Step 1: Find out who provides recognition. Start by finding out which authority or professional association you have to apply to. That depends first and foremost on the profession and where you (wish to) work. For example, for certain professions, the chambers of trade and industry (Industrie- und Handelskammern, IHK) or trade corporations (Handwerkskammern, HWK) are responsible. The quickest way to find out who you should contact is to use the “Recognition Finder” at anerkennung-in-deutschland.de (in German and English). Here you can also find out more about the application process and the procedures for getting professional qualifications recognised as well as getting advice on further topics. You can also obtain an initial consultation by phone from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. The hotline is available Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the following number: +49 30-1815-1111. The consultation will provide you with initial information – in German or English – concerning the recognition of foreign vocational qualifications in Germany.
Step 2: Advice. Talk with your local contact centre before applying. It will give you the necessary forms to fill in and help you to define which German reference profession applies to you. It will also tell you which documents you need for your application.
Step 3: Prepare your application documents. Ask your local contact centre which documents you need to have translated in advance. Fill in the application forms and send everything to your local contact centre. Your local contact centre will compare your foreign professional qualification with a German reference profession. At the same time, it will check whether there are any major differences between your professional qualification and the German one. Professional experience you have acquired can also be taken into account.
Step 4: Receive notification. Once your application has been processed, you will receive a notification from your local contact centre. This written notification will tell you whether your foreign professional qualification is equivalent or similar to the German qualification. If the authority has not found any equivalence, and if the application concerns a regulated profession, then you will be informed of concrete measures you can take to compensate for the differences. In the case of professions that are not regulated, the notification will state the qualifications that do exist, as well as the differences between your professional qualification and the German reference qualification; this will help you and potential employers to properly gauge your qualification.
The portal „Recognition in Germany“
“Recognition in Germany” is a government portal which provides comprehensive information on having foreign qualifications recognized in Germany. It is designed for professionals with foreign qualifications who would like to find out whether they require formal recognition of their qualifications in order to practice their profession in Germany.
Professionals wishing to have their qualifications recognised can refer to the portal for comprehensive, relevant information on the recognition process, required documents, the legal framework as well as guidance and advice. The portal is currently available in German, English, Italian, Romanian, Spanish, Polish and Turkish.
The website offers a very useful tool, the “recognition finder”. With just a few clicks, individuals with foreign qualifications can use the recognition finder to identify the right assessment authority for their profession. For this purpose, users need to enter their profession and then use the professional profile to find the German reference profession which best fits the qualification obtained abroad. In order to identify the competent assessment authority, the system will ask the user to enter their (desired) place of residence or work in Germany. Just a few clicks later, the system will provide the contact details of the competent assessment authority, so that the user knows where to apply to have the equivalence of their qualification assessed. In addition, the system will provide information on applying for recognition, indicating, for example, which documents the applicant needs to submit.
To access the Recognition in Germany portal, please click here
A brief introduction to the recognition finder is available here
To access the recognition finder, please click here
Federal Office for Migration and Refugees
Hotline on “Recognition of foreign professional qualifications” (German, English)
Recognition of qualifications in Germany
How to have your professional qualifications recognised and where to find your local contact centre (i.a. German, English, Spanish, Italian, Polish)