Students holding their diploma in their hands
Living & working

Recognition of foreign degrees

Florian Mayerhoffer | 23.03.2022

This is how the 
recognition of foreign documents works in Germany

Have you completed a state-recognised degree or vocational training abroad and want to live and work in Germany? Then you may need official recognition for your foreign degrees in order to work in this field. This is the case, for example, in medical or legal professions. Recognition allows the activity learned to be equated with a comparable German qualification.


In order to obtain official recognition of foreign degrees or diplomas, an application procedure must be followed. lingoking shows you what you need for this and how the procedure works.

What does official recognition mean?

Official recognition of foreign qualifications equates professional qualifications with German education and training. Anyone wishing to work in certain regulated fields in Germany must apply for this sort of recognition of foreign degrees or diplomas. Only when this status has been recognised is it possible to work in this profession in Germany.

Who needs such a recognition?


Whether the recognition of a diploma or a comparable certificate is necessary at all in your individual case depends on two factors:


  • country of origin
  • professional group

If you come from a non-EU country and have acquired state-recognised vocational training there, you generally always have to go through a recognition procedure. If you are an EU citizen, this obligation does not apply. The recognition of foreign educational qualifications in Germany is not relevant for the majority of EU citizens.


Whether you need recognition at all also depends on your occupational group. In Germany, the legislator distinguishes between regulated and non-regulated professions. Regulated professions require mandatory official recognition of your foreign qualifications – regardless of the country of origin. They may only be carried out under certain legal conditions.


Regulated professions are for example:

  • Lawyers and Judges
  • Doctors
  • Nursing staff
  • Medical staff
  • Teachers
  • Pre-school teachers
  • Educators
  • Engineers
  • Public sector employees


Even if you are pursuing a non-regulated profession, recognition of your foreign degrees is still useful, since it will allow you to show potential employers that your qualification from home is officially recognised in Germany. This improves your chances on the job market and assures potential employers that you are a specialist applicant.

How recognition works

The most important prerequisite for initiating recognition of foreign qualifications is proof of completed vocational training in the home country. The first step is to find a suitable reference occupation in Germany. There are numerous advice services offered by the federal government for this purpose. Here applicants can get more detailed information on whether their profession is regulated or not. The staff will then provide information on where to start the application process. Find the right advice service for you here. 


If not all documents of the professional qualification are still available, applicants can carry out a so-called quality analysis. This is especially true for typical apprenticeship or master craftsman occupations. This examination can take place in the form of a technical interview or a trial work placement in a company.

Documents required for recognition 

  • Completed application form or, if applicable, informal written application
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of professional qualification
  • Confirmation of the content, form and scope of the training
  • Translations of documentation and confirmations
  • Officially certified copies of the documentation by citizens' offices or consulates
Certified Translations

For the smooth recognition of foreign degrees, the error-free translation of foreign documents is the basic prerequisite. For this, you will definitely need certified translations of your academic and professional qualifications. The translation for the recognition of foreign degrees can only be carried out by certified translators.

Decision on recognition

Once all the required documents have been received by the competent office, processing begins and with it the application procedure. Your application will now be checked for completeness and further documents may be requested. If all the documents are complete, they will be processed and a decision will be made after three months at the latest:


In the case of recognition, the foreign degree or diploma acquired is deemed equivalent in Germany. In this case, the regulated profession can be entered without further measures.


If there are substantial differences between the foreign and the domestic qualification, the application for recognition is rejected. In many cases, recognition can nevertheless be achieved with a compensatory measure or additional qualification.

What does recognition of foreign degrees cost?

Recognition of foreign qualifications is a typical official procedure and thus involves costs. As a rule, these are between 200 and 400 euros, but can also exceed this amount. If you work in regulated professions such as medicine or law, these costs may be slightly higher. Here, the processing takes longer due to verification and is therefore more cost-intensive.


Please find more information on the Information portal of the German government for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications.

About the author

Florian Mayerhoffer,
Head of Marketing and Brand

Florian — Head of Marketing at lingoking since 2020 — is responsible for building up the brand & marketing department and the external presentation of the “lingoking” brand. Under the focus and the slogan “Push The boundaries”, the aim is to support e-commerce companies and marketplace sellers in their efforts to place their products on foreign markets and marketplaces in a way that is optimised for the country and target group.

Potrait of Florian Mayerhoffer, Head of Marketing and Brand at lingoking

Translations for the recognition of foreign degress