Master craftsman (m/f)

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

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Professional Recognition


Registration with the Register of Crafts and Trades is mandatory if you wish to become self-employed in a craft trades occupation in which an official licence is required. These occupations are regulated occupations in Germany. A list of all craft trade occupations in which a licence is required is available here.

You may have qualifications gained abroad assessed for equivalence with a German qualification. If such qualifications are deemed to be equivalent, the holder is registered with the Register of Crafts and Trades. A master craftsman qualification is, however, not granted.

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

Information on the procedure


You may apply for a procedure to investigate the equivalence of your vocational qualification if:

  • you are able to show that you have completed a vocational qualification which was not obtained in Germany and
  • you wish to work in Germany.

You may submit an application irrespective of your nationality or residence status.

For interested parties abroad
Prior to initiating a recognition procedure, you should, however, clarify whether you are entitled to migrate to Germany in order to work here. You can use the Migration Check service to verify your status. Further information on starting work in Germany is available here.


  • Your foreign vocational qualification is compared with a German master craftsman qualification.
  • The competent authority examines whether there are substantial differences between your foreign vocational qualification and the German master craftsman qualification. 
  • As well as looking at your vocational qualification, it will also consider the occupational practice you have gained in Germany or abroad. 


  • Should the outcome be positive, you will receive a certificate of equivalence which entitles you to be registered with the Register of Crafts and Trades. You will enjoy the same rights as holders of the relevant German reference qualification. A master craftsman qualification (“Meisterbrief”) is, however, not granted. 
  • If there are substantial differences between your qualification and the German reference qualification, you will have the opportunity to achieve equivalence by taking part in a compensatory measure (test or adaptation period). This will be stipulated by the Chamber of Crafts and Trades in the assessment notice. 


  • Tabular summary in German of the training courses you have completed including previous occupational activity if relevant 
  • Proof of identity (identity card or passport) 
  • Proof of vocational qualification 
  • Proof of your relevant occupational experience 
  • Evidence of other qualifications (e.g. continuing vocational training courses) 
  • A declaration that you have not previously submitted an application for assessment of equivalence 
  • Evidence of intention to work in Germany (does not apply to nationals of the EU/EEA/Switzerland and to persons resident in the EU/EEA/Switzerland) 

The competent authority may require certified copies of documents or the original documents themselves. Simple copies of your documents may also suffice in some cases. Ask your competent authority.

You should submit German translations of your documents. Translations must be made by interpreters or translators who are publicly authorised or certified in Germany or abroad. The competent authority may also decide that no translations are needed. Ask your competent authority.


  • The procedure is subject to a charge. The relevant Chamber of Crafts and Trades will provide information regarding costs. 
  • Financial support for master craftsman training, which can be completed on a full-time or in-service basis, may be available via the so-called Upgrading Training Assistance Act (“Meister-BAföG”). 

Ethnic German resettler
If you are an “ethnic German resettler” (an immigrant of German descent from the successor states of the former Soviet Union and other Eastern European states), please ask your competent authority about any particular provisions which may apply to the procedure (under § 10 of the Federal Expellees Act).

Legal basis

Note: Citizens of the EU, EEA or Switzerland may elect to initiate an equivalence procedure according to the previous regulations under § 9 of the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code (HwO) in conjunction with the EU/EEA Crafts and Trade Code. Alternatively, they can seek recognition under the new procedure as defined pursuant to § 50b of the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code. Your local Chamber of Crafts and Trades will be able to provide more information.

Annex A to the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code

List of trades where a licence and possession of a master craftsman qualification is required
(Source: Federal Law Gazette, BGBl., I 2003, 2945)

  1. Bricklayer and concretor
  2. Stove and air heating mechanic
  3. Carpenter
  4. Roofer
  5. Road builder
  6. Thermal and acoustic insulation fitter
  7. Well sinker
  8. Stonemason
  9. Plasterer
  10. Painter and lacquerer
  11. Scaffolder
  12. Chimney sweep
  13. Metal worker
  14. Surgical instrument maker
  15. Coachbuilder
  16. Precision engineer
  17. Motorbike and bicycle mechanic
  18. Refrigeration mechanic
  19. Communication technician
  20. Automotive mechatronics technician
  21. Mechanic for agricultural and construction machinery
  22. Gunsmith
  23. Plumber
  24. Installer and heating fitter
  25. Electrical technician
  26. Electrical machine engineer
  27. Joiner
  28. Boat builder
  29. Rope maker
  30. Baker
  31. Pastry cook
  32. Butcher
  33. Dispensing optician
  34. Hearing aid acoustician
  35. Orthopaedic technician
  36. Orthopaedic shoemaker
  37. Dental technician
  38. Hairdresser
  39. Glazier
  40. Glass blower and glass apparatus maker
  41. Mechanic for tyres and vulcanisation