Doctor of Medicine

This section contains specific information on procedures and on the relevant legal basis for this occupational group.

› Open all



Professional Recognition

DO I NEED TO HAVE MY PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS RECOGNIZED?

If you wish to work without any restrictions as a doctor in Germany, you need a state licence, a so-called Approbation.

You can apply for an Approbation even if you have completed your training abroad. The competent authorities will assess the equivalence of your qualifications with the corresponding German qualifications within the framework of a licensing procedure. You can only be granted an Approbation if your training is recognized as equivalent.

If you wish to work as a doctor in Germany for a limited period of time only, you may apply for a temporary authorisation to practise. This is usually issued for a maximum of two years and can only be extended in particular individual cases. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have completed medical training before such a temporary authorisation to practise is issued. The authorisation may be restricted to certain activities and places of employment. The temporary authorisation to practise does not constitute recognition of professional qualifications obtained abroad. Holders of a temporary authorisation to practise may, however, also apply for a licence to practise medicine in Germany.

A temporary authorisation to practise can only be issued in exceptional cases if you have acquired your qualification in a member state of the European Union, in a country within the European Economic Area or in Switzerland. Holders of such qualifications should generally be issued with a licence to practise medicine. The relevant competent authority will inform you of the specific requirements which apply in the federal state of your choice.

You can use the Recognition Finder to identify the correct competent authority for your occupation.

Information on the procedure

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE RECOGNITION PROCEDURE?

  • You may apply for a licence to practise medicine in Germany if you have completed medical training.
  • The responsible authorities decide on whether to recognize the qualifications that you have gained abroad within the framework of the Approbation procedure.
  • You may apply for an Approbation irrespective of your nationality, the origin of your qualifications and your residence status.
  • As a rule, the procedure is subject to a charge. The responsible authorities can provide information on the costs involved.

HOW DOES THE RECOGNITION PROCEDURE WORK?

Procedure for qualifications gained in the EU/EEA/Switzerland

  • A procedure of automatic recognition in accordance with EU Directive 2005/36/EC will normally apply. Your qualification will be recognised without an individual equivalence assessment. 
  • Qualifications obtained prior to accession to the European Union of the state in which training took place will be automatically recognised if you submit certification from the relevant health authorities in the country in which training was completed that the training is in compliance with the minimum standards set out in EU Directive 2005/36/EC. 

Procedure for qualifications from non-EU/EEA states and for EU qualifications which are not automatically recognised

  • The responsible authorities assess whether the qualifications in medicine which you have gained abroad are equivalent to the corresponding German qualifications.
  • Your qualifications are recognized as equivalent if there are no substantial differences between your foreign qualifications and the corresponding German qualifications.
  • Apart from your training, the responsible authorities also consider the professional experience that you have gained at home or abroad. Significant differences in qualifications can only be offset by relevant professional experience.
     

WHAT RESULTS ARE POSSIBLE?

  • You will be granted an Approbation if the authorities establish the equivalence of your qualifications and you satisfy the other requirements for gaining an Approbation (among other things: adequate command of German).
  • Should there be substantial differences between your qualifications and the corresponding German qualifications, you have the opportunity to take a test to prove the equivalence of your professional knowledge.
  • You will be granted an Approbation if you pass this test.
     

Further information can be obtained from the responsible authorities.

WILL THE RESULTS OF PROCEDURES UNDER THE OLD LAW BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT?

  • If a previous procedure to grant or extend a work permit has already determined the equivalence of your professional qualifications, these findings are also to be taken into account when applying for an Approbation. 
  • You do not have to repeat a test which you have already passed. Applicants who have failed a test within the framework of a previous procedure to grant a permit to work as a doctor may nevertheless apply for an Approbation. Applicants may also resit the test.

WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED WHEN SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION?

  • Proof of identity (identity card or passport)
  • Brief CV
  • Certified copy of qualifications and if necessary further certificates of competence
  • Tabular overview of training courses and if appropriate of prior work experience
  • Certificates regarding relevant professional experience
  • Certificate stating entitlement to work as a doctor in your country of origin and documents proving that you intend to practice the profession in Germany (does not apply to qualifications gained in the EU/EEA/Switzerland).
  • Medical certificate confirming fitness to practice the profession (issued within the last month)
  • Official certificate of good conduct (issued within the last month)
  • Statement of whether criminal proceedings are pending.

Should these documents not be in German, they must be accompanied by certified translations. You may present simple copies of your documents in cases where certified copies are not specifically required.
The responsible authorities will provide details.

Ethnic German repatriate
If you are an ethnic German repatriate (on the regal basis of the Federal Expellees Act), ask the responsible authorities about any peculiarities in the procedure which may affect you.

LEGAL BASIS

Further information

The Internet portal www.kompetenzen-gesundheitsberufe.de (German) provides information about preconditions and fields of work in the health sector. The information is intended to allow university graduates with degrees acquired abroad to enter this sector and is also of interest to career changers such as engineers, economists and educators.