An offer from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

What is professional recognition?

You have completed professional or vocational training abroad and wish to work in Germany? Recognition of your foreign professional or vocational qualification is necessary in order to work in certain occupations.

Professional recognition means:

A foreign professional qualification is legally equivalent to a German professional qualification. You need to complete the recognition procedure for professional recognition. At the end you receive an official notice. This states whether your professional qualification is recognised in Germany.

The recognition is always based on a specific German occupation, the so-called reference occupation.

You have the right to a recognition procedure in Germany. The basis for this is the Federal Recognition Act and the laws in the federal states. You can also apply for recognition from abroad.


The requirements for a recognition procedure are:

  • You wish to work in Germany
  • You have achieved a state or state-recognised foreign professional qualification.
  • You can provide a final certificate as evidence of your professional qualification.

The recognition procedure is carried out by the so-called competent authority. The competent authority compares your professional qualification with the German professional qualification. When doing so, it takes into account your professional experience and other qualifications.

Are you not able to provide a final certificate?

You may still apply for recognition. You can then provide evidence of your professional qualification by means, for example, of a work sample. Find out more here: “How do I get recognition”.


Use the guidance services!

We recommend that you use the guidance services before you apply for recognition. A counselling specialist will help to ensure your documents are as well prepared as possible.

You can also make use of counselling if your application for recognition has been rejected. You can find out, for example, whether you might be able to complete training. In many cases you might still be able to receive full recognition by doing this.

Answers to the following questions are provided here.

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Anerkennung in Deutschland, 2023

Recognition of foreign professional or vocational qualifications in Germany

The current flyer describes important stages on the way to recognition and lists free sources of information and advice. Now available in 12 languages for viewing and ordering.

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When do I need recognition of my professional qualification?

You will need formal recognition of your foreign professional qualification if you wish to work in a regulated profession in Germany. In the case of non-regulated professions, recognition may be necessary in some circumstances for entry to Germany from a third country.

A recognition procedure or an assessment of your higher education qualification may also bring benefits for your future in Germany.

Advantages of recognition

Regulated occupations

Recognition is essential for regulated professions. For these professions you must have a specific professional qualification and potentially meet further requirements. There is a legal regulation governing this. This applies primarily to professions in the health, safety and social services sectors. Regulated professions include medical practitioners and teachers. A protected job title such as engineer is also a form of regulation.

Exception: If you are legally resident in another EU country, you may be permitted in some instances to work even without recognition in Germany. However, you must report this beforehand to the competent authority.

Non-regulated occupations

You can work without recognition in a non-regulated profession. Non-regulated professions are not legally protected. These include, for example, training occupations such as motor vehicle mechatronics technician or office manager.

Do you come from a third country?

Various options are open to you if you wish to come to Germany from a third country in order to work. Recognition of your foreign professional or vocational qualification may be helpful. You must also meet further requirements for entry. Find out more about this here: Immigration

Are you already living in Germany?

You will require recognition if you would like to work in a regulated profession. But recognition may also be useful in other professions, such as when submitting applications or negotiating a salary.

Advantages of recognition


What does the recognition cost?


The recognition procedure can cost up to €600, and in individual cases more. In addition, there are often costs for translations, certifications, compensation measures and refresher training. There may also be costs of travel if you need to collect your documents in person from abroad.

You may be able to receive financial assistance. The following assistance options are available:

  • Assistance from the Federal Employment Agency
  • Assistance via the Federal Government recognition grant.
  • Assistance in the federal state of Hamburg