Perhaps you have completed training in an occupation such as office management clerk, mechanic or electrician? This section will provide you with specific information on how to obtain recognition in both these and similar occupations.
- Professional Recognition
DO I NEED TO HAVE MY VOCATIONAL QUALIFICATION RECOGNIZED?
Training occupations (PDF, 500 KB) within the so-called dual system (e.g. office management clerk, mechatronics fitter, mechanic, motor vehicles technician) are unregulated occupations in Germany. This means that you may exercise such occupations without a state licence and without obtaining recognition for your foreign vocational qualification.
You also, however, have the option of having your qualification assessed for equivalence with a German qualification.
This delivers benefits
- The notice of equivalence you will receive is an official and legally secure document which confirms equivalence of the foreign qualification with the relevant German reference qualification and confers the same legal rights as a German qualification.
- Regardless of whether you obtain full or partial equivalence for your vocational qualification, the procedure will make it easier for employers to evaluate your qualification. This will increase your chances on the jobs market.
- The assessment notice will assist you in making progress within your occupation.
Particular circumstance in the craft trades sector If you wish to become self-employed in a craft trade where a licence and possession of a master craftsman qualification is required, you will need a certificate of equivalence in order to be registered with the Register of Crafts and Trades. More information on master craftsmen qualifications in the craft trades sector is available here.
You can use the Recognition Finder to identify the correct competent authority for your occupation.
- The Foreign Skills Approval Competence Centre of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK FOSA) is responsible for commercial and technical private sector occupations (such as management assistant or industrial mechanic). The Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Hanover, Braunschwieg and Wuppertal remain separate competent authorities for their chamber districts.
- The regional chambers of crafts and trades are responsible for craft trade occupations (such as baker, hairdresser, painter).
- The agricultural chambers in the federal states are responsible for agricultural occupations.
- The respective professional chambers such as the German Medical Council, the German Dental Association, the German Law Society and the German Chamber of Tax Consultants are responsible for specialists in the liberal professions (for example medical assistants, qualified dental employees, legal clerks).
- Information on the procedure
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN 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.
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.
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
Application forms for a recognition procedure are available on the Internet sites of the competent authorities or by direct enquiry to the competent authorities themselves.
Ethnic German resettler
If you are an ethnic German resettler, you may choose between the new procedure in accordance with the Vocational Qualifications Assessment Law (BQFG) or the recognition procedure pursuant to the Federal Expellees Act (BVFG). More information is available here. Your competent authority will advise you on the details of the procedure.
WHAT FORM DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?
- Your foreign vocational qualification is compared with a German vocational qualification.
- The responsible authority examines whether there are substantial differences between your foreign vocational qualification and the German vocational qualification.
- As well as looking at your vocational qualification, it will also consider the occupational practice you have gained in Germany or abroad.
- The procedure is subject to a charge. The relevant responsible authority will provide information regarding costs.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE OUTCOMES?
- If your vocational qualification is recognised as possessing full equivalence, you will enjoy the same rights as holders of the relevant German reference qualification.
- The partial equivalence of your qualification will be certified if there are substantial differences between your qualification and the German reference qualification. The assessment notice issued by the responsible authority includes a detailed description of your existing vocational skills and of the knowledge which is missing. This is f assistance on the jobs market, facilitates targeted continuing training or second-chance qualification and enables a new application to be made at a later point if appropriate.
WHICH DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED?
- 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 responsible 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 responsible 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 responsible authority may also decide that no translations are needed. Ask your responsible authority.
HOW LONG DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?
- The responsible authority will begin the equivalence assessment procedure when all documents have been received in completed form.
- A decision will be made within 3 months of receipt of all documents. The decision deadline may be extended on a single occasion in difficult cases.
WHAT IS THE COST OF THE PROCEDURE?
- The procedure is subject to a charge. The fees for submitting an application range from €100 to €600. The actual amount of the fee payable is based on the amount of time and expense incurred. This may vary from occupation to occupation and from federal state to federal state.
- Costs of fees and other costs such as translation and certification of documents must in all cases be borne by the applicants themselves. In some circumstances and on an individual case basis, these fees may be paid by other bodies (e.g. German Social Security Code II and III ).
- If the required evidence cannot be submitted, it is possible for a skills analysis to be carried out (§ 14 BQFG) for the purpose of ascertaining occupational competences (e.g. via a specialist oral examination or work sample). In such cases, an applicant may incur further costs.
- The responsible authority may require fees to be paid in advance. Ask your responsible authority.
- Prior to submitting an application, unemployed applicants or applicants registered as job seekers should seek clarification from their local Employment Office or Job Centre whether the labour administration authorities will meet the costs of the procedure. The labour administration authorities will only provide such support if it is of the view that recognition of a foreign training qualification is necessary in order for the holder to be integrated into the labour market. Adaptation measures such as continuing training courses or examination preparations may also be funded in these cases.
- Legal Basis