Procedure

Equivalence of professional qualifications under the German Professional Qualifications Assessment Act [Berufsqualifikationsfestsellungsgesetz, BQFG] will be assessed on the basis of the German profession, not that of your home country. Therefore, the work that you can perform in Germany with your foreign qualifications must first of all be determined. Various authorities are responsible for this.

Since there is no central body in NRW that performs recognition procedures, the next step requires that, once you have determined your reference profession, you determine which institution is responsible for your reference profession. An application may then be submitted to the competent institution.

Step 1: Determine your reference profession

Your reference profession means the profession in Germany with which your foreign professional qualifications will be compared on the basis of specified criteria when assessing equivalence. Before an application for recognition of your foreign professional qualifications can be submitted, the reference profession must first of all be determined.

Foreign professional qualifications are considered equivalent if there are no significant differences between them and the qualifications for the German reference profession, making it possible to practise comparable occupational activities. Complete concordance is not necessary. In the case of minor differences, professional experience will also be strongly taken into account.

To research your reference profession, you may also find information and points of contact on the following websites:

  • The information portal for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications (anabin) provides information about the assessment of foreign professional qualifications and provides assistance with the ranking of foreign qualifications in the German education system.
  • The Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) is the central authority for the evaluation of foreign qualifications for the whole of Germany. This includes qualifications obtained in school, vocational training and through higher education.
  • The Foreign Skills Approval (FOSA) of the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI) is responsible for evaluating and recognising foreign professional qualifications. The CCI (Chambers of Commerce and Industry) or CCST (Chambers of Crafts and Skilled Trades) will advise you on the German professional qualifications that best correspond to your foreign professional qualifications.
  • The BQ-Portal is an information portal for foreign professional qualifications run by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It provides extensive information about foreign education systems and professional qualifications.
  • Call the “Hotline for Working and Living in Germany” (BAMF) for answers to your questions on the recognition of professional qualifications in German and English. The hotline may be reached on: +49 (0) 301815-1111, Mondays to Fridays from 9 am – 3 pm.
  • The Network IQ features various different offerings. The main focus is advice on the recognition of foreign professional qualifications and on qualification in the context of the German federal and state recognition laws.

Step 2: Find the competent body

Those looking for recognition must contact the competent body for their profession for the assessment of the equivalence of their foreign qualifications.

There is no central body in NRW that performs recognition procedures. To find out which body is responsible for your application, please use the Recognition Finder in the portal “Recognition in Germany.” If you are unsure, please do not hesitate to contact the team of the Point of Single Contact for NRW.

A list of the bodies responsible for recognition in NRW can be found in the brochures “Wegweiser NRW für die Anerkennung” issued by the State of NRW and “Wegweiser Anerkennung² NRW” issued by Network IQ.

Step 3: Submit your application

Those looking for recognition must contact the competent body for their profession for the assessment of the equivalence of their foreign qualifications. This will normally require presentation of the following documents:

  • table summarising your completed training and professional activities performed
  • details of your current place of residence
  • proof of ID
  • proof of professional qualifications obtained abroad
  • proof of relevant professional experience or other qualifications if necessary for determining equivalence
  • statement of whether and to which office you have previously submitted applications for the assessment of equivalence
  • if applicable, certificate of equivalence

Depending on the respective profession, additional documents may also be required. Please contact the competent body. The team of the Point of Single Contact will also be happy to assist you.

It is often the case that the original documents or certified copies must be submitted to the competent body. However, the German Professional Qualifications Assessment Act allows documents of EU citizens to be submitted by electronic means. Documents must normally be submitted in German. If your documents are in another language, the competent bodies may also require a translation by a publicly appointed translator.

Procedure

For recognition, the competent body will use your submitted documents to assess whether and to what extent your foreign professional qualifications correspond to the German qualifications for your desired profession. This assessment is based on specified formal criteria, e.g. the content and length of your training. Any relevant professional experience that you have will also be taken into account, as will other relevant qualifications.

Deadlines

The period for processing the application will start once the competent body confirms that all required documents have been received.

The competent body will confirm receipt of the application to the applicant within one month of receipt. The competent body must normally make a decision on equivalence within three months. This period will start when all documents have been received and may be extended if justified by special circumstances.

Forms

Applications and forms can be found on the website of the respective competent body. The team of the Point of Single Contact will also be happy to assist you.

Fees

The costs for the procedure may vary. They depend on the amount of work required in each case and are based on the legal regulations for the respective profession. The competent body will determine the exact costs in each individual case and will inform you of these.

Additional costs may also arise (e.g. for translations, certifications or compensatory measures). These costs will vary according to the individual case.

Online application

The Point of Single Contact also enables you to submit your application by electronic means in implementation of Art. 57a of 2005/36/EC.

Electronic applications may generally be submitted for all professions regulated in Germany. This is only intended for the recognition of professional qualifications obtained in a member state of the EU, the EEA or in Switzerland. There is no entitlement to electronic submission of applications for the recognition of professional qualifications obtained outside of the EU, EEA or Switzerland.

To the Online Application.