If you have completed vocational training or degree studies abroad, you may need your qualifications to be officially recognised in order to be allowed to work in the corresponding profession in Germany. This will depend on your profession and your country of origin.
Regulated professions require official recognition
You may only work in regulated professions in Germany if you have certain qualifications. This applies, for example, to many professions in the health service, legal advice, teaching in state schools and engineering. There are also regulations for certain master craftworkers who run a business.
If you want to work in one of these regulated professions then you will always need the certificate of official recognition of your foreign qualifications – regardless of your country of origin. In the case of regulated professions, the decision on official recognition is generally taken during the procedure required for the granting of a licence to practise the profession.
You can find out whether your profession is regulated in the “Recognition Finder” on the “Recognition in Germany” portal.
Non-regulated professions may require official recognition
Most professions in Germany are not regulated. These include occupations requiring qualifications earned in the dual system of vocational training, for example, and many professions requiring a university degree. In order to be allowed to work in Germany as a business economist, computer scientist or baker, for example, you do not need to have your foreign qualifications recognised. The recognition of foreign professional qualifications or the comparability of a university degree is usually a prerequisite for the issue of a visa to citizens of third countries. Third countries are countries outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland.
There is no recognition procedure for higher education qualifications which do not lead to a regulated profession, such as biologist, physicist or linguist, as there is for regulated professions or qualifications earned in the dual system of vocational training. People from a third country with any such higher education qualifications are required to prove that their foreign academic qualifications are recognised as comparable in Germany in order to be granted a residence permit. The database anabin provided by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) has information on this. Detailed information is available on our website under “Foreign academic qualifications”.
Good to know: Even for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals, recognition can still be helpful. It can be advantageous when applying for a job, when changing jobs or even when negotiating salaries. The recognition certificate in German allows employers to recognise the skills and knowledge of international qualified professionals immediately.
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)