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Visa for the recognition of foreign qualifications

Are your qualifications not fully recognised? The recognition visa allows you to travel to Germany to take the necessary steps to obtain full recognition.

Did you apply for the recognition of your professional qualification but the competent recognition authority in Germany decided that your qualification cannot be fully recognised? In this case, you can attend qualification measures in Germany to acquire the theoretical and/or practical skills you lack. Examples of such qualification measures include in-company training courses, specialist training courses, preparatory courses and job-related German courses. To participate in such a measure, you need a residence title for the purpose of the recognition of foreign professional qualifications (Section 16d para. (1) of the Residence Act [AufenthG]).

To find out if you need a visa to enter Germany, please refer to the “Do I need a visa?” section.

What are the requirements for a visa for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications?

  • Proof of partial recognition: you have applied for the recognition procedure and your qualification has been found to be partially equivalent. This means that the competent authority in Germany has issued a recognition notice stating that you lack certain theoretical and/or practical skills required for full recognition of your qualification.
  • Confirmation of registration to a qualification measure: you have successfully registered for an appropriate qualification measure. If the qualification measure consists mainly of on-the-job training, the company concerned must set out in a professional development plan the specific measures that will be taken to meet the post-qualification needs identified in the recognition notice. The professional development plan should also state what salary the company will pay you during the practical training course. In this case, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) must approve your qualification measure.
  • Proof of German language proficiency: you must be able to demonstrate a knowledge of German, usually at level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Please note that a higher level of German proficiency may also be required to participate in qualification measures in Germany.
  • Ability to cover the cost of living: you are able to prove that you can cover your living costs for the duration of your stay in Germany. You can do this by means of a blocked bank account (with a minimum of €1,027 per month as of 2024) or a declaration of commitment.

Do you meet the above requirements? Then find out about the entry and visa process.

What opportunities does a visa for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications offer?

After entering Germany, you will usually be granted a residence permit for up to 24 months for the purpose of having your foreign professional qualification recognised or for the purpose of carrying out post-qualification training. This residence permit can be renewed for a further 12 months if, for example, you have to retake an examination or there is a delay in issuing the certificate.

If you want to work alongside your qualification measure, you can: You can work up to 20 hours a week in a part-time job independent of the qualification measure. If the work is related to the occupational field for which you are seeking a recognised professional qualification, you can work as many hours as you like. In this case, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) must approve your employment.

Options after successfully completing the qualification measure

Once you have successfully completed your qualification measure and gained full recognition, you can stay in Germany for up to 12 months to find a qualified job. To do this, you need a residence permit for jobseekers (Section 20 (3) No. 4 of the Residence Act [AufenthG]), which you can apply for at the competent foreigners authority without having to leave the country. During this time, you are permitted to perform any kind of work.

If you have already found a job, a place on a degree programme or a vocational training place after completion of your qualification measure, you can apply for a residence permit at the competent foreigners authority and stay in the country without having to leave it first. It is possible to change to the following residence titles:

Special case: Visa for implementation of a skills analysis

If the recognition procedure cannot be carried out for reasons such as missing or incomplete documents, it is possible to apply for a visa for implementation of a skills analysis in Germany. 
The skills analysis assesses whether the applicant can demonstrate their professional knowledge and skills in practice. The competent body in Germany will decide on the skills analysis. The conditions for issuing a visa are as follows:

  • The competent recognition body has determined that a skills analysis is required in your case. You will normally have received a letter from the competent body. 
  • You have applied for and been accepted for a skills analysis in Germany. 
  • You can demonstrate that you are able to cover your living costs in Germany for this period. This is usually evidenced by a blocked bank account with a minimum of €1,027 per month (in 2024) or a declaration of commitment. 
  • You have a level of German that corresponds to the skills analysis, usually at level A2 or above of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

The visa for implementation of a skills analysis in Germany is issued for a maximum of six months. Find out more about the visa process in the “Entry and visa process” section. 

If it is determined that compensation measures are required before your professional qualification can be considered equivalent, your stay may be extended to allow you to participate in appropriate qualification measures.

At a glance: Visa for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications

From the preparations to the application forms: This step-by-step guide shows you how to obtain a visa for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications. 

Do you have any questions?

Let us advise you on your opportunities to work and live in Germany. Our experts will support you with questions regarding job search, visa, recognition and learning German. 

You can find out more about the various contact options by clicking on one of the icons in the bar below.

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