Recognition of professional qualifications, including vocational education and training

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Recognition of professional qualifications, including vocational education and training

Do you have a permanent position working in a profession in a Member State of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland?

Would you like to provide services in this profession in Germany for a limited period (on a temporary and occasional basis)?

Depending on your profession, you may have to have the following criteria checked before you provide your first service in Germany:

  • Are your planned services genuinely limited in time?
  • Do you require recognition of your professional qualification or is a simple notification sufficient?

The check is carried out by the competent authority for your place of employment in Germany.

You can obtain the contact details for the competent authority from the Recognition in Germany website or from the Points of Single Contact.

If you only intend to provide your service in Germany for a limited period, then you often only require a prior notification and potentially also a proof of qualification, even in the case of work in regulated professions.

There are, however, exceptions. Some regulated professions are connected to public safety or health in Germany. Specific standards do not exist in all Member States of the EU for each of these professions (as is the case with the professions with automatic recognition, such as the professions of doctor or nurse).

You may therefore need to obtain recognition of your professional qualification before you can provide services in these regulated professions on a temporary and occasional basis.

Examples of these regulated professions are the following: emergency paramedic and driving instructor.

Note: You always require recognition if you wish to work in a regulated profession in Germany on a permanent basis.

For the recognition procedure, the competent authority in Germany will check whether: your foreign qualification is equivalent to a German qualification.

This check is based on the documents about your education and is carried out according to fixed formal criteria. Some examples of these criteria are the content and duration of your education. Your professional experience is also taken into account.

The recognition procedure varies depending on the profession. Different procedures and applications are therefore required for different professions.

You can obtain the application for the procedure directly from the competent authority or from a Point of Single Contact. The Point of Single Contact will forward your documents to the competent authority and assist you with the procedure.

Note : Before you apply for recognition, you may need to find out your reference occupation in Germany. During the recognition procedure, your professional qualification will be compared against the reference occupation.

In Germany, the IQ counselling centres will advise you which reference occupation is appropriate for your qualification.

You can find all the necessary information on the Recognition in Germany website. On this website, you can quickly and easily find answers in 11 languages to your questions concerning recognition:

  • Do I need to have my professional qualification recognised?
  • Is recognition worthwhile for me?
  • Can I apply? Am I entitled to this?
  • Who do I need to contact?
  • What does the recognition procedure involve?
  • What documents are required?
  • What form should the documents be in?
  • How long does the procedure take?
  • What does the procedure cost?

What legislation is relevant for my case?

Responsible for the content
Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Last update or date of publication
19.10.2020