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Recognition procedure

Checking a foreign diploma for equivalence with the German reference occupation can result in one of several outcomes:

If the foreign qualification largely corresponds to that in Germany, a notice of equivalence is issued. If it corresponds partially, a notice of partial equivalence may be issued. This describes the main differences between it and the German reference occupation to allow targeted further training to be dispensed. This is known as the Defizitbescheid (literally “notice of deficit”). In the regulated professions, exact adaptation measures are laid down by the competent authorities.

The procedure can take up to three months from submission of a complete application. It is subject to fees according to a scale set by the competent authorities. You can find further information about the costs of the equivalence check on the information portal for foreign professional qualifications. People with few financial resources and in particular employees doing jobs beneath their qualification can apply for financial aid for the recognition procedure. You will find further information about financial aid for the recognition procedure on the Recognition in Germany portal.

You can see exactly how the recognition procedure works from the graphic on the information portal for foreign professional qualifications. This flow chart maps the individual steps in the recognition procedure and shows potential sources of support.

Tip: Help your future employees through the recognition procedure by putting them in contact with the competent authority, explaining which documents they need and perhaps paying the costs of the procedure. On the BQ Portal website for foreign professional qualifications, you will find a checklist explaining which documents have to be provided. Furthermore, here you can find the information about the content of foreign professional qualifications and make yourself the first picture of the qualification.

Information on the internet

Recognition of qualifications in Germany

Recognition Finder (i.a..German, English)

The EU Recognition Directive (i.a. German, English)

Länder regulations (i.a. German, English)

Financial aid for the recognition procedure (German)

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    The Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB)

    Recognition of foreign diplomas (German)


    European Commission

    Database of regulated professions (i.a. German, English)


    Unternehmen Berufsanerkennung

    Information about the recognition of professional qualifications (German)


    Network IQ

    “Integration through Qualification (IQ)” programme (German, English)


    Welcome to Niedersachsen - Bildungswerk der Niedersächsischen Wirtschaft gemeinnützige GmbH

    Five years of recognition Law (German, English)

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