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Get your Qualifications Recognised in Germany

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There are many kinds of different names all over the world for similar professional qualifications. For example, do you know what “Dipl-Ing.” is? It’s the conventional university qualification for German engineers. It is unlikely that your professional qualification would be familiar to every German company. That means that the company will read the name of your qualification in the application and still not know what you can do and whether you are sufficiently qualified for the job. So here’s our tip: let your qualification be recognised. You can find out how to do that here.

Must I have it?

For many qualifications, it’s helpful to have them recognised. For others, it is an actual requirement for being able to work in Germany. But, it really depends on your profession:

  • Who needs recognition? In Germany, certain professions are “regulated”. Germans and foreign nationals may only work in these professions if they have a very precise qualification. This applies to professions such as doctors and lawyers. It also applies to different masters of manual trades if they work as independent contractors. If you want to work in one of these regulated professions, you need to have your professional qualification recognised in Germany.
  • For whom is recognition helpful? Most professions are not regulated. If you are going to work as an IT specialist, business manager or baker, for example, you will not need to have the qualifications recognised. However, it may still make sense to have your qualifications recognised – even in some cases of partial equivalence. Recognition will help companies understand your skills and qualifications, so that you could leave a good impression as you apply for a job.

Please note: If you would like to relocate to Germany from a non-EU Land, and if your qualification is non-academic, you will have to have it recognised before taking up employment in Germany.

However, recognition of the vocational credentials alone is not sufficient if you would like to work in Germany. In order to get a residence permit with permission to work you will need to meet a number of additional criteria. Please refer to the Quick Check to assess the options of living and working in Germany.

Recognition of foreign certificates

For whom is the recognition of foreign qualifications / certificates necessary? How does the recognition procedure work? This is shortly and clearly explained by short video from the portal “Recognition in Germany“.

Fees for having your qualifications / certificates recognised

Experience has shown that fees range from 200 to 600 euros. Additional charges usually result in the course of the approval process, for example for documents, translations, notarizations, language courses or travel expenses. The exact costs depend on the individual case.

How to apply?

How can I apply for recognition?

Step 1: Find out who provides recognition. Start by finding out which authority or professional association you have to apply to. This depends first and foremost on the profession and where you work. For example, for certain professions, trade corporations (Handwerkskammern, HWK) or the chambers of trade and industry (Industrie- und Handelskammern, IHK) are responsible. The quickest way to find out who you should contact is to use the Recognition Finder here (in English and German)

Step 2: Some advice. Talk with your local contact centre before applying. It will give you the necessary forms to fill out in and help you to define which German reference profession applies to you. It would also tell you which documents you need for your application. Are you uncertain about which contact centre is responsible for you? Do you want to find something more about the application process? You will find full information about proceedings for getting professional qualifications recognised as well as advice on further topics at anerkennung-in-deutschland.de. You could also obtain an initial consultation by phone from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. The hotline is always available Mondays through Fridays (from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at the following number: +49 30-1815-1111. The consultation would provide you with initial information – in German or English – concerning the recognition of foreign professional qualifications in Germany.

Step 3: Prepare your application documents. Ask your local contact centre which documents you should have to translate. Fill in the application forms and send everything to your local contact centre. The local contact centre will compare your foreign professional qualification with a German reference profession. At the same time, it will check whether there are any big differences between your professional qualification and the German one. The professional experience you have acquired can also be taken into account.

Step 4: Receive notification. Once your application has been generated, you will receive a notification from your local contact centre. This written notification, it will tell you whether your foreign professional qualification is equivalent or similar to the German qualification. If the authority haven’t found any equivalence, and if the application concerns a regulated profession, then you will be informed of concrete measures you can take to balance for the differences. In the case of professions that aren’t settle, the notification will state the qualifications that do exist, as well as the differences between your professional qualification and the reference of Germany qualification; this will help you and potential employers to properly gauge your qualification.

Find out more about “Recognition of your professional qualifications in Germany” and download here (PDF 177 KB).

The Recognition in Germany

Recognition in Germany is one of the government portals which provides comprehensive information on having foreign qualifications recognized in Germany. It’s designed for professionals with foreign qualifications who would like to find out whether they require some formal recognition of their qualifications in order to practice their profession in Germany.

Professionals are wishing to have their qualifications recognised can refer to the portal for comprehensive, relevant information for the recognition process, required documents, the legal framework as well as guidance and advice. The portal is currently available in English, German, Italian, Romanian and Spanish; Polish and Turkish are set to follow soon.

The website offers a simple and useful tool, the “recognition finder”. With just a few clicks, individuals with foreign qualifications can use this recognition finder to identify the right assessment authority for their profession. For this purpose, users have to enter their profession and then use the professional profile to find the German reference profession which it fits the qualification obtained abroad. In order to identify the competent assessment authority, the system will ask you to enter their (desired) place of residence or work in Germany. Just a few clicks later, the system will automatically provide the contact details of the competent assessment authority, so that the user can apply just to have the equivalence of their qualification assessed. In addition, the system will provide information on applying for recognition and indicating, for example, which documents the applicant needs to submit.

To access the Recognition in Germany portal, find out more here

A brief introduction to the recognition finder is available here

To access the recognition finder, please click here


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