Glossary

Glossar

The glossary explains the most important terms which are used on the Recognition in Germany website.

Adaptation period

German: Anpassungslehrgang

An adaptation period is a compensation measure for regulated professions. An individual trains in the areas they are lacking for recognition of a foreign professional qualification. Successful participation enables the individual to compensate for the substantial differences compared to the German reference occupation. The individual is then still able to receive full recognition of their foreign professional qualification.

During an adaptation period, the individual works in the relevant regulated profession. They are supervised by a person qualified in this profession. For example by someone who is a registered general nurse in a hospital.

The adaptation period is sometimes also additional training. An adaptation period lasts for a maximum of three years. The duration depends on which differences are specified in the recognition notice and on what the individual still has to learn.


Advanced training qualification

German: Fortbildungsabschluss

An advanced training qualification is a professional qualification. Individuals who have successfully completed advanced training receive the advanced training qualification.

Advanced training qualifications exist which are comparable in terms of level with higher education or university degrees. For example, to a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

advanced training includes:


Advanced vocational training

German: Fortbildung
Also: berufliche Fortbildung, Aufstiegsfortbildung

Advanced vocational training enables individuals with vocational education and training to acquire or to practice vocational knowledge and skills. This enables these individuals to improve their professional training and their professional prospects in the labour market.

In Germany, there is also advanced training for individuals without vocational education and training. However, these individuals must normally have professional experience.

Advanced training courses are regulated by the Vocational Training Act (BBiG) or by the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code (HwO). A distinction is made between upgrading training (e.g. master craftsman courses), retraining and updating training. There is also an examination the end of the advanced training. Those who passed the examination receive an advanced training qualification.


Application for recognition

German: Application for recognition
Also: Antrag auf Anerkennung

The application for recognition is generally made via an application form. This allows individuals to apply for recognition of their foreign professional qualification.

The application for recognition is sent to the competent authority together with the necessary documents. Or it can be submitted in person. The application for recognition can be downloaded from the website of the competent authority.

Occasionally, an application for recognition is not available for downloading. In this case the individual must send a letter to the competent authority. The recognition procedure must be requested in the letter. The competent authority will provide information on how this is done.


Approbation (licence to practise medicine in Germany)

German: Approbation

Approbation is official state authorisation to practice. With an approbation, individuals are permitted to work permanently and without restrictions in an academic medical profession in Germany.

For example:

  • Medical practitioners
  • Pharmacists


Aptitude test

German: Eignungsprüfung
Also: Defizitprüfung

An aptitude test as a compensation measure for individuals involved in a recognition procedure.

An aptitude test allows individuals in a regulated profession to compensate for substantial differences between a foreign professional qualification and a German reference occupation.

The following is examined in an aptitude test: Knowledge and skills which are important in the German reference occupation and for which no evidence is provided by documents.
The aptitude test takes into account the professional qualification in the country of origin. An aptitude test is not a new final examination. In an aptitude test, only those areas are tested in which substantial differences have been established.


Assessment of higher education certificates

German: Zeugnisbewertung

An assessment of higher education certificates is a document from the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB). The document describes a higher-education qualification from abroad.

The recognition procedures are only for higher-education qualifications which lead to a regulated profession. For those higher-education qualifications which lead to a non-regulated profession there is the assessment of higher education certificates. An assessment of higher education certificates compares the foreign qualifications with the German qualification following a degree. The assessment of higher education certificates gives information about the vocational and academic opportunities provided by the qualification.

The assessment of a higher education certificate is requested from the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB).

Further information on the assessment of higher education certificates is available here.


Authorisation to practise a profession (1)

German: Berufserlaubnis

Authorisation to practise a profession is state authorisation to practice. This means individuals are permitted to work in Germany in a specific profession. For example in an academic medical profession.

Authorisation to practice a profession in the academic medical professions is time-limited and generally contains further restrictions.

With an approbation, individuals are permitted to work in an academic medical profession in Germany permanently and without restrictions. For example medical practitioners may obtain authorisation to practice a profession in the recognition procedure, however this is still not an approbation.


Authorisation to practise a profession (2)

German: Berufszulassung

Authorisation to practice a profession is permission from one of the official competent authorities to work in a profession. Or authorisation from an official competent authority permitting use of a specific designation of occupation.

Authorisation to practice must be applied for from the competent authority. The individual is only permitted to work in the profession if they have been granted the authorisation to practice.

An authorisation to practice a profession includes for example:

This applies to professions in the trades or crafts which require a license. Only then is the individual permitted to refer to themselves as a master craftsperson or to start to trade or establish a business themselves.

The competent authority provides information regarding professions within their area of jurisdiction involving authorisation to practice.


Automatic recognition

German: automatische Anerkennung

Some regulated professions are automatically recognised within the European Union (EU). These professions are always equivalent. This is because, in the EU, uniform standards exist in the vocational qualification in these professions. Individuals in these professions are therefore permitted to work in all countries of the EU. They must, however, have completed the training in a country which is part of the EU.

