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Recognition procedure

How does the recognition work? The recognition process determines whether your qualifications are comparable to the professional standards in Germany.

How does the recognition work?

During the recognition procedure, the competent German authority checks if your foreign professional qualification is equivalent to a German one or whether there are any differences. The procedure is also called “equivalence assessment”. Once your documents have been fully submitted, the authority will (generally) examine them within three months. Precise details as to how the recognition procedure works as well as further information can be found on the “Recognition in Germany” portal.

Result of the recognition procedure 

Your foreign professional qualification will be recognised as long as it is equivalent to a German one. If any 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 certain elements of the vocational training process are equivalent and others are not. An assessment notice will be issued to you, informing you of the main differences compared to 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 in order to make up for the fundamental differences. Successful completion of the adaptation programme will lead to the confirmation of equivalence. Further criteria for the admission to the profession will then be assessed. The result of the recognition procedure will be communicated in an official notice (Anerkennungsbescheid; 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, 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 title required as a qualified professional.

If you come from a non-EU country and substantial differences were found in your equivalence assessment, you can get a residence title 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 to complete an adaptation programme or take a refresher training course. Further information can be found in our “Visa for the recognition of foreign qualifications” section.

Adaptation qualification

If you still lack some qualifications for full recognition, you can continue your education in Germany with a so-called adaptation qualification (Anpassungsqualifizierung). 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 recognised 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, or more, depending on the specific case. 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 in the “Recognition in Germany” portal.

The “Recognition in Germany” portal

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 competent authority for your recognition application in just a few clicks. You will also find all the information needed for making an application. The information is available in German, English, Arabic, French, Greek, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian and Turkish.

The link for the portal is as follows:

Further information 

Initial advice can be obtained by calling the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The hotline service 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 during 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 by sending an e-mail to the following 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 therefore save time. The consultation is free of charge and non-binding.

In this video, you will learn how the consultation in regard to the professional recognition procedure in Germany works.

On-site advice on the recognition procedure

The ProRecognition project has set up free and non-binding contact and advice centres at ten Chambers of Commerce abroad (in Egypt, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, India, Iran, Italy, Colombia, Poland, and Vietnam) to provide in-depth advice on site. The recognition counsellors abroad are available to answer all questions about the recognition procedure or questions about language requirements, visas and job searches. They are constantly networking with important partners, who can smooth your way to Germany – at home and abroad. In addition to German and English, the respective national language is spoken fluently at ProRecognition.

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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