Foreign professional qualifications

In order to work in Germany, it is helpful to have your foreign qualifications recognised. In somes cases, it is even mandatory. 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.
On the website “Reglementierte Berufe Datenbank” you find a list which contains all the regulated professions in Germany.

For whom is recognition helpful?

Most professions are not regulated. If you are going to work as a business manager, IT specialist or baker, for example, you will not need to have your qualifications recognised. However, it may still make sense to have your qualifications recognised. Recognition will help companies understand your skills and qualifications, so that you can leave a good impression as you apply for a job.

Please note: If you would like to relocate to Germany from a non-EU country, and if your qualification is non-academic, you will have to have it recognised before getting a visa for Germany. However, recognition of your vocational credentials alone is not sufficient if you would like to work in Germany. In order to obtain 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 your options of living and working in Germany.


You have acquired your professional or vocational qualification abroad and wish to work in Germany in your chosen profession or occupation? You have the option of having your foreign qualification recognised. In some cases, this will be mandatory. The way in which the procedure works is described below.

During the recognition procedure, the competent body in Germany investigates whether your foreign professional or vocational qualification corresponds to the German reference occupation. This means that it will check whether there are any substantial differences. This process is referred to as an equivalence assessment. For this purpose, the competent body requires certificates and documents which provide information on aspects such as the contents and duration of your qualification. Any relevant professional or occupational experience is also important.


  • You have completed a professional or vocational qualification abroad.
  • You wish to work in Germany.

In order to obtain recognition of your professional or vocational qualification, you do not require German citizenship and will not need a so-called “residence permit” for Germany. There is no necessity for you to be resident in Germany. You may also submit your application from abroad.

  1. ENTRY

If you are still living abroad, check the conditions under which you will be permitted to live and work in Germany. The Quick-Check provided on the “Make it in Germany” portal will help you to do this.