Working in Germany: the official website
for qualified professionals

Recognition procedure

In the “recognition procedure”, the German authority in charge checks whether your foreign professional qualification is comparable with a German one and whether if there are any differences. The procedure is also called “equivalence assessment”. As a general rule, the authority will examine your documents within three to four months once they have been fully submitted. Precise details as to how the recognition procedure works and the places where you can find detailed information can be found on the portal “Recognition in Germany”.

Result of the recognition procedure 

Your foreign professional qualification will be recognised if it is equivalent to the German one. If substantial differences are found in the equivalence assessment, the type of profession will be a determining factor:

In the case of non-regulated professions, the professional qualification will be partially recognised if parts of the training are equivalent and others are not. You will be issued with an assessment notice informing you of the main differences from the German reference occupation. You can usually gain qualifications to make up for major differences through refresher training courses. You can then submit a follow-up application to obtain full recognition.

In the case of regulated professions, the authority in charge will decide what adaptation programmes you will need to follow to make up for the fundamental differences. Successful completion of the adaptation programme will lead to confirmation of equivalence. Further criteria for admission to the profession will then be assessed. The result of the recognition procedure will be communicated in an official notice (recognition notice).

If you wish to work in a regulated profession in Germany, your professional qualification must be recognised as equivalent. If you want to work in a non-regulated profession, you come from a third country and have a professional qualification (vocational training), you will also need “full” recognition. Only then can you obtain the residence permit required as a qualified professional.

If you come from a non-EU country and substantial differences were found in your equivalence assessment, you can obtain a residence permit for the purpose of obtaining recognition for professional qualifications. This applies regardless of whether the profession is regulated or non-regulated. It allows you to enter Germany in order to complete an adaptation programme or take a refresher training course. Further information can be found in our section “Visa for the recognition of professional qualifications”.

Adaptation qualification

If you still lack some qualifications for full recognition, you can continue your education in Germany with a so-called adaptation qualification. The contents of this qualification measure can vary greatly, depending on your profession and your level of knowledge. It is conceivable, for example, that you learn job-related German, or broaden your technical or theoretical knowledge. If you complete your course successfully, you can then have your vocational qualification recognized as equivalent and work in your profession in Germany.

The Quick Check on this portal will help you to assess your chances of living and working in Germany.

Cost of the recognition procedure 

The recognition procedure can cost up to 600 euros, or more, depending on the specific caase. Examples of additional costs, which may be incurred for a recognition procedure, include fees for documents, translations and certifications, travel expenses, and possibly fees for adaptation programmes or refresher training courses, if needed. You may be eligible for funding to help with these costs. Further information can be found on the “Recognition in Germany” portal.

The portal „Recognition in Germany“

Detailed information on the recognition of foreign professional qualifications in Germany can be found on the “Recognition in Germany” portal provided by the German government. It covers various issues, such as the recognition procedure, the documents required, contacts at advice centres, and information on financial support for the recognition process. The “Recognition Finder” will take you to the authority in charge of your recognition application in just a few clicks. You will also find all the information needed for making an application in the “Recognition Finder”. The information is available in German, English, Arabic, French, Greek, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

The link for the portal is as follows:

Further information 

Initial advice can be obtained in a telephone call to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - BAMF). The hotline number is +49 30-1815-1111 and the service is available from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. This hotline will provide you with initial information on the recognition of foreign vocational qualifications in Germany, either in German or English.

For more detailed advice and assistance in the recognition process, you will be directed to the Service Center for Professional Recognition (ZSBA) at the Federal Employment Agency (BA). You can also contact the ZSBA directly at the following e-mail address: The ZSBA's advisory experts provide support in compiling the necessary documents, correctly completing the necessary application documents as well as in communicating with the competent authorities. Thus, people seeking recognition can plan in a targeted manner, avoid mistakes in the implementation and thus save time. The consultation offer is free of charge and non-binding. 

In this video you will get some advices how the procedure of professional recognition in Germany works.

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