or your physiotherapy degree in one of the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland (irrespective of your nationality);
  • or your non-university degree or your physiotherapy degree is equivalent in an EEA country or Switzerland and you have already practised this profession in an EEA country or Switzerland for three years and you are a national of an EEA country or Switzerland (this is not the same as the equivalence issued by NARIC);
  • or you already have a visa that authorises you to practise your healthcare profession in Belgium, and only apply for a specialisation.

You can submit your application even when you are abroad.

Procedure

Application form

Your application must contain the correct, fully completed form and all the documents listed on the form:

The documents must be translated into Dutch by a sworn translator (in Dutch) (in Dutch: beëdigd vertaler). You should include both the translations and copies of the original documents.

Legalisation of translations is not required.

The certificate of good conduct and the certificate of good professional conduct must not be older than three months at the time of application.

You should send your complete application preferably by e-mail to:

You should submit your application in one PDF document and mention your profession and/or speciality in the subject line.

You can also send your application by post to

Departement Zorg
Koning Albert II-laan 35 bus 38
1030 Brussel

Processing of your application

After receipt of your application by the department, you will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail within two weeks. This confirmation of receipt says nothing about the completeness of the application.

  • If your application is incomplete, you will receive an e-mail or letter from the Department of Care requesting the missing information.
    • Please note: If you do not deliver the documents within six months of the request, the application may be administratively closed.
  • If your application is complete and compliant with the law, the Department of Care will initiate the recognition procedure.

Recognition of the basic degree

Non-university professional titles listed in the annexes to European Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications, such as degrees in nursing and midwifery, will be recognised automatically.

  • You will receive your recognition order by e-mail and/or in your eBox via My Citizen Profile (in Dutch: Mijn Burgerprofiel)(opens in new window) within six weeks of submitting a complete and compliant application.
  • You should activate your eBox, if you have not already done so. If the Department of Care sends you documents, you will then be informed immediately by e-mail.

Applications for the following professions must be submitted to the Recognition Committee of the relevant profession for advice:

  • paramedical professions: paramedic non-emergency patient transport, hearing aid technician, audiologist, dietician, occupational therapist, pharmaceutical-technical assistant, speech therapist, medical laboratory technologist, dental hygienist, optometrist, orthoptist, orthopedic technologist, podiatrist and medical imaging technologist
  • healthcare assistant
  • physiotherapist
  • nurse (if automatic recognition based on the degree is not possible)
  • midwife (if automatic recognition based on the degree is not possible)

The Recognition Committee issues a positive or negative opinion, but may also ask for additional information or invite you for an interview first.

  • After the Recognition Committee has issued an opinion on your application, you will receive the department’s decision. The processing period for your application is maximum four months and starts when your application is complete. If the Recognition Committee advises against your application and the Department of Care follows this advice, you will receive the negative decision in your eBox via My Citizen Profile(opens in new window). You should activate your eBox, if you have not already done so. If the Department of Care sends you documents, you will then be informed immediately by e-mail.
  • If you wish to do so, you can appeal a refusal of recognition to the Council of State (in Dutch: Raad van State) within 60 days.

Visa issuance

After the recognition of your basic degree, you will automatically be issued with a visa from the FPS Public Health. This visa allows you to practise the healthcare profession in Belgium.

You can consult the visa itself on the download portal of the FPS Public Health (in Dutch)(opens in new window).

Recognition of the specialist degree

Nurses wishing to apply for a special professional title/special professional competence in nursing and physiotherapists wishing to apply for a special professional competence in physiotherapy can apply for recognition of the specialist degree.

  • As soon as the Recognition Committee has issued an opinion on your application, you will receive the department’s decision. The processing period for your application is maximum four months and starts when your application is complete.
  • If the Recognition Committee advises against your application and the Department of Care follows this advice, you will receive the negative decision in your eBox via My Citizen Profile(opens in new window). You should activate your eBox, if you have not already done so. If the Department of Care sends you documents, you will then be informed immediately by e-mail.
  • If you wish to do so, you can appeal a refusal of recognition to the Council of State within 60 days.

Non-European specialist degrees are always submitted to the Recognition Committee for advice.

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  • Last revision 13/02/2024
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