In Germany, some professions are regulated. When qualifications are required to enter and practice a profession, it is called a regulated profession. For example, this includes crafts professions subject to approval, medical practitioners, nurses or pharmacists. Before practicing these professions, you must have your foreign vocational qualification recognized.
All other professions are non-regulated, which means that recognition of your foreign vocational qualifications is voluntary. However, it is often recommended to help you get started in a new job in Germany faster and easier. The aim of the process is to establish whether the foreign vocational qualification is equivalent to the German qualification.
The recognition process takes up to three months and is subject to a fee.
You must have a work permit before you start the recognition process.
The website "Recognition in Germany" provides a lot of additional information on recognition in seven languages. It also has a recognition finder, which allows you to check in advance whether the qualification you obtained is classified as being "equivalent". The website also contains details of the responsible authority for you to consult.
The Foreign Skills Approval of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK FOSA) is responsible for reviewing and recognizing the vocational qualifications in the industry, trade, hospitality and services sectors.
You can check the IHK FOSA list to see whether your profession is listed there. If so, you can complete the application for an equivalence review and submit it in writing to IHK FOSA. The procedure costs up to 600 Euros. See the IHK FOSA fees schedule for the exact prices. For an individual initial consultation, you should generally contact your local Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK).
At a glance
- Vocational qualifications are qualifications verified by educational certificates, certificates of proficiency or professional experience obtained overseas.
- Recognition of vocational qualifications means assessing whether the qualification is valid in Germany or not.
- If the decision is positive, this confirms the equivalence of your foreign qualification.
- Equivalence assessments can take up to 3 months.
- See the recognition finder for the responsible authority;
- IHK FOSA is responsible for vocational training professions and continuing professional development qualifications in the industry, trade, hospitality and services sectors.
Checklist for applying to the HWK
- application form (available at the first consultation)
- personal data sheet (CV)
- legally attested copies (in colour) of the original documents as well as the German translations of:
- all certificates / diplomas of your vocational qualifications
- grades of your exams
- all documents which proove your acquired professional skills, e.g. curricula, Training rules etc.
- employment references of the country of origin / of Germany or the "Arbeitsbuch", if available
- your ID card or your passport
Checklist for applying to IHK FOSA
EU/EEA/Swiss citizens are exempt from this.
- Completed application form,
- Table containing a list of completed courses of education and the profession practiced
- Simple copy of proof of identification (identification card or passport)
- Verification of the professional qualification obtained overseas (education certificate)
- Verification of relevant professional experience
- Other proofs of competence (for example continuing professional development, retraining)
- Verification that the applicant wants to work in Germany (for example proof of contact with potential employers, application for entry visa, business concept)
All documents must generally be translated into German; all copies of certificates must be authenticated.
Advice on recognition of vocational qualifications - IQ Netzwerk
In Baden-Wuerttemberg, the advisory center for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications of IQ Netzwerk offers personal advice on the recognition process in Germany. The office in Mannheim is responsible for the Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion.
The advisory center for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications of IQ Netzwerk in Mannheim offers the following services:
- Information on recognition of foreign qualifications
- Referral advice and support of international specialists in the recognition process (finding the responsible recognition authority, help compiling documents, further support in the recognition process if necessary)
- Advice on professional orientation (options for adaptation and retrospective qualification and labor market-specific development options, referral to other advice services)
Recognition of professions in Germany – Procedures
Links and Downloads
Chamber of Handicrafts - HWK
House of Handicrafts - Handwerkskammer Karlsruhe
To the Website
Tel. +49 (0) 721 1600 158
Chamber of Industry and Commerce - IHK
Personal advice on the recognition process:
Interkulturelles Bildungszentrum Mannheim gGmbH
Ms. Ulbrich and Mr. Schukow
Tel. +49 (0)621 437 731 13
Fax +49 (0)621 437 731 11