ready. You are currently on: Practicing a healthcare profession with a foreign diploma

Practicing a healthcare profession with a foreign diploma

If you wish to reside permanently in Belgium and exercise a healthcare profession, you first have to request recognition or have your diploma declared to be equivalent.

Recognition of Ukrainian diplomas

Ukraine is not part of the European Economic Area (EEA). Do you want to permanently practice a regulated healthcare profession in Belgium?

  1. You will first have to apply for recognition of your diploma at with NARIC-Vlaanderen.
  2. Then, for certain professions, you will apply directly to the FOD Volksgezondheid (FPS Public Health) for a visa.
    For specific professional titles, an application will have to be submitted to Departement Zorg to obtain professional recognition.
  3. If you also have a specialist title, before obtaining the visa from the FPS Public Health for your basic title, you will still have to submit an application for recognition to Departement Zorg. More information: Requesting recognition of a foreign diploma for a healthcare profession (Departement Zorg)(opens in new window).

Where to apply for recognition of diploma?

If you want to practise a healthcare profession in Belgium with a foreign diploma, you must first apply for recognition of your diploma. You can apply for this for your basic diploma from the different communities in Belgium (Flemish, French or German-speaking Community). You can only apply for recognition for a specialisation with only one community.

Please note: you cannot apply for recognition for a specialisation if you do not yet have a recognition or visa for your basic diploma. A recognition or equivalence issued by one community applies throughout Belgium.

It covers following professions.

  • Doctor: general practitioner or other specialist.
  • Dentist: general dentistry, periodontics and orthodontics
  • Pharmacist: hospital pharmacist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Clinical psychologist and remedial educationalist
  • Nurse: first the basic title and then the professional titles and competences (specialisations) one can obtain.
  • Healthcare professional
  • Paramedical profession: pharmaceutical technical assistant (pharmacy assistant), dietician, occupational therapist, speech therapist, audiologist and audiologist, orthoptist and optometrist, podiatrist, medical laboratory technologist, dental hygienist, medical imaging technologist
  • Midwife.

Whether you need to apply to NARIC-Vlaanderen or to Departement Zorg depends on

  • where you obtained your degree
  • What your situation is.

You can easily find out via the NARIC-Vlaanderen application wizard(opens in new window): answer a few questions and get advice tailored to your situation.

Your diploma or degreeYour nationalityAdressee of your application

Obtained in the European Economic Area (EEA)**

EEA* or outside the EEA

Apply for recognition with Departement Zorg(opens in new window)

Obtained outside the European Economic Area (EEA)** or Switzerland

  • You have the nationality or long-term residence permit of one of the countries of the EEA or Switzerland and your diploma has been professionally equated in one of the countries of the EEA or Switzerland
  • AND you can demonstrate 3 years of work experience within the healthcare profession in one of the countries of the EEA or Switzerland = hocsman procedure (please note: this is not the same as academic equivalence)

Apply for recognition with Departement Zorg(opens in new window)

  • South African with a South African basic doctor’s degree or specialisations
Apply for recognition with Departement Zorg(opens in new window).

Obtained outside the European Economic Area (EEA)**

EEA* or outside the EEA

  1. Apply for the specific recognition of your diploma with NARIC-Vlaanderen(opens in new window). Do you have a foreign degree in nursing or healthcare administration? Then also complete a document with information about your education, experience and motivation (in Dutch)(Word file opens in new window) to work in healthcare. Add this document to your file.
  2. Next, apply for the authorisation to exercise your health profession
    with the FOD Volksgezondheid (FPS Public Health)

*You have an EEA nationality in the following cases:

  • You have the nationality of one of the 28 member states of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.
  • You are also considered an EEA citizen if you have a residence permit for long-term residents for one of these countries or a residence permit as a family member of a European citizen.
  • If you are married to or legally cohabiting with a European citizen and established in Belgium, you also qualify as a European citizen.

**The European Economic Area (EEA) consists of the 28 Member States of the European Union + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Temporary visa for several months

  • There is a separate procedure for people coming to practise a healthcare profession in Belgium temporarily (a limited number of months, e.g. for an internship) with a foreign diploma.
  • You can apply for a temporary visa from the FOD Volksgezondheid (FPS Public Health) at visa@health.fgov.be(opens in your email application). You therefore do not need to apply for recognition.