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Visa for the recognition of foreign qualifications

Have you applied to have your professional qualifications recognised and the competent authority for the recognition procedure in Germany has determined 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 these programmes, you require a residence permit 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 issue a visa for the recognition of foreign qualifications?

  • The competent authority for the recognition procedure in Germany has 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 program. 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 rectify the deficits identified by the competent authority. Furthermore, 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 of at least an A2 level in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  • You can provide proof that your living costs will be covered for the duration of your stay. 

If you are looking to work in an unregulated profession, an additional option is available to you. You can compensate for the identified deficits by obtaining employment as a skilled professional 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 he or she will enable you to obtain the required professional recognition during your stay in Germany. 

Further information regarding the recognition procedure for foreign qualifications can be found under Recognition

Do you fulfil these requirements? Learn about the procedure for the entry 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 to complete qualification programmes shall be issued for up to 18 months. In individual cases, this visa can be extended for up to six months if, for example, you need to repeat an exam or there are delays with the issuing of your certificate.   

It is possible for you to work while completing a qualification programme if you choose 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

Have you successfully completed 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 job seekers (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 first leave the country. It is possible to change your residence permit category. 

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

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