Recognition Procedure

Woman with dossiers
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If you have gained professional or vocational qualifications abroad and would like to work in Germany, you have the option of having your foreign qualification recognised and in some cases will need to do so. You will find all the information relevant to the recognition procedure here.

For interested parties abroad
Please clarify whether you are entitled to migrate to Germany and work here before you initiate a recognition procedure from abroad. You can use the Migration Check service to verify your status. Further information on starting work in Germany is available here.

In the recognition procedure, the relevant competent authority will check whether your foreign professional or vocational qualification is equivalent to a German qualification. The equivalence check takes place on the basis of stipulated formal criteria such as content and duration of training. Any relevant occupational experience you may have is also taken into account.

Preconditions for a recognition procedure

You must be able to show that you have completed a professional or vocational qualification which was not obtained in Germany. You must also intend to work in Germany.

It is not necessary to hold German citizenship or a residence permit for Germany in order to obtain recognition of your professional or vocational qualification. There is also no need for you to be resident in Germany at the time when you apply. You may submit your application before entering the country from abroad. Prior to initiating a recognition procedure, you should, however, clarify whether you are entitled to migrate to Germany in order to work here.

Be great at your job – in Germany, too


Why is the recognition of foreign professional and vocational qualifications necessary? How does the recognition process work? This video clip lasts for around two and a half minutes and will explain everything in a concise and clear way.

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Be great at your job – in Germany, too

This is Yasmin.

Yasmin works as a doctor in Turkey and would like to train as a paediatrician in Germany.

And this is Carla.

Carla lives in Madrid and is a qualified office clerk.

Carla wants to move to Berlin soon to find an exciting job.

And here we have Samir.

Samir has been living in Germany for a few years.

Before he came to Germany he studied mechanical engineering in Cameroon and would now like to work as an engineer in Germany.

We welcome all three in Germany.

There are many employees who count on the competence of these skilled workers.

But beware!

In order for these three to achieve their goals, their professional qualifications may first have to be recognised.

That means an official document,

is required,

that states the German equivalent of their qualification.

This certificate of recognition is important, for example, for doctors or teachers.

This might not be necessary for other jobs, but it is certainly very helpful.

If German employers understand exactly what Carla learnt as an office clerk,

it may improve her chances when applying for a job.

The new Recognition Act is there to make sure that the recognition of foreign professional qualifications is simpler and quicker in the future.

But how does it work?

You can find out at, the official portal for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications.

With a few clicks the recognition finder guides you to a contact person in your recognition office

and tells you,for example, which documents you will have to submit for the application.

There is also information on working in Germany:

for instance, on visas and residency permits.

Let us accompany you in the recognition of your profession,

so you can also be great at your job in Germany, just like you were at home.

We look forward to helping you! -

- the federal government’s information portal for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications.

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Stage 1: Advice

Seek advice before submitting your application. A full range of information on advisory services is available here.  

Stage 2: Find the competent authority

Identify the competent authority to which you can submit an application for a recognition procedure. The Recognition Finder will  help you in this process.

Stage 3: Submit your application

Collate all the necessary documentation (identity document, curriculum vitae, evidence of training, evidence of occupational experience, other qualifications). Important: do not send any original documents!

Ask the responsible authority which documents you need to have translated. Submit your application on the form provided by the respective responible authority. Once all documents have been received in completed form, the responsible authority will examine whether there is any essential difference between your qualification and the German reference occupation.

Stage 4: Receive your assessment notice

The responsible authority will issue you with an official assessment notice stating the result of the investigation. Equivalence will be ascertained if there are no material differences between your professional or vocational qualification and the relevant German training. In the event that the responsible authority does not ascertain equivalence, it will, in the case of regulated occupations, state specific measures via which you will be able to compensate for the differences identified. In the case of non-regulated occupations, the assessment notice will present both your existing qualifications and the differences to the German reference qualification. This will assist both you and potential employers to evaluate your qualification correctly.

Do I have to compensate for the differences identified?

If differences are identified in regulated occupations, you will need successfully to complete the compensatory measures stipulated by the competent authority, i.e. an adaptation period or test, in order to work in the occupation in question. 

In non-regulated occupations, it may be useful to compensate for the missing skills listed in the assessment notice by participating in appropriate continuing training measures. Your employer or a company wishing to recruit you may be prepared to support your continuing training.

Initial guidance on available continuing training provision can be obtained by visiting the KURSNET Internet portal operated by the Federal Employment Agency.

Details regarding occupations

In non-regulated initial and advanced training occupations, the recognition procedure takes place in accordance with the Vocational Qualifications Assessment Law (BQFG)

In regulated occupations, the recognition procedure is based on the law governing the respective occupation.

There are also differences with regard to occupations which are regulated by the federal states:

Further information on the special recognition procedures in the federal states is available here.

The Internet portal (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.

Updated 06.10.2015