The practice of medicine in France: how to proceed?

In respect of the practice of medicine in France, a healthcare professional who is a national of an EU member country or of a State party to an agreement with the European economic area, must follow a procedure for automatic recognition of his diploma, or comply with an authorization procedure


At the same time, the healthcare professional will have to apply for a visa and a residence permit. if he is not a national from a member country of the European Union.


According to article L.4111-1 of the public health code: “ No one may practice the profession of doctor unless he is of. French nationality, Andorran citizen or national of a Member State of the European Union or party to the agreement on the European Economic Area, Morocco or Tunisia, subject to the application, where applicable, either of the rules set out in this chapter, or of those resulting from international commitments other than those mentioned in this chapter ”. 


The rules surrounding the exercise of a medical profession in France by a foreign doctor vary depending on whether the latter is a national of the European Union or not.


A third procedure exists for professionals who wish to practice occasionally and temporarily in France. In this case, the administration has a period of one month from receipt of the candidate’s file to formally acknowledge receipt.


It was specified that it is within this same period that the candidate is informed, if applicable, of the missing elements in his file.

In addition, an expertise can be carried out on a candidate to assess his professional qualities. Until now, the deadline for carrying out this expertise could be extended, if necessary.

This extension is now abolished in the context of the mutual recognition of the qualifications of candidates under the automatic recognition regime.

Before authorizing certain health professionals to practice occasionally in France, the authorities may carry out preliminary checks to ensure the candidate’s professional qualities. It was clarified that these prior checks should only be aimed at seeing the endangerment of the health of patients and should not exceed what is necessary for this purpose.

New regulations for non-EU healthcare professionals

Doctors, dentists, midwives and pharmacists from a country outside the EU and outside the European economic area can practice in France following a procedure. authorization to exercise.

The content of the application for authorization to exercise is now known. It includes in particular an application form for authorization to practice, a copy of the diploma and a photocopy of the identity document. All the supporting documents to be provided can be viewed here: 000042221033 / .

The new model of the exercise authorization request form has been set, available for consultation at the following address: https: //www.legifrance.gouv .fr / jorf / id / JORFTEXT 000042221218 / .

The file must be sent by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt (LRAR), to the National Management Center ( ), competition department, exercise authorizations, mobility-professional development, 21 B, rue Leblanc, 75737 Paris Cedex 15.

At the end of the study of the candidate’s file, a course of skills consolidation may be imposed. This is done on a full-time basis, within services or organizations approved for the training of students in the 3rd cycle of studies in medicine, dentistry and pharmacy or, for midwives, in the unit of ‘obstetrics of a public or private health establishment, of collective or private interest.

The implementation of the authorization to practice (PAE)

The implementation of the authorization to practice procedure (PAE) is demanded for candidates “nationals of a State other than those members of the European Union or parties to the agreement on the European Economic Area [Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway], holders of educational qualifications obtained in one of these States and whose professional experience is attested by any means ”(Article L4111-2 I-bis of the Public Health Code)?

Once they have a diploma, certificate or other title allowing the practice of medicine, foreign doctors wishing to practice in France must submit to the Procedure for Authorization to Practice (PAE).

This is organized around several successive stages:

  • The passage of French language verification tests as well as technical knowledge.
  • The completion of 3 years of functions in a service or organization approved for the training of interns. During this exercise of 3 years of service, the professional practices of these doctors will be evaluated by the person in charge of the assigned medical structure.
  • The request for the opinion of an authorization committee for assessing the level of initial and continuing training, as well as the quality of professional practice in the requested specialty.

The authorization to exercise will be issued in fine by the Minister of Health.

However, it should be noted that there are several exceptions to this licensing procedure.

Moreover, the provisions of article L4111-2 I-Bis of the Public Health Code constitute a derogation from the accomplishment of the PAE.

Clearly, candidates “nationals of a State other than those members of the European Union or parties to the agreement on the European Economic Area, holders of educational qualifications obtained in one of these States and whose professional experience is attested by any means ”will be exempt from this authorization procedure.

Indeed, the Ministry of Health ( considers that when practitioners hold a community diploma, those concerned are exempt from the knowledge verification tests and submit their file directly to the committee for authorization to exercise.

The only evidence of their professional experience will be required in order to obtain this individual authorization to practice medicine.