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 to four 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 cases of non-regulated professions, the professional qualification will be partially recognised if certain elements of the 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 cases 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 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 get 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 to complete an adaptation programme or take a refresher training course. Further information can be found in our “Visa for the recognition of professional qualifications” section.
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 €600.00, 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 and Turkish.
The link for the portal is as follows: www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de
Initial advice can be obtained by calling 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. It 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 (Zentrale Servicestelle Berufsanerkennung – ZSBA) at the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit – BA). You can also contact the ZSBA directly by sending an e-mail to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Federal Office for Migration and Refugees
Recognition of qualifications in Germany