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Recognition procedure

How does the recognition procedure work and who is responsible for it? Here you will find all the relevant details and contact persons.

The examination of a foreign diploma for equivalence with the German reference occupation can result in one of several outcomes:

If the foreign qualification largely corresponds to the German one, a notice of equivalence will be issued. If it corresponds partially, a notice of partial equivalence may be issued. The notice elaborates on the main differences between the foreign occupation and the German reference occupation to allow targeted further training to be dispensed. This is known as the Defizitbescheid (notice of deficit). In regard to the regulated professions, exact adaptation measures are laid down by the competent authorities.

The procedure can take up to three months from the submission of all required application documents. The procedure subject to fees according to the fees regulations of the competent authorities. You can find further information on the costs for the equivalence check on the Recognition in Germany portal. People with few financial resources as well as people doing jobs beneath their qualification can apply for financial aid for the recognition procedure. You will find further information on this topic on the Recognition in Germany portal.

For details on how the recognition procedure works, please see the graphic on the BQ-Portal. This flow chart maps the individual steps in the recognition procedure and shows potential sources of support.

Competent authorities for recognition of professional qualifications

To find the competent authority for the recognition procedure of your recruit, please consult the Recognition Finder on the Recognition in Germany portal. The respective institutions are classified by the type of occupation:

  • For all manual occupations: the Chamber of Crafts (Handwerkskammer, HWK)
  • For all professional qualifications covered by the Chambers of Industry and Commerce (Industrie- und Handelskammer, IHK): IHK FOSA (Foreign Skills Approval) and the IHKs of Hanover, Braunschweig and Wuppertal-Solingen-Remscheid
  • For agricultural qualifications: the Chambers of Agriculture
  • For qualifications in the liberal professions: the chambers and associations of the liberal professions
  • For other regulated professions: the respective federal state authorities


Help your future employees through the recognition procedure by putting them in contact with the competent authority, explaining which documents they will need and perhaps by paying the costs of the procedure. On the website of the BQ-Portal for foreign professional qualifications, you will find a check list explaining which documents have to be provided. Moreover, you will find information on what the foreign professional qualifications entail and get a first impression.

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