An offer from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

How do I get recognition?

If you want to have your professional qualification recognised, you must apply. For this you need to know the German reference occupation. And you need to know where you want to work in Germany.

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Anerkennung in Deutschland, 2023

Recognition of foreign professional or vocational qualifications in Germany

The current flyer describes important stages on the way to recognition and lists free sources of information and advice. Now available in 12 languages for viewing and ordering.

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Recognition, step by step

Find out the reference occupation

In the Recognition Finder you can find out about German occupations and select your reference occupation. You will discover whether your profession is one of the regulated professions or one of the non-regulated professions You will also discover whether recognition is essential for you. Finally, you will receive the contact details of a counselling centre.

The contact details of the competent authority and detailed information about the recognition procedure are also available in the Recognition Finder.


Seek advice

Please seek advice before you apply for recognition.
The counselling centre provides you with all the information you need about the recognition procedure. You should also address questions related to financial support in a consultation before making the application.

The addresses and contact details of a counselling centre near you can be found via the counselling search or in the Recognition Finder.



You must make your application for recognition to the competent authority.

Many members of staff in the competent authorities only speak German. Counselling beforehand is also helpful for this reason.

The following documents are always necessary:

  • Application form or application without a specified form
  • Proof of identity
  • Evidence of your professional qualification
  • Evidence of the content and duration of your professional qualification

In many cases you may be required to submit the documents. Find out which documents you need to submit in the Recognition finder.

Do you no longer have all the documents relating to your professional qualification? If so, you may be able to provide evidence of your professional competencies in a skills analysis. The skills analysis is available for dual training occupations, master craftsperson occupations and advanced training occupations A skills analysis may be a:

  • Work sample
  • Professional discussion
  • Trial work in a company

There are also other procedures in the regulated sector. For example you can complete an adaptation period or take a test.

Do you come from the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or from Switzerland? If so, then you can apply to the EU for the European Professional Card (EPC) for the following professions: pharmacist, mountain guide, estate agent, general nurse, physiotherapist.

You can apply for the EPC on the EU website. You then do not need to make any other application for recognition.


Processing the application

The competent authority processes your application for recognition. You will be informed as to whether your documents have arrived after one month at the latest. This message will also state whether you need to submit further documents. If the documents are complete, it takes 3 - 4 months for you to receive a notice containing the outcome. In certain cases the competent authority is able to extend the recognition procedure by one month. Your professional experience may also be taken into account in the procedure.

The recognition procedure may also take longer. This is the case, for example, if a skills analysis is conducted because documents are missing.


Receiving notice

You are informed of the outcome of the recognition procedure in a notice. This is also sometimes called a recognition notice, notice of equivalence, notification of a deficit.

These are the outcomes for regulated professions:

The outcomes may also have different names. You can find these in the Recognition Finder.

There are the following outcomes for non-regulated professions:

  • Recognition: Your professional qualification is equivalent to the German reference occupation.
  • Partial recognition: Part of your professional qualification is equivalent. There are substantial differences in another part. If you complete so-called refresher training, you are able to receive full recognition if you participate successfully.
  • No recognition: The differences of your professional qualification compared to the German reference occupation are too large.

What if I do not receive recognition?

You can achieve recognition by participating successfully in training. Please seek advice regarding this. Many training courses are free of charge. There are the following types of training:

For regulated professions you can complete a compensation measure. The compensation measure must compensate for the substantial differences identified in the notice. Following successful participation you submit the certificate to the competent authority. You then receive the positive notice. Normally you do not need to submit a new application for recognition.

For non-regulated professions you can complete refresher training. Following successful participation you receive a certificate. You are then able to submit a follow-up application for recognition. You submit this with the certificate and your other documents to the competent authority.