An offer from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Recog­ni­tion pro­ce­dure

A for­eign pro­fes­sion­al qual­i­fi­ca­tion can be recog­nised in Ger­many if it is equiv­a­lent to a Ger­man pro­fes­sion­al qual­i­fi­ca­tion. This is as­sessed in the recog­ni­tion pro­ce­dure.

What is assessed in the recognition procedure?

In the recognition procedure, the competent authority assesses the equivalence of the foreign professional qualification. To do so, it is compared with the professional qualification of a German reference occupation. Specific documents stating the content and duration of the training are necessary for this equivalence assessment. Professional experience and other knowledge and skills are taken into account.

The foreign professional qualification is recognised as equivalent if there are no substantial differences when compared to the German professional qualification. For the regulated professions further criteria are assessed which, in addition to recognition of the professional qualification, are necessary for the authorisation to practice. This includes, for example, personal aptitude or knowledge of German.

There is a separate procedure for foreign higher education qualifications in non-regulated professions: the Statement of Comparability.


What are the prerequisites for the recognition procedure?

The legal basis for the recognition procedure is the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act and the Federal Government’s specialist occupational legislation as well as the relevant legislation of the federal states. Interested parties can apply for recognition if they meet the following requirements:

  • You wish to work in Germany.
  • You have gained a state recognised professional qualification abroad.
  • You can provide a final certificate as evidence of your professional qualification.

Residence in Germany and German citizenship are not a prerequisite for the recognition procedure.

Steps on the path to recognition

Determining reference occupation

Selecting the appropriate reference occupation is often difficult. The counselling centres and the Recognition Finder can help with this. This provides information on the occupations and the procedure. The competent authority and a counselling centre can also be found there.


Making use of counselling

Those wishing to apply for recognition should seek counselling in advance. Counselling will provide all the key information about the recognition procedure. Here, applicants can find out in advance whether financial support is possible.



The competent authority confirms receipt of the application and informs you whether further documents need to be submitted. The recognition procedure normally takes three to four months.


Processing the application

The competent authority confirms receipt of the application and informs you whether further documents need to be submitted. The recognition procedure normally takes three to four months.


Receiving notice

The competent authority informs you of the result of the recognition procedure in a notice. What if the result says “no” or “partial” recognition? In this case, depending on the profession, a compensation measure or refresher training may be possible.


What does the Recognition procedure process involve?

You must apply for recognition to the Competent authority. This can also be done from abroad. The authority or institution responsible is determined by the profession and the work location. The competent authority can be found in the Recognition Finder at “Recognition in Germany”. The Profi-Filter provides experts with a quick overview of occupations, competent authorities and regulations.

Specific documents are necessary for the Recognition procedure. The page “Documents needed for the application ” offers a general overview. The Recognition Finder shows in detail which documents are needed. If documents are missing or incomplete, then under certain circumstances a Compensation measure or Skills analysis may be undertaken. The recognition procedure normally takes three to four months. Following this, the competent authority communicates the result of the procedure in a Notice.


What are the possible results of the Recognition procedure?

The Recognition procedure can produce the following results:


The Professional qualification is recognised if it is equivalent to the German professional qualification. With recognition applicants receive the same professional rights as persons with a German professional qualification.

If Substantial differences are identified in the Equivalence assessment and if these remain despite Professional experience and other knowledge and skills, then it depends on the type of profession:

In the case of Non-regulated professions, the professional qualification is partially recognised if parts of the training are equivalent and others are not. Notification of the partial recognition is provided in a Notice which describes the substantial differences when compared with the German Reference occupation. In this case applicants are generally able to complete Refresher training in order to compensate for the substantial differences. They are then able to submit a Follow-up application in order to receive full recognition of their professional qualification.

In the case of Regulated professions, the Competent authority specifies a Compensation measure which can be used to compensate for the substantial differences. This might be an Adaptation period, an Aptitude test or a Knowledge test. If the applicants successfully complete the compensation measure, the equivalence of the professional qualification is established. The further criteria for authorisation to practice are then assessed.

No recognition

The foreign professional qualification is not recognised if substantial differences exist compared to the German reference occupation and if these cannot be compensated for.


EU and third countries

Simplified regulations apply in the recognition procedure for specific professional qualifications from the EU/EEA/Switzerland. The so-called Automatic recognition applies to the following professions listed in the annex of the EU Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications: doctor, specialised doctor, dental practitioner, specialised dental practitioner, veterinary surgeon, specialised veterinary surgeon, general care nurse, midwife, architect. The European Professional Card (EPC) also simplifies the recognition procedure for certain professional qualifications within the EU and EEA.

One particular option is provided by the Skilled Immigration Act: Under specific conditions, companies are able to apply for an Accelerated procedure for the residence of Skilled workers from third countries. The purpose of this is to shorten the duration of the recognition procedure to two months.


Costs and counselling

The recognition procedure can cost up to €600, and in individual cases more. In addition, there are often costs for translations, certifications, compensation measures and refresher training. Financial support is available for applicants, for example from the Federal Employment Agency, the federal government's recognition grant or through the support programmes in the federal states. A wide range of counselling is available for the recognition procedure. The ‘Counselling’ page provides a detailed summary.