Veterinary surgeon (m/f)

Veterinary surgeon (m/f)

This section contains specific information on procedures and on the relevant legal basis for this occupational group.

› Open all

Professional Recognition


If you wish to work as a veterinary surgeon in Germany without any restrictions, you need a state licence, a so-called Approbation.

You can apply for an Approbation even if you have completed your training abroad. The competent authorities will assess the equivalence of your qualifications with the corresponding German qualifications in a licensing procedure. You can only be granted an Approbation if your training is recognized as equivalent.

If you wish to work as a veterinary surgeon in Germany for a limited period of time only, you may apply for a temporary authorisation to practise. This is usually issued for a period of two years and can only be extended in particular individual cases. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have completed training as a veterinary surgeon before such a temporary authorisation to practise is issued. The temporary authorisation to practise does not constitute recognition of professional qualifications obtained abroad. Holders of a temporary authorisation to practise may, however, also apply for a licence to practise as a veterinary surgeon in Germany. Your relevant competent authority will be able to provide further information.

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

A temporary authorisation to practise can only be issued in exceptional cases if you have acquired your qualification in a member state of the European Union, in a country within the European Economic Area or in Switzerland. Holders of such qualifications should generally be issued with a licence to practise as a veterinary surgeon. The relevant competent authority will inform you of the specific requirements which apply in the federal state of your choice.

Information on the procedure


  • You may apply for an Approbation as a veterinary surgeon in Germany if you have qualified in veterinary medicine.
  • The competent authorities decide on whether to recognize the qualifications that you have gained abroad in the Approbation procedure.
  • You may apply for an Approbation independent of your citizenship, the origin of your qualifications and your 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.
  • Qualifications obtained prior to accession to the European Union of the state in which training took place will be automatically recognised if you submit certification from the relevant  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 authorities assess 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. Substantial differences in qualifications can be offset by relevant professional experience.


  • You will be issued with a licence to practise as a veterinary surgeon if the equivalence of your qualification is determined and if the other prerequisites for the issuing of a licence are fulfilled. These include sufficient knowledge of the German language.
  • Should there be substantial differences between your qualifications and the corresponding German qualifications, you have the opportunity to take a test to prove the equivalence of your knowledge.
  • You will be granted an Approbation if you pass this test.

Further information can be obtained from the competent authorities.


  • If a previous procedure to grant or extend a work permit has already determined the equivalence of your professional qualifications, these findings are also to be taken into account when applying for an Approbation.
  • You do not have to repeat a test which you have already passed. Applicants who have failed a test in a previous procedure to grant a permit to work as a veterinary surgeon may nevertheless apply for an Approbation. Applicants may retake the examination.


  • Proof of identity (identity card or passport)
  • Brief CV
  • Certified copy of qualifications and, if appropriate, further certificates of competence.
  • Tabular overview of training courses and if appropriate of prior work experience
  • Certificates regarding relevant professional experience
  • Certificate stating entitlement to work as a veterinary surgeon in your country of origin and documents proving that you intend to practice the profession in Germany (does not apply to qualifications gained in the EU/EEA/Switzerland).
  • Medical certificate confirming fitness to practice the profession (issued within the last month)
  • Official certificate of good conduct (issued within the last month)
  • 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 competent authorities will provide details.

Ethnic German resettler
If you are an ethnic German resettler (Spätaussiedler) on the legal basis of the Federal Expellees Act, ask the competent authorities about any peculiarities in the procedure which may affect you.

Legal Basis

Further information

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.