For some professions, you need to provide evidence of your qualification. You do not necessarily need to have earned your professional qualification in Germany. You can also have your professional qualifications recognised if you earned them abroad, provided that they are equivalent to German qualifications. Read more about the recognition process for various professions in our guide. Please note that professional qualifications earned in the European Union are not automatically recognised.
Special rules apply for craft professions: for some of these, it is not enough to have learned the trade in question. In order to set up your own business, you will also need a master craftsman’s certificate (Meisterbrief) which you can obtain on the basis of an advanced training course. If you have obtained your professional qualification abroad, you can have its equivalency assessed. This means that if you hold a professional qualification which is deemed to be equal to a German Meister qualification, you can set up your own business in a trade that is subject to authorisation. If you hold a professional qualification which is equivalent to the normal German qualification without the Meister title, you can embark on an advance training course to obtain your Meister title. Additional information on how to obtain the Meister title can be found in the Guide to “Vocational training in Germany”.
In addition to professional qualifications, you should also be proficient in commercial matters. Special seminars and workshops are available for learning about bookkeeping, pricing and cost accounting or refreshing your knowledge.
BMWi GründerZeiten no. 1: Existenzgründung in Deutschland (setting up a business in Germany)
Here, you will find a concise overview of information on setting up your own business (PDF) (English, German)
BMWi Startup guide for Germany
Services available to entrepreneurs (English)
Recognition in Germany
Find out about procedures for having your professional qualifications recognised (English, German, Spanish)
BMWi GründerZeiten no. 3: Existenzgründungen durch Frauen (women startups)
BMWi GründerZeiten no. 10: Gründungen durch Migranten (migrant startups)
Comprehensive information on the topic of “migrant startups” (PDF) (German)
BMWi GründerZeiten no. 18: Existenzgründungen im Handwerk (setting up a craft business)
Comprehensive information on setting up a craft business(PDF) (German)