Automatic recognition applies to the following occupations:

  • Medical practitioner
  • Dentist
  • Veterinarian
  • Pharmacist
  • Nurse
  • Midwife and obstetrician
  • Architect

A list of these professions is provided in the appendix of the EU Recognition Directive (2005/36/EU).

An application for recognition must also be made to the competent authority for automatic recognition. However, in the recognition procedure there is no assessment of equivalence.



Certificate of conformity

German: Konformitätsbescheinigung
Also: EU-Konformitätsbescheinigung

The certificate of conformity is an official document within the European Union (EU). This states that the individual concerned has completed their training in accordance with the minimum EU standard. This is also referred to as conformity of training.

The certificate of conformity is required in the following situation:

The certificate of conformity is issued for foreign professional qualifications with automatic recognition. Individuals receive the certificate of conformity from the competent authority of their home member state.


Certificate of entitlement

German: Berufsurkunde
Also: Zulassungsurkunde, Erlaubnisurkunde

A certificate of entitlement confirms that an individual is permitted to practice a specific occupation. It is written evidence and is primarily issued for regulated professions. A certificate of entitlement contains the designation of occupation, the name of the individual permitted to practice the occupation and other information such as location and date.

Examples of a certificate of entitlement are:

In some cases the certificate of entitlement from the country of origin must also be presented in the recognition procedure.


Certificate of good conduct

German: Führungszeugnis
Also: polizeiliches Führungszeugnis

A certificate of good conduct is a document from an authority. it contains all of an individual's registered previous convictions.

From the age of 14, all individuals are able to apply for a certificate of good conduct. The application is submitted as follows:

  • In Germany: To the municipal administration of the individual’s primary residence.
  • Abroad: To the German diplomatic mission.

Most countries have a document which is comparable to the German certificate of good conduct.


Chamber

German: Kammer
Also: berufsständische Körperschaft, Standesvertretung

Institution which administers individuals in the same or similar profession. There are different types of chambers. For example:

  • Chamber of Crafts and Trades
  • Chamber of Physicians
  • Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK)

A chamber undertakes government tasks and looks after the interests of the members. A chamber has a range of responsibilities. For example:


Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

German: Gemeinsamer Europäischer Referenzrahmen für Sprachen (GER)

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is a recommendation from the Council of Europe regarding language skills in a foreign language. The CEFR divides foreign language skills into various competence levels and levels of language. This makes language skills more comparable. The CEFR is also used as a standard for acquisition of language skills.

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

Self-assessment grid from Europass


Compensation measure

German: Ausgleichsmaßnahme
Also: Anpassungsmaßnahme

A compensation measure allows individuals in a regulated occupation to compensate for substantial differences between a foreign professional qualification and a German reference occupation.

In the process, these individuals learn skills they are still lacking for recognition of a foreign professional qualification or they complete an aptitude or knowledge test. After successfully participating or passing the tests, these individuals then still receive full recognition of their foreign professional qualification. For this, however, they must first submit a follow-up application to the competent authority.

A range of compensation measures exist. The legal regulation depends on the profession and on the nationality.

There are the following, for example:

The knowledge test must be taken, for example, in healthcare occupations if you come from a third country.


Competent authority

German: zuständige Stelle

Competent authority is the name in this case for administrative bodies and institutions. These administrative bodies and institutions implement the recognition procedure on the basis of the applicable legal and administrative provisions.


Continuing education

German: Weiterbildung

Practising and extending your own skills and knowledge following training. The following types of continuing training exist:

  • Continuing vocational education and training
  • General continuing education
  • Political continuing education
  • Continuing education at universities (also referred to as continuing academic training)

Continuing vocational education and training includes courses for consolidating and supplementing vocational knowledge. The learning involved in continuing vocational education and training is formal, non-formal, and informal.

Today, the terms “advanced vocational training” and “continuing education” are frequently used synonymously in a vocational context. In practice, continuing vocational education and training can include the following:

  • Retraining
  • Upgrading training (e.g. master craftsman courses
  • Updating training

An examination may need to be taken at the end of continuing training. At the end of continuing education you generally receive evidence of participation or of passing the examination. This evidence is referred to as, for example:

  • Certificate of participation
  • Certificate
  • Reference

This evidence helps in the recognition procedure. This is because individuals can often use this to compensate for substantial differences between their professional qualification and the German reference occupation.


Continuing education qualification

German: Weiterbildungsabschluss

A continuing education qualification is a professional qualification. An individual gains a continuing education qualification if they successfully complete formal continuing vocational education and training. The individual must also successfully pass the state or state-recognised final examination.

Continuing education qualifications following upgrading training included for example

Both of these continuing education qualifications are regulated in the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code (HwO) and the Vocational Training Act (BBiG).

