Senior caregiver from third countries Apply for permission to use the professional title

The activity as a geriatric nurse is regulated in Germany. This means that in order for you to be allowed to use the required professional title "geriatric nurse" in Germany, you need a state permit.

With this permission, you can work without restrictions in facilities for the elderly.

Even with a professional qualification from a so-called third country, you can obtain state permission from the competent authority (an authority) in Germany. Third countries are all states that do not belong to the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

In order to obtain the permit, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognised.
In the recognition procedure, the competent authority compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification and checks the equivalence. The equivalence of the professional qualification is an important prerequisite for the granting of the state permit.
In addition to the equivalence of the professional qualification, you must also meet other requirements for the full recognition of your professional qualification.

If your professional qualification comes from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, the procedure is different.

You can also apply for the procedure from abroad.

The competent authority will tell you which documents you need to submit. Important documents are often:

  • Proof of identity (identity card or passport)
  • German-language CV in tabular form with your training and professional activities
  • officially certified copy of your proof of formal qualifications
  • Proof of your relevant professional experience as a geriatric nurse
  • Proof of further relevant knowledge for working as a geriatric nurse
  • Extract from criminal records or certificate of good conduct from your country of origin as proof of your reliability (This proof may not be more than 3 months old when the application is submitted.)
  • Medical certificate of your health (This certificate may not be more than 3 months old when the application is submitted. The proof can be from an authority in your training state.)
  • Registration certificate or declaration that you want to work where you apply

The competent authority will inform you which documents you must submit in the original or as a copy.

If your documents are not available in German, you must submit German translations of your documents. Translations must be carried out by translators who have been publicly appointed or authorised.


  • You have a professional qualification as a geriatric nurse from a third country.
  • They are suitable for health. (This means that you can work mentally and physically as a geriatric nurse.)
  • They are reliable for working as a geriatric nurse and have no criminal record.
  • You have the necessary knowledge of German for your job. This is usually the B2 language level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.


  • Equivalence notice
    In the permit procedure, the examination of equivalence (recognition procedure) is also carried out. You can request a separate decision for the result of the examination.
  • Electronic application
    You can also submit your application electronically.
  • Procedure for ethnic German repatriates
    As a ethnic German repatriate, you can either go through the recognition procedure according to the law mentioned here or according to the Federal Displaced Persons Act. You can decide for yourself. Your competent authority will advise you on this.

Related Links

  • Nursing Professions Act (PflBG)
  • Nursing Professions Training and Examination Ordinance (PflAPrV)
  • ยง 10 Federal Displaced Persons Act

Equivalence test

You submit an application for permission to use the professional title "geriatric nurse" or "geriatric nurse" to the competent authority. The competent authority will then check whether you meet all the requirements. An important prerequisite is the professional qualification. The competent authority compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification as a geriatric nurse. The competent body will check whether your professional qualification is equivalent. The professional qualification is equivalent if there are no significant differences between your foreign professional qualification and the German professional qualification.

Possible results of the test

If your professional qualification is equivalent, your foreign professional qualification will be recognised. The authority can confirm the result in writing. You still have to meet the other requirements and prove your language skills. Then you will receive permission to use the job title as a "geriatric nurse" or "geriatric nurse".

If the competent body identifies significant differences, you can compensate for the differences through your professional practice and other knowledge and skills (lifelong learning). You must prove your professional experience. Knowledge and skills must be certified by an authority in your country of origin.

However, it may be that this knowledge is not sufficient. You will then not be able to compensate for the essential differences. Your foreign professional qualification will then not be recognised.

However, the competent authority will tell you the essential differences and why you cannot compensate for the essential differences through your professional experience. You are then not allowed to work as a geriatric nurse. However, the responsible body offers you to complete an adaptation course or to take a knowledge test.

Adaptation course or knowledge test

If your professional qualification is not equivalent, you can choose between a knowledge test and a maximum of three years of adaptation. The knowledge test may relate to the entire content of the state final examination. If you complete the adaptation course or pass the knowledge test (and meet all other requirements), you will receive permission to use the professional title as "geriatric nurse" or "geriatric nurse".

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