Register as a doctor in Spain
To practice as a doctor in Spain it is a pre-requisite to be registered in the autonomous region of destination.
After finishing medical or specialist studies, many doctors decide to gain professional experience abroad. There is currently a high demand for doctors in Spain and there are numerous vacancies in its health system.
The private health sector in Spain has interesting and highly valued positions with excellent benefits and professional development opportunities.
Where can you register to practise as a doctor in Spain?
Doctors wanting to practise medicine in Spain must be registered at the Medical Association in the region where they want to practise: the documentation to submit with the application depends on your nationality, training and experience.
You can find all the Medical Associations in Spain and their contact details on the website of the General Council of Official Medical Associations.
Where is the equivalency and recognition of foreign degrees carried out?
For degrees obtained outside Spain, registration applicants need to get their qualifications recognised for their application to be accepted. The process will be different depending on where the qualification was obtained:
EU degrees and qualifications:
- In Spain, the recognition of healthcare degrees and specialist qualifications issued by any other EU Member State is regulated by Royal Decree 581/2017, of 9 June (under Directive 2013/55/EU of the European Parliament) and is carried out through the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare.
Non-EU degrees and qualifications:
The equivalency and recognition of non-EU medical degrees and specialist qualifications is carried out at different Ministries:
- Equivalency of Degrees in Medicine: corresponds to the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities. The equivalency will be valid throughout Spain. The corresponding fees must be paid for the process to commence. Once the request has been approved, applicants can start postgraduate courses and apply for jobs.
- Recognition in Spain of specialist qualifications obtained outside the European Union is regulated by Royal Decree 459/2010 of 16 April, implementing Article 18 of Law 44/2003, on the Management of Healthcare Professionals, and is obtained through the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare. This is a compulsory requirement in order to practise in the profession and particularly to practise as an employed or self-employed specialist doctor in Spain.
This recognition can also be obtained if another European country has recognised the specialist qualification and the applicant has practised there for 3 years (after this period of time, recognition as a specialist qualification obtained in Europe may be requested). The request will not lead to automatic recognition and the applicant will have to pass a training or test period if their request is successful.
What documentation will I need to submit in order to correctly register?
Each association has its own way of managing the process, whether online or in person, but the documentation generally requested is as follows:
- Passport size photographs.
- ID, foreigner’s ID document (NIE/TIE) or passport issued by the country of origin. (For more information on residence and work permits, visit the official website of the Ministry of Labor, Migration and Social Security).
- Original degree certificate in Medicine and Surgery (or receipt of having paid the fees for it to be issued).
- Original specialist qualification certificate (where applicable) or certificate from the Ministry of Health.
- Payment of the registration fee.
- Direct debit data for paying quarterly instalments.
- Certificate of suitability or good practice issued by a competent authority of the country of origin. The certificate should state that the applicant has not been disqualified from practising medicine, and a sworn translation of it will be required if it is not in Spanish.
This link provides the details of organisations around the globe where you can request a certificate of suitability. This certificate is also issued to accredit work abroad. In Spain it is issued by the General Council of Official Medical Associations and is valid for 3 months. It contains data provided by the Official Medical Association of the region where the applicant is or has been registered. You can also submit a request for it to be issued through the Medical Association in which you are registered.
- Confirmation of a place in a Medical Residence in Spain (MIR) issued by the Ministry of Health (where applicable).
- Undergraduate Degree/ Specialist qualification with an equivalency and recognition certificate if studied outside Spain.
Do I need to take any tests or exams to recognise my training?
For specialist qualifications obtained outside the European Union to be recognised in Spain, regulated by Royal Decree 459/2010 of 16 April, implementing Article 18 of Law 44/2003, on the Management of Healthcare Professionals, available through the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, a training or test period must be passed if the application has been successful and the applicant is notified that they meet the minimum training requirements required by European Directive 2005/36/EC.
The Evaluation Committee will be responsible for assessing the file and determining whether the quality of the training carried out is equal to that required by a Spanish medical degree and, therefore, whether a theoretical-practical test should be taken in the specialist area in which the applicant would like to be recognised.
The applicant will be notified by email if this is the case and it will also be published in the Spanish State Gazette (BOE) and on the website of the abovementioned Ministry.
You can view the content of the test per specialisation via this link.
What level of Spanish language do you need to register as a doctor in Spain?
If your first language is not Spanish, you will have to submit a Level B2 certificate with your application for equivalency or recognition:
Accrediting a level B2 in Spanish:
- Be from a country where the official or co-official language is Spanish.
- Have studied at least 75% of your degree or specialist training in Spanish.
- DELE test certificate (a Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language issued by the Miguel de Cervantes Institute).
- Official certificate of advanced level B2 in Spanish for Foreigners, issued by the Official Language School.
- Certificate of Linguistic Ability in Spanish for Foreigners issued by the Official Language School.