There are also continuing education qualifications at trade and technical schools These are regulated by the federal states. For example:

  • State-certified business specialist
  • State-certified technician

Specific continuing education also exists for certain specialisms in academic medical professions. For example:

  • Medical specialist
  • Specialist pharmacist

The relevant Chamber regulates this continuing education in so-called continuing education regulations.

 


Costs of the procedure

German: Verfahrenskosten

The costs of the procedure are the costs of the recognition procedure. This means that individuals going through the recognition procedure must pay money to the competent authority.

The recognition procedure may also involve further costs. For example for:

  • Translation of certificates
  • Certification of documents

This is because translations and certifications cost money. However, financial support is available for individuals going through the recognition procedure.

Information regarding this is available under Financial assistance.


Country of origin

German: Herkunftsland
Also: Herkunftsstaat, Heimatland

The country of origin is the country in which an individual was born or grew up. In most cases the individual has citizenship of this country.


Country of training

German: Ausbildungsland
Also: Ausbildungsstaat

The country in which the final certificate for a professional qualification was issued.


Craft or trade, requiring a licence

German: Handwerk, zulassungspflichtiges

Certain professions in the crafts and trades sector require a licence. A craft or trade which requires a licence is a trade involving potential hazards. This means that if the trade is not correctly performed, there may be risks for customers and other people. There are 41 crafts and trades requiring a license These professions include for example:

  • Electrical engineer
  • Carpenter
  • Pastry chef

The crafts and trades which require a licence are listed in Appendix A of the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code.

Craftspeople are able to become self-employed and set up a business. A requirement of the crafts and trades which require a licence is entry beforehand in the Register of Craftsmen. Tradespeople in the crafts and trades which do not require a licence and those similar to the skilled crafts and trades not need to do this.

Master craftspersons in the crafts and trades which require a licence are entered in the Register of Craftsmen. Individuals with a foreign professional qualification must also undertake an equivalence assessment. If the equivalence of the foreign vocational qualification is established with the relevant German master craftsman qualification, then those individuals can be entered in the Register of Craftsmen. They are then allowed to run a craft trade business independently.

There are also trades and businesses which do not require a licence and which are similar to the skilled crafts and trades. Other rules then apply to self-employment.

Appendix A of the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code (German)



Employment

German: Erwerbstätigkeit

Employment is work which is regulated by contract. Employed persons include:

  • Employees
  • Salaried employee
  • Self-employed people
  • Freelancers
  • Persons in a mini job


Equivalence

German: Gleichwertigkeit

siehe recognition


Equivalence assessment

German: Gleichwertigkeitsprüfung
Also: Gleichwertigkeitsfeststellung

In Germany, the competent authority checks whether a foreign professional qualification is equivalent to the German reference occupation. This check is called the equivalence assessment and is conducted as part of the recognition procedure.

For this check, the competent authority needs all documents relating to the foreign professional qualification.
For example:


EU/EEA/Switzerland

German: EU/EWR/Schweiz

EU/EEA/Switzerland is the abbreviation for: European Union/European Economic Area/Switzerland.

The member states of the European Union (EU) include: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

The European Economic Area (EEA) includes: All EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

Switzerland has entered into a treaty with the European Union. This states that Switzerland participates in the European system of vocational recognition.


EU Recognition Directive

German: EU-Berufsanerkennungsrichtlinie
Also: Berufsanerkennungsrichtlinie, Anerkennungsrichtlinie

The official name for the EU Recognition Directive is: Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications. The directive regulates the recognition of professional qualifications between countries of the European Union (EU) with respect to regulated professions.

The most important rules are:

The directive entered into force on 15 October 2005 and was reformed by Directive 2013/55/EU.



Evidence of formal qualifications

German: Ausbildungsnachweis

Evidence of formal qualifications documents that a professional qualification covers.

For example:

  • Certificates
  • Examination certificates
  • Diploma

Evidence of formal professional qualifications is issued by an authority. It must be issued in the country in which the professional qualification was obtained.


Examination fees

German: Prüfungsgebühren

Examination fees are the cost of participating in a state examination. This means that individuals may be required to pay money for participating in an examination.


External examination

German: Externenprüfung

The external examination is a specific examination for dual training occupations.

The external examination enables individuals without vocational education and training to complete a vocational qualification in a training occupation. They must fulfil the following conditions:

  • The individual has already worked in the profession in which they are sitting the examination.
  • The period of working was at least 1.5 times as long as the duration of training in this profession.
  • They must pass the external examination.


Fee notification

German: Gebührenbescheid

A fee notification is an official letter from an authority concerning administrative costs, for example costs for the recognition procedure. A fee notification states the authority's services and the costs.


