An offer from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Glossary - T

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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

For entry to Germany, skilled workers from third countries need a visa.


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 company

German:  Ausbildungsbetrieb

Businesses and companies in which trainees are able to complete dual vocational education and training. The practical element of vocational education and training takes place in the training company.

Training occupation

German:  Ausbildungsberuf

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

Translator (publicly appointed/authorized)

German: Übersetzerin oder Übersetzer (öffentlich bestellt/ermächtigt)
ermächtigte Übersetzerin/ ermächtigter Übersetzer
vereidigte Übersetzerin/vereidigter Übersetzer
beeidigte Übersetzerin/beeidigter Übersetzer

Translators translate one language into another. Sometimes a translation of official documents requires confirmation of the accuracy of the translation. If so, an official attestation clause and signature are then added to the document. Only authorized translators are permitted to issue this confirmation in Germany. They have been authorised by a court to do this. In Germany translators have a range of different titles They can be

  • publicly appointed ("öffentlich bestellt")
  • court appointed ("gerichtlich bestellt")
  • (generally) authorized ("(allgemein) ermächtigt")
  • (generally) sworn) ("(allgemein) vereidigt/beeidigt")

In most cases an application for recognition includes documents which need to be translated. A list of translators is available online in the federal state administration of justice department's database of interpreters and translators.

Sometimes competent authorities do not allow translations from a translator who has been publicly appointed abroad. It is therefore important to ask the competent authority about this before a translation: Can I have my documents translated in my country of origin?
The German embassies in other countries provide information about the contact details of publicly appointed or authorized translators abroad.

Database of interpreters and translators

German embassies in other countries