International skilled worker at the job interview

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 recognition notice. 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.

Info box

For the assessment of foreign professional qualifications, it might be necessary to conduct a skills analysis (QA) in some cases; for example, if documents are missing or incomplete. The competent recognition authority decides whether a skills analysis is to consider. You can find further information on the process and costs of the skills analysis in the “Anerkennung in Deutschland” portal.

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


Support your future employees during the recognition procedure by contacting the competent authority, making the employee aware of the necessary documents and, if possible, cover the costs of the procedure. On the BQ-Portal website, the information portal for foreign professional qualifications, you will find a checklist with explanations for all the required documents. You can also inform yourself of the foreign professional qualification’s contents and get a first impression of its details.

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