Follow-up application

German: Folgeantrag
Also: Nachfolgeantrag, Wiederaufnahmeantrag

A follow-up application is a new application for recognition, made following a compensation measure or refresher training. Here the competent authority checks whether substantial differences have been compensated for

If the competent authority determines that the substantial differences have been compensated for, then the individual receives full recognition of their professional qualification.


Freedom of establishment

German: Niederlassungsfreiheit

The right for citizens of the European Union (EU) to work independently and permanently in another EU country. These individuals are permitted to have a trade or business. They are also permitted to work independently in commercial, craft trade or liberal occupations.

Freedom of establishment in a regulated profession in Germany is only possible with recognition of a foreign professional qualification. This applies for example to medical practitioners.
If individuals only want to work in Germany for a specific period of time, they need no recognition. The freedom to provide services then applies.


Freedom to provide services

German: Dienstleistungsfreiheit

The freedom to provide services permits individuals who are independently providing services in a country of the European Union (EU) to also provide these in every other country of the EU. However, this only applies to independent activities. These are independent commercial, skilled craft or freelance activities which are offered to others. The freedom to provide services applies only to temporary and occasional activities. It is not a permanent option and does not apply to salaried employees. This is governed by the freedom of establishment.

The activity only needs to be reported beforehand in writing to the competent authority in Germany for regulated professions such as medical practitioner.

Those wishing to work independently in Germany must go through recognition of their professional qualification in Germany. This also applies to salaried individuals.


Full-time vocational school

German: Berufsfachschule

Full-time vocational school is a type of school providing vocational education. In a full-time vocational school, pupils are able to train in an entirely school-based training occupation.
Other courses are also available at a full-time vocational school in which, for example, only parts of the vocational education and training are taught.


Healthcare occupation

German: Gesundheitsberuf

The term “Healthcare occupations” refers to all professions in which a person is cared for or receives medical assistance. They involve a multitude of professional activities and tasks. These professions are governed differently under the law, and certain prerequisites are in place regarding access to professions and within the recognition procedure. However, in almost all cases a recognition procedure must be completed.

Individuals in a healthcare occupation take care of the health of other people.

Healthcare occupations include academic and non-academic medical professions. For example:

  • Medical practitioner
  • Optician
  • Dental technician



Home member state

German: Herkunftsmitgliedstaat

Home member state is the term for a country of origin in the European Union (EU).

Citizens of the EU are permitted to enter other EU countries and be resident there. There is a law for this. The law is called: EU Directive 2004/38/EC.


Internal Market Information System (IMI)

German: Internal Market Information System (IMI)
Also: IMI

Electronic system of the European Union (EU) for exchanging information. The IMI enables public bodies in the European Economic Area to exchange information over the internet.

For example, the competent authority for recognition is therefore able to receive information directly from the competent authority in the home member state.


Interpreter

German: Dolmetscherin und Dolmetscher
Also: öffentlich bestellte Dolmetscherin/öffentlich bestellter Dolmetscher, beeidigte Dolmetscherin/beeidigter Dolmetscher, Übersetzerin/Übersetzer

see translator


Knowledge test

German: Kenntnisprüfung

A knowledge test is a compensation measure for individuals from third countries, who are completing the recognition procedure for regulated medical professions.

A knowledge test allows individuals in a regulated medical professions to compensate for substantial differences between a foreign professional qualification and a German reference occupation.

The competent authority conducts the knowledge test.
The knowledge test relates to the content of a German state final examination. All the content of such a final examination may be tested. However it is not essential that all content is examined.


Labour market access

German: Arbeitsmarktzugang

The legal or professional requirements for being able to work in Germany as a foreigner.

The Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz - AufenthG) regulates access to the labour market. Different regulations exist for citizens of different countries. What’s important here is the reason for the residence (see residence permit). Freedom of movement applies to residents from EU/EEA/Switzerland.

Citizens of other countries (third countries) require authorisation from the Federal Employment Agency. The priority review exists for this.


Liberal professions

German: Freie Berufe

Many professions are so-called liberal professions. These are professions which, by law, require a specific qualification or in which an individual works scientifically or artistically. The liberal professions include for example:

  • Medical practitioner
  • Lawyer
  • Tax accountant
  • Architect
  • Journalist
  • Physiotherapist

Individuals working in the liberal professions (freelancers) offer their services or work to other people for money. They are normally self-employed and work independently. This means that they have no employer.

Liberal professions are not trades or businesses (German: Gewerbe). For many liberal occupations, recognition of a foreign professional qualification is required.


Marriage certificate

German: Eheurkunde
Also: Heiratsurkunde

A marriage certificate is an official document which certifies a marriage.

A marriage certificate is issued by the relevant registry office. A divorce is also entered in the marriage certificate.


Master craftsperson

German: Meisterin oder Meister
Also: Meisterqualifikation

Master craftsperson training is the name of German advanced vocational education and training.

