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.
Have you submitted an application for the recognition of your professional qualifications? Did the competent authority for the recognition procedure in Germany determine that your qualifications cannot be fully recognised due to missing qualifications? In such cases, you can attend a qualification programme in Germany in order to acquire the missing theoretical and/or practical skills. Examples of this would be company training courses, technical training courses, preparatory courses or job-related German language classes. To take part in those programmes, you require a residence title for the recognition of foreign qualifications (Section 16d AufenthG (German Residence Act)).
To find out whether you require a visa to enter Germany, see Who Needs a Visa?.
What are the requirements to receive a visa for the recognition of foreign qualifications?
- The competent authority for the recognition procedure in Germany determined by way of an assessment notice that you are missing certain theoretical and/or practical skills required to fully recognise your qualifications.
- You have successfully registered for a relevant qualification programme. If you are required to take company training courses, the company in question needs to put forward a training plan outlining the measures to be taken to make up for the deficits identified by the competent authority. Moreover, the training plan must also indicate the salary the company will pay you over the course of the practical training courses. In such cases, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) must approve of the qualification programme.
- Generally speaking, you must possess German language skills at a minimum level of A2 in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
- You can provide proof of your living costs being covered for the duration of your stay. You can prove this in the form of a blocked account (in principle at least €1,027.5 per month, amount valid for the year 2023) or a declaration of commitment.
If you are looking to work in an unregulated profession, you can make up for the identified deficits by obtaining employment as a skilled worker in your intended profession (Section 16d (3) AufenthG (German Residence Act)). For this purpose, additional requirements must be met:
- You must have an actual job offer.
- The competent authority determined by way of an assessment notice that you require predominantly practical skills to be able to receive full recognition.
- A training plan detailing how the major differences are to be balanced out.
- Your future employer must ensure by way of a work contract that they will support you in obtaining the required professional recognition during your stay in Germany.
Further information regarding the recognition procedure for foreign qualifications can be found in the Recognition section.
Do you fulfil these requirements? Learn about the procedure for the entry and visa process.
What opportunities does the visa for the recognition of foreign qualifications offer?
After entering Germany, a residence permit for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications or for completing qualification programmes shall be issued for up to 18 months. In individual cases, this visa can be extended for up to six months (e.g. you have to re-take an exam or there are delays with the issuance of your certificate).
Working while completing your qualification programme is an option, if you would like to do so. You may work alongside a qualification programme for up to ten hours per week. If the job is connected to the professional field for which you are striving to obtain professional qualifications and you’ve received an actual job offer to start at a later date, this job can be performed without any time restrictions. In such cases, approval from the Federal Employment Agency is required.
Options after successfully completing the qualification programme
DId you successfully complete your qualification programme and obtained full recognition of your qualifications? If so, you can stay in Germany for an additional year in order to find suitable employment in line with your recognised professional qualifications. To stay in Germany, you require a residence permit for jobseekers (Section 20 (3) no. 4 AufenthG (German Residence Act)), which you can apply for directly at your local Foreigners' Authority without having to leave the country. During this time, you can obtain any form of employment.
Have you already obtained a job, been accepted to a course of study or obtained a training position? If so, you can apply for a residence permit at your local Foreigners' Authority and stay in Germany without having to leave the country. Changing your residence title category is an option.