Business, work and life in Germany in English

The acknowledgment of diplomas, recognition of foreign academic degrees and qualifications in Germany

§ Foreign qualifications recognition: what it is like and the way this procedure is held

Foreign qualifications recognition or confirmation in Germany is a procedure of official comparison and possible equalization of a qualification awarded abroad with a respective local German qualification. This expert examination is carried out by state institutions: either chambers of commerce or other ministries and departments, depending on the profession being recognized. There are several hundred such institutions in Germany, therefore, without a consultation or search system it is impossible to find the right one.

The recognition of qualifications is carried out in the course of 3 months, during the recognition procedure it will be established whether the qualifications obtained in another country are comparable to the local standards established for the same occupation, what the differences are like and whether these differences can be eliminated, for example, by completing supplementary courses or due to work experience.

Based on the recognition procedure results, an official document is issued stating whether or not there is a partial or complete correspondence between the foreign qualifications and the local qualifications, as well as what else needs to be done to achieve full compliance.

Foreign qualifications recognition - is a procedure of official comparison and possible equalization of a qualification awarded abroad with a respective local German qualification.

For what purposes is qualifications recognition(confirmation) required?

Recognition of qualifications obtained in another country is not mandatory, but may be required in the following cases or for the following purposes:

What is the way the foreign qualifications recognition procedure is held?

To have foreign qualifications recognized in Germany, the 5 steps mentioned below have to be followed:

Certified translation of documents First of all, you should have your degree certificate translated. Such a translation can be ordered from one of the sworn translators in Germany. A list of sworn translators in Germany can be found at the website. Due to this translation, you can find out the exact name of your profession and educational institution.
Search for a responsible institution Find an institution that is responsible for recognizing qualifications like yours. Call the said institution, agency or otherwise obtain information from them as to what documents are required for the recognition of qualifications, as well as what applications and formsheets have to be filled out.
Filling out the forms, paperwork Fill out the application forms; prepare the relevant documents, confirmations and descriptions of professional activities; mail them to the responsible institution for verification. Such documents are best sent by registered mai.
Obtaining a qualifications recognition certificate Obtaining a qualifications recognition formal document. This expert finding indicates whether your educational qualifications are equivalent to the local German education in the respective field. If not, the document indicates specific differences and, possibly, actions that have to be taken to achieve full compliance, for example: get additional training or do some courses.
Further steps to take If the expert finding as to the qualifications recognition requires measures to achieve clean, utter recognition of qualifications, you may decide to comply with them if your profession is not regulated or take advanced training or an aptitude test - it all depends on the expert opinion given and your line of profession.

Recognizing a foreign diploma does not require to have a permit to stay in the country, you can order this compliance assessment even while in another state.

The foreign qualifications confirmation procedure has to be paid for, and the said fee amount is established by the institution responsible for the compliance assessment. This may be a sum of several hundred euros, reaching up to 500 euros. If you live in Germany and are a recipient of social assistance or the Bürgergeld/ALG-II unemployment benefit, it is likely that you can disburden the payment of the fee upon the institution responsible for paying the benefit. Since the payment sum is quite large, it makes sense to first check with the inspecting institution the fee amount, as well as the possibilities of the fee to be paid by state institutions.

What documents usually have to be submitted for a diploma or professional qualifications recognition?

The definitive list of documents to be provided will be received from the inspecting institution. Typically, the required documents include as follows:

§ Higher education diploma confirmation (nostrification) in Germany

Higher education diploma confirmation (nostrification) as such is carried out as described above on this page, but here some additional features are worth being taken into consideration.

In Germany there is the Central Office for Foreign Education (Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen, ZAB). If your line of profession does not refer to regulated occupations in Germany, it doesn’t have to be recognized. But in this case you can apply for a diploma assessment. The certificate issued contains a description of the educational qualifications, as well as the possibility to apply them in Germany, which makes it easier for a foreign specialist to find work in Germany. The assessment application with all the required documents attached can be submitted through the ZAB special online service.

§ Analysis, verification of occupational qualifications in Germany without supporting documents

In case of complete or partial absence of documents evidencing vocational education and training, a foreign specialist can still count on recognition of their qualifications. To do this, s/he has to take an aptitude test. This test is held by the institution/ agency responsible for the qualifications recognition. Typically, for this purpose, the applicant is interviewed, along with simulating occupational situations and doing specific test assignments at the enterprise. A decision on the qualifications recognition is taken based on the results of these activities.

The vocational qualifications analysis is usually carried out in German, at that using dictionaries or a translator/ interpreter assistance is allowed. The costs of this analysis are usually borne by the Federal Employment Agency or other government bodies.

§ Evidencing the German language proficiency

Although evidencing the German language proficiency is not required to confirm a diploma or another document on education, however, in order to work within a regulated profession, you have to confirm your knowledge of the German language at a certain level. What level of language proficiency is required depends on the profession. In addition, you may have to take a proficiency exam in Foreign Language for Specific Purposes, Fachsprache.

§ Сounselling on qualifications recognition or confirmation

In Germany, there is a special service that advises foreign specialists on the issues related to the foreign educational qualifications recognition. This service provides telephone consultations in German and English. The service phone number is: 030-1815-1111 (within Germany), 00-49-30-1815-1111(from abroad).

Consultations are also provided by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB), their phone number is: 0228 501-664 (Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.)

Besides, there are counselling centers within the framework of the «Integration Through Qualification (IQ)», Support Program, where you can get free advice on the diplomas confirmation and qualifications recognition.

Besides, the Otto Benecke Stiftung e.V. Higher Education Guarantee Fund is engaged in the foreign qualifications recognition or diplomas confirmation assistance.

More helpful services:

§ German laws governing the foreign educational qualifications recognition

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