Registration in the Craftsmanship Role

Anyone who wants to become self-employed in the craftsmanship must register their business with the Chamber of Crafts. This list of members covers three areas with different registration requirements:

Who needs to be registered in the craftsmanship role?

Anyone wishing to become self-employed in a trade subject to registration must meet certain requirements for the company to be entered into the trade role. Which professions are subject to registration in Germany can be found in Annex A of the Crafts Code (HwO).

In the professions of non-licensed crafts and trades similar to craftsmanships (Annex B of the HwO), registration takes place without a certificate of qualification (Master’s letter). The Chamber of Crafts maintains a register in which the owner of a business of a non-licensed craft or a trade similar to crafts are registered.

If a craftsman wishes to open a business, he or she must also present a copy of his or her craft card at the trade registration. This is created at the time of entry into the craft role.

Requirements for the exercise of a craft

  • You have a master’s certificate or have obtained an equivalent qualification abroad. Other examinations are recognised if they are “equivalent” (e.g. final examinations at a German university, a state-recognised technical school or diploma from another EU Member State).
  • Experienced employees who demonstrate six years of professional experience in their trades – of which four years in a senior position – may submit an application for exercise in accordance with Paragraph 7b of the HwO. With the granted right to exercise, they can also become self-employed with their own business in a trade subject to authorisation. This regulation excludes chimney sweeps, opticians, hearing care professionals, orthopaedic technicians, orthopaedic technicians, orthopaedic shoemakers and dental technicians.
  • It is also possible to apply for an exemption permit for the independent exercise of a craft profession in Annex A of the HwO. This allows, for example, the practice of the profession, for whom the passing of the master’s examination would be an unreasonable burden, but who can prove the knowledge and skills necessary for the independent practice.
  • A craft business in a trade subject to registration may also be established or taken over if the owner of the establishment itself does not have a master’s certificate, but hires a manager with the necessary qualifications.

Where do I apply for a craft card?

You can apply for the craft card online via the business service portal NRW as well as from the Chamber of Crafts responsible for you.

Here you can access the online application for the craft card.

Here you can check which Chamber of Crafts is responsible for you. Further information on the procedure as well as the application documents can be found at your competent Chamber of Crafts:

What documents are to be submitted?

The following documents must be submitted in order to apply for a craft card:

  • Copy of identity card or similar identification document
  • completed and signed application for registration
  • if registered in Annex A of the Crafts Code: Certificate of qualification (Master’s letter/EU certificate)
  • if a technical manager is employed: Operations manager: internal declaration and employment contract
  • if necessary. Commercial register extract of the local court (in the case of legal persons or other registered companies)
  • if necessary. Articles of association if, for the artisanal management, one of the personally liable partners or one of the personally liable partners or an employed technical manager fulfils one of the requirements for registration.

There are separate applications in the boards for the application for registration. Please contact the relevant Chamber of Crafts. The company manager: declaration of internals can be found below.

What are the costs?

Depending on the board, different fees are levied for registration, which can range from EUR 100 to EUR 400. Your Chamber of Crafts will be happy to inform you in individual cases.

Additional information material for entry into the craft role


(PDF, 51 Kb)


Leitfaden zur Abgrenzung
(PDF, 4.18 Mb)

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