Master craftspersons undertake advanced vocational training for specific tasks. They learn, for example, how to run a company. Master craftspersons exist in a range of different areas. For example:

Advanced training as a master craftsperson exists in a range of occupations. In most cases individuals require completed vocational education and training.

This advanced vocational training also exists for individuals without vocational education and training, but with professional experience. This advanced vocational training also exists for individuals with a university degree. Participation in advanced vocational training of this type depends on the regulations of the respective profession.

The master craftsperson advanced vocational education and training exists in a range of areas. For example:

In the crafts and trades which require a licence only one individual with a master craftspersons qualification is permitted to run a company and train trainees.


Medical fitness

German: gesundheitliche Eignung

Medical fitness is important for some regulated professions for an application for recognition. For example, for professions in the areas of public health, security and in the social and education sector. The competent authority requires proof of medical fitness for these professions This applies before starting a compensation measure. However, in some cases, evidence first needs to be presented to a new employer. An individual is medically fit when they can work physically and psychologically in their profession.

In most cases proof of medical fitness can be provided by means of a doctor's certificate. This certificate states that the professional activity will not be impaired by the health of the individual. This certificate must not be more than 3 months old.

It may be the case that the competent authority only requires a personal declaration regarding the state of an individual's health.


Non-regulated professions

German: nicht reglementierte Berufe

There are no state regulations in terms of authorisation to practice for non-regulated professions. This means that individuals are permitted to work in these professions without authorisation to practice. These professions include for example all professions in dual vocational education and training.

In non-regulated professions, individuals with a foreign professional qualification are able to apply for jobs directly on the German labour market. Alternatively they can work on a self-employed basis in this profession. They do not require recognition of their professional qualification for this.
However, individuals with foreign professional qualifications are also entitled to a recognition procedure for non-regulated professions.



Official certification

German: amtliche Beglaubigung

Official certification is an attestation from an authority or a notary. An authority or notary uses this is to certify that a document is genuine. Official certification also certifies that a copy or a signature is genuine.


Positive list

German: Positivliste

The positive list is a list of all shortage professions. It is recompiled twice a year by the Federal Employment Agency (BA).

In Germany there are specific professions with not enough employees. These professions are known as shortage professions. The following applies to these professions. A foreign worker is able to work in this profession without priority review.


Practising a profession

German: Berufsausübung

Working in a profession in which you are qualified.


Priority review

German: Vorrangprüfung

The priority review is a specific test conducted by the Federal Employment Agency. The Federal Employment Agency checks: Are there preferred individuals for a vacancy? Preferred individuals means: These individuals are permitted to apply first for a vacancy.

Preferred individuals are:

The following applies to applicants from third countries: The employer must tell the Federal Employment Agency that no preferred individual is appropriate for the vacancy. Individuals from third countries are then able to be recruited to the vacant position.


Professional experience

German: Berufserfahrung
Also: Berufspraxis

Working lawfully in a profession and gaining professional experience in the process. In Germany or in another country.


Professional qualification

German: Berufsqualifikation

Professional qualifications are qualifications for which evidence of training is provided by means of evidence of formal qualifications or qualification certificates. These lead to a clearly defined profession. Evidence of a professional qualification may also be provided by professional experience gained in Germany or abroad.

These are examples of professional qualifications:

The recognition procedure exists for professional qualifications from abroad. This checks the equivalence of the vocational qualification.
Recognition procedures for higher education qualifications exist only for higher education qualifications leading to a regulated profession. For example: Dentist.

There is no recognition procedure for higher education qualifications which do not lead to a regulated profession. The assessment of higher education certificates exists for these higher education qualifications. This is the case, for example, for geologists.


Professional Qualifications Assessment Act (BQFG)

German: Berufsqualifikationsfeststellungsgesetz (BQFG)

The Professional Qualifications Assessment Act is an important element of the Recognition Act. The Professional Qualifications Assessment Act exists in Germany at federal level and in the 16 federal states. It is always Article 1 of the Recognition Act for the Recognition of Professional qualifications. It regulates the recognition procedure.


Professional register

German: Berufsverzeichnis
Also: Berufsregister, Berufsliste, Verzeichnis

A list of individuals permitted to work in a profession in a specific region. For example: the Register of Craftsmen or Directory of Architects. A professional register is generally maintained by the relevant Chamber.

A professional register is therefore important for recognition of a foreign professional qualification: In some regulated professions an individual may only work if they are entered into the relevant professional register. This may also apply to the use of the designation of occupation. Entry into the professional register does not take place until after successful recognition.


Profi-Filter

German: Profi-Filter

The Profi-Filter is a specific tool on the website of www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de. The Profi-Filter provides particular search functions for these individuals:

  • Experts
  • Specialist advisers

This enables these individuals to search specifically for important information. For example:

  • Competent authorities
  • Professions subject to statutory regulation
  • Professions subject to specific regulations
  • Occupation groups (based on the standardized national classification of occupations 2010 (KLDB 2010) of the Federal Employment Agency and the Federal Statistical Office.

