Registered general nurse (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


If you want to work as a registered general nurse in Germany without any restrictions, you need a state licence. This licence acknowledges you as a registered general nurse and entitles you to practice the profession.

You may also apply for a state licence if you have foreign qualifications. The competent authorities review your qualifications for equivalence with a corresponding German qualification. A licence can only be issued if equivalence of qualification has been determined.

Citizens of the European Union or the European Economic Area who only seek to work in Germany on a temporary or occasional basis do not require a state licence. However, you do have to report your employment to the competent authorities. Contact the competent authorities for more information.

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

Information on the procedure


  • You can apply for a state licence if you have a corresponding vocational qualification.
  • The competent authorities decide on whether to recognize the qualifications that you have gained abroad in the procedure to issue a permit.
  • Applications can be made independent of citizenship, place of training, and residence status.
  • As a rule, the procedure is subject to a fee. The competent authorities can provide information on the costs involved.


Procedure for qualifications gained in the EU/EEA/Switzerland

  • A procedure of automatic recognition in accordance with EU Directive 2005/36/EC will normally apply. Your qualification will be recognised without an individual equivalence assessment if the qualification certificate was issued after the EU accession of the state in which training took place.
  • Qualifications obtained prior to this cut-off date will be automatically recognised if the applicant submits certification from the relevant health authorities in the country in which training was completed that the training completed prior to accession is in compliance with the minimum standards set out in EU Directive 2005/36/EC.

Procedure for qualifications from non-EU/EEA states and for EU qualifications which are not automatically recognised

  • The competent authority assesses whether the qualifications which you have gained abroad are equivalent to the corresponding German qualifications.
  • Your qualifications are recognized as equivalent if there are no substantial differences between your foreign qualifications and the corresponding German qualifications.
  • In addition to training, the competent authorities also consider the professional experience that you have gained at home or abroad. Significant differences in qualifications can be offset by relevant professional experience.


  • You will be granted a licence if the authorities establish the equivalence of your qualifications and you satisfy the other requirements (personal integrity, fitness, adequate command of German).
  • Should there be substantial differences between your qualifications and the corresponding German qualifications, you will have the opportunity to undergo an adaptation period (examination or additional training) to prove the equivalence of your knowledge.
    Qualifications gained in EU/EEA/Switzerland
    You can choose whether to take an examination or to take part in a compensation measure that lasts up to three years. The examination focuses on the deficits determined in the recognition procedure. The licence is granted upon completion of the adaptation period or passing the examination.
    Qualifications from non-EU/EEA states
    You can choose whether to take an examination or to take part in a compensation measure that lasts up to three years. The examination tests for knowledge of the substance of the state final examination. The adaptation period concludes with a final examination to prove knowledge of course content. The licence is granted upon passing the examination and successful completion of the adaptation period.


  • CV in tabular form
  • Copy of qualifications and, if necessary, further certificates of competence
  • Certificates regarding relevant professional experience
  • Medical certificate confirming fitness to practice the profession
  • Statement of whether criminal proceedings are pending

Should these documents not be in German, they must be accompanied by certified translations. You may present simple copies of your documents in cases where certified copies are not specifically required.

The regulatory authorities will provide details.

Ethnic German resettler
Ask the regulatory authorities about any peculiarities in the procedure if you are an ethnic German resettler (Spätaussiedler) on the basis of Section 10 Federal Expellees Act.

Legal Basis