Working in Germany: the official website
for qualified professionals

Foreign professional qualifications

In order to work in Germany, it is helpful to have your foreign qualifications recognised. In somes cases, it is even mandatory. It really depends on your profession:

  •  Who needs recognition? In Germany, certain professions are "regulated”. Germans and foreign nationals may only work in these professions if they have a very precise qualification. This applies to professions such as doctors and lawyers. It also applies to different masters of manual trades if they work as independent contractors. If you want to work in one of these regulated professions, you need to have your professional qualification recognised in Germany. On the website “Reglementierte Berufe Datenbank” you find a list which contains all the regulated professions in Germany.
  • For whom is recognition helpful? Most professions are not regulated. If you are going to work as a business manager, IT specialist or baker, for example, you will not need to have your qualifications recognised. However, it may still make sense to have your qualifications recognised. Recognition will help companies understand your skills and qualifications, so that you can leave a good impression as you apply for a job.

Please note: If you would like to relocate to Germany from a non-EU country, and if your qualification is non-academic, you will have to have it recognised before getting a visa for Germany. However, recognition of your vocational credentials alone is not sufficient if you would like to work in Germany. In order to obtain a residence permit with permission to work you will need to meet a number of additional criteria. Please refer to the Quick Check to assess your options of living and working in Germany. 

Aisley from the USA:

"I trained as a nurse at a college in the United States and obtained a Bachelor's degree in Nursing. I wasn’t aware that many foreign university degrees correspond to vocational qualifications in Germany. As a non-EU citizen without a German qualification, getting my degree recognised was a prerequisite to working in Germany. It was useful getting this important information before I moved. That way, I was able to have all the necessary documents ready, and that speeded up the recognition procedure. My tip: before moving, everybody should always find out exactly whether or not they can exercise their profession in Germany without any formalities."

Recognition of foreign certificates

For whom is the recognition of foreign certificates necessary? How does the recognition procedure work? This is shortly and clearly explained by the 2-½-minute video from the portal "Recognition in Germany".

Fees for having your qualifications recognised

Experience has shown that fees range from 100 to 600 euros. Additional charges usually arise in the course of the approval process, for example for documents, translations, notarizations, travel expenses or language courses. The exact costs depend on the individual case.

Information on the internet

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)


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