Many people want use the website to find out about recognition of their professional qualification. For these individuals, the Recognition Finder is better suited for this purpose.

Profi-Filter


Qualification certificate

German: Befähigungsnachweis
Also: Sachkundenachweis

The following is important for some independent activities and trades and businesses (German: “Gewerbe”): The individual must have specialist knowledge or the competency in specific activities. The individual must provide written evidence of their specialist knowledge or competency. Only then will the individual receive authorisation for the practice of specific activities in the profession. The document providing this authorisation is called a qualification certificate or certificate of competence.

There is specific theoretical and practical training for a qualification certificate. There is often also an examination (for example an expert knowledge examination). Following this the individual receives the qualification certificate or the certificate of competence as an official document. For some activities, the individual must also provide evidence that they are personally or medically suitable This applies for example to the following activities:

  • Security guard
  • Insurance broker
  • Driving instructor

An individual may also have acquired specialist knowledge in their profession. In this case vocational education and training is just as valid as a qualification certificate or certificate of competence. This is also the case for a foreign professional qualification. The competent authority checks whether the foreign professional qualification can be recognised for a qualification certificate or certificate of competence.


Recognition

German: Anerkennung
Also: Anerkennung der Berufsqualifikation, Gleichwertigkeitsfeststellung, Gleichwertigkeit

In this case recognition means that a foreign professional qualification is legally equivalent to a German professional qualification. This means that the foreign professional qualification is recognised in Germany. The equivalence is valid for a specific German reference occupation.

There are different types of recognition:

Full recognition
A foreign professional qualification is legally equivalent to the German reference occupation.

Partial recognition
A foreign professional qualification is only partially equivalent to the German reference occupation. The reason for this is that there are substantial differences between the foreign professional qualification and the German professional qualification.

In this case, there are two options in order to still achieve full recognition:

No recognition
A foreign professional qualification is not equivalent to the German reference occupation. The reason for this is that the differences between the foreign professional qualification and the German reference occupation are too great.

Recognition must be requested by means of an application for recognition. This then begins the recognition procedure.


Recognition Act

German: Anerkennungsgesetz

The Recognition Act regulates the recognition of foreign professional qualifications. The Recognition Act states that individuals with a foreign professional qualification in Germany have the right to a recognition procedure.

The official name of the act is: Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act
There is the Recognition Act of the Federal Government and the Recognition Acts of the 16 Federal States. Important parts of the Recognition Act are the Law for the Amendment of the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act (BQFG) and the adaptations to special laws and regulations relating to occupations.


Recognition check

German: Anerkennungs-Check

The recognition check is an online test at www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de. Individuals from Germany and from abroad may complete this test. This enables an individual to quickly check whether recognition of their foreign professional qualification is possible in Germany. The recognition check asks:  Does the individual have a completed professional qualification? This is because a completed professional qualification is an essential requirement for submitting an application for recognition.

Recognition check



Recognition notice

German: Anerkennungsbescheid
Also: Gleichwertigkeitsbescheid, Bescheid über Gleichwertigkeit, Bescheid zur Gleichwertigkeitsfeststellung, Anerkennungsurkunde

A recognition notice is a document from the competent authority relating to an application for recognition. It contains the result of the recognition procedure. A recognition notice is legally binding.

In the case of full recognition, authorisation to practice a professional activity may be combined with the recognition notice, for example:


Recognition procedure

German: Anerkennungsverfahren
Also: Gleichwertigkeitsfeststellungsverfahren, Gleichwertigkeitsfeststellung, Gleichwertigkeitsprüfung

The competent authority in Germany checks the professional qualification in the recognition procedure. The competent authority checks whether the foreign professional qualification is equivalent to the German reference occupation.

For the recognition procedure, the competent authority requires certificates and other documents relating to the content and duration of the professional qualification. Certificates and other documents relating to professional experience are also important.




Register of Craftsmen

German: Handwerksrolle

List kept by Chambers of Crafts and Trades of the owners of businesses in the crafts or trades which require a license.

In Germany, individuals in the crafts and trades sector are able to start a business. In the crafts or trades which require a license they must have specific advanced vocational education and training qualification to do this. This training is called Master craftsman training. Master craftsmen must be entered in the Register of Craftsmen. They then receive the craftsman's card.

Individuals with foreign advanced vocational education and training as a master craftsperson in the crafts and trades sector are able to submit an application for recognition for this professional qualification. The recognition allows them also to be entered in the Register of Craftsmen. However, this does not confer the title of master craftsperson!


Registration of a trade or business

German: Gewerbeanmeldung

In Germany, a trade or business must be registered with the trade office. The official certification for a trade or business is referred to as: Trading licence.


