If you want to set up your own business, you should have professional skills related to your business idea. For some professions, you need to provide evidence of your qualifications by presenting appropriate degrees to set up a business in your preferred profession in Germany. This applies, for example, to start-up businesses in the health service, legal advice and educational sectors, but also in the skilled trades. If you acquired your professional qualification abroad, you must apply for recognition of your qualification. As soon as your qualification is recognised as equivalent to the respective German qualification, you can set up a business in your profession. You can find out how the recognition procedure works for various professions in the “Recognition” section.
Please note: Even professional qualifications acquired in the European Union are not automatically recognised.
Skilled trade professions
Special rules apply to skilled trade professions: For some skilled trades, it is not enough to have learned the trade in question. When setting up a new business, you need a master craftsperson's certificate (Meisterbrief), which you can obtain by completing further training. If you can present a foreign vocational qualification that is deemed to be equivalent to the master craftsperson's examination, you can independently practice a skilled trade that is subject to authorisation. This includes the following trades (non-exhaustive list): mason bricklayers and concrete construction workers, road builders, painters and lacquerers, precision mechanics, electrical engineering technicians, carpenters, butchers, opticians, etc. If, however, you hold a professional qualification which is equivalent to the regular German qualification without a master craftsperson title, you can obtain your master craftsperson title through appropriate further training. In the "Vocational Training in Germany" section, we have summarised the different options you have to attain a title of master craftsperson (Meistertitel).
Regardless of your professional qualifications, you should also be proficient in commercial matters. In special seminars or workshops, you may learn methods of bookkeeping, price calculation and cost accounting or brush up on your knowledge.
Recognition in Germany