Live and Work in the EU


A1.1 EU Citizens, EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland and their families.

If you are a citizen of the European Union or EFTA, you are authorized to work in any of these countries without obtaining a work permit, unless there is some kind of national restrictions.

Similarly, you are also allowed to reside freely given certain conditions. You should also know that as a citizen of the Union have a number of rights and obligations that you can exercise.

You can get further information on the link that follows where you will find updated and detailed information on this subject on the website of the European Union:

A1.2 Abroad EU/EFTA citizens

If you are not a national of any of the member states of the EU / EFTA you must observe a number of requirements to work in the European area. Below you will find links leading you to the immigration portal of the European Commission where you will find detailed information on the necessary procedures:

Working in Greece

Working in Italy

Working in Spain


A1.3 Living and Working in Greece

If you are an EU/EEA citizen, you can enter Greece simply by showing a valid identity card or passport. There is no entry visa requirement. EU/EEA citizens have the right of free movement and access to the labour market throughout the European Union/European Economic Area. EU/EEA citizens may enter Greece to seek employment and stay for six months (three months and a further three months if they are looking for work).
EU/EEA nationals who wish to exercise a profession which in Greece is regulated by laws laying down the required qualifications and procedure for obtaining a license (such as lawyers, medical doctors, engineers, etc.), must contact the competent body that issues the relevant licenses.
If you wish to stay in the country for more than three months, you must contact the police station of the area in which you are residing to obtain a registration certification. A residence permit confirms your right to stay in the country as an employed person who is a citizen of an EU/EEA country. Essential requirements for residing in Greece are to be in employment or in possession of sufficient resources. If the conditions are met, a residence permit is issued for five years and may be renewed.
Each resident is given a personal tax registration number (ΑΦΜ) for dealings with the tax authorities and another registration number (AMKA) for social security services.
Citizens of EU/EEA Member States can enter Greece freely and work without a special permit. EU citizens are issued with a residence permit for the pursuit of paid employment when they present a statement of engagement from an employer.
Dependent family members of an employed EU/EEA citizen enjoy the same rights as that person.


A1.4 Living and Working in Spain

Non-EU citizens

To work in Spain, it is necessary to obtain a work and residence permit, and a work and residence visa. In the case of autonomous search, this work permit will be granted if the job position sought is part of the Catalogo Ocupaciones de Difícil Cubertura, which comprises highly required working positions in the Country and that can be consulted here: /pdf/CatalogOcupacionesDificilCobertura.pdf

Before applying for a work and residence visa, it is necessary for the employer to obtain a specific work permit, generally granted by the Oficina Provincial de Extranjería. A work permit will be granted if the job task is included among the activities listed in the Catalogo Ocupaciones de Difícil Cubertura. Otherwise, the employer must announce the job vacancy to employment services. If there is no suitable candidate with the qualifications required for the position, the employer can proceed with his application for a work permit, even if he is outside the Catalogo.

There is a set of activities and specific job positions that allow the candidate to work in Spain without a work permit. A residence permit or a short stay visa are nonetheless necessary. The list of these specific occupations is available here: (Section procedures).

  1. Main requirements: medical certificate delivered by a doctor and recognized by diplomatic missions. A clear criminal record in Spain or in countries of previous residence for offenses established by the Spanish legislation is also a condicio sine qua non.
  2. Duration: the initial duration of the work permit is one year; it can be renewed.
  3. Other requirements: the worker must obtain a foreigner identification card at the Oficina Provincial de la Extranjería, or at the Police Department where he will reside. It is also necessary that your employer registers it in the Social Security System.

There are  exceptions and specific cases concerning the need to obtain a visa. For a complete list of these cases, see the link:

EU citizens

For them, if the period of work is equal or less than three months, it is sufficient to present a valid passport or identity document. If the period is longer, it is necessary that the worker registers in the Registro Central de Extranjeros, completing the EX-18 model available in the Oficina Provincial de la Extranjería.

Advice and suggestions

  1. Come prepared: make sure that your CV is properly done, not too long (maximum 2, 2 and a half pages), with a photo, written with a proper language and, if in a foreign language, translated with precision and clarity. Make sure you have enough resources until you find a permanent job;
  2. Have clear ideas: inform yourself in advance. Spain is vast and its characteristics can vary a lot from site to site. Pre-search the place where you would like to work and live, collect information about work and life possibilities (accommodation, costs, transportation, etc.);
  3. Take advantage of social networks and the web: keep them updated, search for opportunities (on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), get in touch with specific pages, cultivate networks with employers and others who are looking for work;
  4. Do not be discouraged! Looking for work can be a long and complex challenge. Think positive, set achievable goals (an x number of CVs dropped each day, for example), and be optimistic. Remember: no employer likes discouraged, lethargic people…

Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications. (And all its later amendments)
This Directive establishes rules according to which a Member State which makes access to or pursuit of a regulated profession in its territory contingent upon possession of specific professional qualifications (referred to hereinafter as the host Member State) shall recognise professional qualifications obtained in one or more other Member States (referred to hereinafter as the home Member State) and which allow the holder of the said qualifications to pursue the same profession there, for access to and pursuit of that profession.
Professions included. General overview:

  • Doctors with basic training
  • Specialised doctors
  • Nurses responsible for general care
  • Dental practitioners
  • Specialised dental practitioners
  • Veterinary surgeons
  • Midwives
  • Pharmacists
  • Architects

For more information you can visit this site:

The NARIC Network or Network of Academic Recognition Information Centres was created in 1984 to help regulate the recognition of diplomas and the integration of the national education systems. These centres give authorized guidance and information about the academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study in other countries.

NARIC Network – Greece

NARIC Network – Italy

NARIC Network – Spain

You can find advanced information about the process of recognition of professional qualifications in this link:

This post is also available in: Spanish Greek Italian

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