Regulated professions

German: reglementierte Berufe

There are statutory provisions relating to regulated professions. These professions include for example:

  • Medical professions
  • Teachers

Individuals in a regulated profession need recognition of their foreign professional qualification. They are then permitted to work in Germany in this profession. The Recognition Finder helps when searching for regulated professions.

Recognition Finder


Residence permit

German: Aufenthaltstitel

Individuals from third countries require state authorisation if they are seeking to enter Germany and wish to stay here. This authorisation is called a residence permit

There are 3 temporary residence permits:

There are 2 permanent residence permits:

In Germany applications for a residence permit are submitted to the Immigration Office. When abroad, applications for a residence permit are submitted to the German diplomatic mission.
Further information is available from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

Information relating to entry is available here.

Information relating to right of residence is available here.

EU and the EEA citizens do not require a residence permit. Swiss citizens must register their residency in Germany.

Information is available here for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens.


Shortage professions

German: Engpassberufe
Also: Mangelberufe

For specific professions in Germany there are not enough employees. This means that there are not enough individuals being trained in these professions. These professions are known as shortage professions.

Shortage professions primarily include technical professions and some healthcare and nursing professions. Shortage professions are entered in the positive list.


Single Point of Contact

German: Einheitlicher Ansprechpartner (EA)

The Single Point of Contact is an electronic service from the administrative bodies. The service provides information and support with authority procedures. This also includes the recognition procedure and those procedures required for independent cross-border service provision. In Germany, there is a central Single Point of Contact in each federal state. Individuals from an EU country are able to submit their documents for their recognition procedure using the relevant online portal. The Single Point of Contact forwards these documents to the competent authority.

Point of Single Contact



Skills analysis

German: Qualifikationsanalyse

A skills analysis is a particular form of testing a professional qualification. This test is carried out under these conditions:

Vocational knowledge and skills are checked in a skills analysis.
For example:

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

The individual must not be at fault themselves for the loss of their documents. The competent authority may require the individual to take an oath on this. The skills analysis is in the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act and in the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code.


State-recognised (designation)

German: staatlich anerkannt (Bezeichnung)
Also: staatliche Anerkennung

In Germany, there are professions with additional qualification designations. These might be, for example, “state-recognised” or “state-certified”. These qualification designations form part of the designation of a vocational qualification or of specific advanced vocational training, For example, “State-recognised social education worker” or “State-certified business specialist”. These designations are legally protected. Only persons who have achieved this qualification may refer to themselves as such.

The designation “state-recognised” does not indicate recognition of a foreign professional qualification!


Substantial differences

German: wesentliche Unterschiede

In the recognition procedure the competent authority checks whether there are substantial differences between a foreign professional qualification and the German reference occupation. For example in terms of:

  • Duration of training
  • Knowledge and competencies delivered
  • Skills learned

For those individuals who do not receive full recognition, these differences are specified in the recognition notice. They are called substantial differences.


Third country

German: Drittstaat

A description of a country which does not belong to one of the following:

  • European Union (EU)
  • European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Switzerland

see EU/EEA/Switzerland


Trade and technical school

German: Fachschule

Trade and technical school is a type of school providing vocational education. Here, an individual with completed vocational education and training and with professional experience can undertake continuing vocational education and training. This continuing VET can be completed on a full or part-time basis. Trade and technical schools also offer the following continuing vocational education and training:

  • Additional or development training courses
  • Continuing updating education and training measures

Trade and technical schools are regulated by the federal states.


Trade or business

German: Gewerbe

A trade or business refers to a commercial activity operated independently and at one's own risk. For example: Running a restaurant, a shop or a craft trade business. An individual with a trade or business does not have an employer.

A trade or business must be registered. The trade or business must be registered before it commences.

Freedom of trade exists in Germany. Each individual is permitted to practise a trade or run a business. For some trades or businesses however, a specific authorisation, a licence or a certificate of competence is required in order to be permitted to carry it out independently. In certain cases the trade or business is also specifically monitored. These trades or businesses are also referred to as regulated trades or businesses.

These include, for example:

  • Security services
  • Insurance broker
  • Care services

There are other regulations for such trades and business in the craft trades.

Many trades and businesses are governed by the Trade Regulation Act. It is important to understand the regulations before commencing trade or starting a business. Information regarding this is available from the trade office (Gewerbeamt) and the tax authority (Finanzamt). Many trades or businesses also require recognition of a foreign professional qualification.

There are independent activities which are not classified as trades or business. These include the so-called liberal professions. For example:

  • Lawyer
  • Artist
  • Scientist

Professions in the sectors of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries are also not trades or businesses. Other regulations apply to these professions.

Trade Regulation Act


Trades and crafts sector

German: Handwerk

In the trades and crafts sector, individuals primarily engage in professions involving craft trade activities. There are around 130 craft trades. These include, for example:

  • Baker
  • Hairdresser
  • Watchmaker
  • Electrical engineer
  • Photographer

Training in the crafts and trades sector is completed with a journeyman examination after 3 to 3 1/2 years. Following this, there is the opportunity to complete advanced vocational training as a master craftsperson.

