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Recognition procedure

How does the recognition procedure work? During the recognition procedure, the competent authority checks whether your qualification is equivalent to the German reference occupation.

How does the procedure work?

During the recognition procedure, the competent German authority checks whether your foreign professional qualification is equivalent to a German one or whether there are differences. The procedure is also known as “equivalence assessment”. Once your documents have been submitted in full, the competent authority will normally consider them within three to four months. To find out exactly how the recognition procedure works and where you can get specific information about your profession, visit the “Anerkennung in Deutschland” portal.

Result of the recognition procedure 

Your foreign professional qualification is recognised if it is equivalent to the German professional qualification. If substantial differences are identified in the equivalence assessment, then it depends on the type of profession:

In the case of non-regulated professions, the professional qualification is partially recognised if parts of the vocational training are equivalent and others are not. A notice will be issued to you, stating the substantial differences compared to the German reference profession. Substantial differences are usually compensated by completing refresher training. You can then submit a follow-up application to obtain full recognition of your professional qualification.

In the case of regulated professions, the competent authority specifies a compensation measure that you will need to follow to compensate for the substantial differences. After you have successfully completed the compensation measure, the equivalence of your foreign qualification is established. The further criteria for authorisation to practise a profession are then assessed. The result of the recognition procedure is communicated in an official notice (recognition notice).

To find out if you need proof of recognition of your professional qualifications to work in Germany, see the “Who needs recognition?” section.

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Within a recognition partnership, it is possible to work in Germany and at the same time complete the recognition procedure after entering the country. For more information, see the “Visa for employment within a recognition partnership” section.

Use the Quick-Check to find out in advance about your employment opportunities, with or without recognition.

Qualification measure

If you come from a non-EU country and substantial differences have been found in the assessment of the equivalence of your qualifications, you can obtain a residence title for the purpose of having your professional qualifications recognised. This applies irrespective of whether the intended employment is in a regulated or non-regulated profession. This residence title allows you to enter Germany to complete a qualification measure. More information is available in the “Visa for the recognition of foreign qualifications” section.

The content of this qualification measure can vary greatly depending on your profession and level of knowledge. For example, you might learn job-related German or broaden your technical or theoretical knowledge. In regulated professions (e.g. health and care professions), you can take an adaptation period or an examination.
You can get advice about qualifications in Germany in advance. You can find an appropriate counselling centre on the “Anerkennung in Deutschland” portal.

Once you have successfully completed your qualification measure, you can submit a follow-up application for an equivalence assessment to obtain full recognition of your professional qualification.

Implementation of a skills analysis

If you are unable to provide all the documents relating to your professional qualifications, you may be able to provide practical evidence of your vocational skills. For all dual vocational training occupations, Master craftsperson occupations and advanced training occupations, a skills analysis can be used. The competent recognition body in Germany will decide whether a skills analysis is necessary. For more information, visit the “Anerkennung in Deutschland” portal.

Third-country nationals who are abroad can enter the country for a skills analysis. More information is available in the “Visa for the recognition of foreign qualifications” section.

Recognition procedure costs

The recognition procedure can cost up to €600 or more, depending on the case. Examples of additional costs that may be incurred in a recognition procedure include fees for documents, translations and certifications, travel expenses and fees for compensation measures or refresher training if required. In some cases, you may be eligible for funding to help with these costs. For more information, visit the “Anerkennung in Deutschland” portal.

Information and counselling services related to the recognition procedure

Initial advice can be obtained by calling the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). This hotline provides initial information in German or English on the recognition of foreign vocational qualifications in Germany.
For more detailed advice and assistance with the recognition procedure, you will be referred to the Service Center for Professional Recognition (ZSBA) at the Federal Employment Agency (BA). You can also contact the ZSBA directly by sending an email to:

The ZSBA’s consultants can help you compile the necessary documentation, fill in the correct application forms, and communicate with the relevant authorities. This allows those seeking recognition to plan ahead, avoid mistakes and save time. Consultation is free and without obligation.
Find out more about the services provided by the ZSBA

Watch this video to find out how consultation for the professional recognition procedure works in Germany:

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. Use the Counselling search to find a counselling centre in your country.

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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