Individuals with a craft trade are able to work independently. This means that they are permitted to run their own craft trade business.

In a craft or trade which requires a license you must be a master craftsman. This is also the case with an equivalent foreign professional qualification (recognition procedure). You must also have been entered in the Register of Craftsman beforehand. The Crafts and Trades Regulation Code regulates these requirements.

You can also run your own craft trade business in trades or crafts which do not require a licence and in those similar to the skilled crafts and trades. For this you must have previously been entered in a register or you must register a trade or business with the trade office. Recognition is not required in this case.

The crafts and trades requiring a license and those similar to the skilled crafts and trades are specified in the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code in Appendix B.

Both apply to individuals with a foreign professional qualification.

Crafts and Trades Regulation Code

Appendix B of the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code



Training occupation

German: Ausbildungsberuf

An occupation for which training is provided via regulated vocational education and training.
There are 2 types of training occupations

  • dual training occupations
  • school-based training occupations


Translators, publicly appointed or sworn

German: Übersetzerin oder Übersetzer
Also: öffentlich bestellte Übersetzerin oder öffentlich bestellter Übersetzer, beeidigte Übersetzerin oder beeidigter Übersetzer

Translators translate one language into another. For example: English into German.

Official translations must be translated by certain types of translators. These translators are:

  • publicly appointed
  • sworn
  • court appointed
  • authorised
  • witnessed
  • certified

In most cases an application for recognition includes documents which need to be translated. There are competent authorities which will not accept any translations from a translator who has been publicly appointed abroad. The competent authority should therefore be asked in advance: Can I have my documents translated in my country of origin?

List of publicly appointed or sworn translators in Germany


Using the designation of occupation

German: Berufsbezeichnung
Also: Berufsbezeichnung führen

The designation of occupation is the name of a profession. Some designations of occupation may only be used with state authorisation for use of the designation of occupation.

These professions include for example:

  • Engineer
  • Physiotherapist
  • and other professions in the healthcare sector.


Vocational education and training

German: Berufsausbildung

Vocational education and training is training in a specific regulated profession. In vocational education and training, trainees learn all of the vocational knowledge and skills required.

There are 2 types of vocational education and training:

  • Dual vocational education and training
  • School-based vocational education and training

In each case the vocational education and training is governed by a training and examination regulation.

Dual vocational education and training takes place in a training company and in vocational school. Dual training occupations include for example:

  • Vehicle mechatronics technician
  • Management assistant for retail services
  • Carpenter

The school-based vocational education and training takes place in a full-time vocational school or an alternative type of vocational school. School-based training occupations exist in the areas of technology, health and nursery education. Such occupations include, for example:

  • Registered general nurse
  • Nursery teacher
  • State-certified IT technical engineer

Vocational education and training in Germany takes 2 to 3.5 years. This depends on the occupation but also on the school leaving certificate. The duration of training is often shorter in the case of the upper secondary school-leaving certificate.



Vocational education and training

German: Berufsausbildung

Vocational education and training is training in a specific regulated profession. In vocational education and training, trainees learn all of the vocational knowledge and skills required.

There are 2 types of vocational education and training:

  • Dual vocational education and training
  • School-based vocational education and training

In each case the vocational education and training is governed by a training and examination regulation.

Dual vocational education and training takes place in a training company and in vocational school. Dual training occupations include for example:

  • Vehicle mechatronics technician
  • Management assistant for retail services
  • Carpenter

The school-based vocational education and training takes place in a full-time vocational school or an alternative type of vocational school. School-based training occupations exist in the areas of technology, health and nursery education. Such occupations include, for example:

  • Registered general nurse
  • Nursery teacher
  • State-certified IT technical engineer

Vocational education and training in Germany takes 2 to 3.5 years. This depends on the occupation but also on the school leaving certificate. The duration of training is often shorter in the case of the upper secondary school-leaving certificate.



Vocational qualification

German: Berufsabschluss

An individual has a vocational qualification if they have completed vocational education and training and have successfully passed a state or state-recognised final examination. Evidence of the vocational qualification is provided by the certificate.


Vocational school

German: Vocational school

Vocational school is a type of school providing vocational education. A vocational school is where the school-based element of dual vocational education and training occurs.


Work permit

German: Arbeitserlaubnis

“Work permit” is not an official term and there is no separate document for this. The official term is permission to commence gainful employment. This permission is granted by the Immigration Office by means of a note in the residence permit. Individuals from third countries require this permission in order to be allowed to work in Germany. This means that individuals from third countries are only permitted to work in Germany if they have a note relating to this in the residence permit.

EU and the EEA citizens require no residence permit to be able to work in Germany. Swiss citizens require only the Swiss residency permit.

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