Civil servant in the federal service; application for recognition of a foreign professional qualification from the EU/EEA/Switzerland
Would you like to work as a civil servant in the Federal Civil Service in Germany? Then you need the qualification for a career in the federal service. You can have your foreign professional qualification recognized as a career qualification.
Working as a civil servant is regulated in Germany. This means that in order to work in Germany as a civil servant in the federal civil service, you need recognition.
In the recognition procedure, the Federal Office of Administration compares your qualification with a degree required under German career law. In the process, the Federal Office of Administration checks for equivalence.
Note: There is another procedure for working as a civil servant. This procedure is called: Appointment as a civil servant. With a successful recognition, you can apply for civil service positions in the federal government.
With a professional qualification from a country in the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you can apply for recognition in Germany. You must also be a national of a country in the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
If you are a national or citizen of a third country, recognition is not possible. Third countries are all countries that do not belong to the EU, EEA or Switzerland. You can also submit the application for the procedure from abroad.
- Equivalence of your professional qualification
- You are a national of a state of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
- Your professional qualification must come from a state of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland. Or: Your professional qualification was recognized there and you have worked in the profession there for three years.
- The professional qualification is required in your country of training for work in the public sector.
You submit an application for recognition of your professional qualifications as a career qualification to the Federal Office of Administration.
You can hand in the application with the documents to the responsible office or send it by mail. Do not send originals. Sometimes you can send the application electronically. The Federal Office of Administration will inform you.
The Federal Office of Administration will then check whether your education corresponds to the German education and whether all other requirements are met.
Checking the equivalence
The Federal Office of Administration compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification. It is checked whether your professional qualification is equivalent. The professional qualification is equivalent if there are no significant differences between your foreign professional qualification and the German professional qualification.
Possible results of the examination
If your professional qualification is equivalent, your foreign professional qualification will be recognized. The authority can confirm the result to you in writing. With a successful recognition, you can apply for civil service positions in the federal government. This is a different procedure. You may have to meet other requirements for this.
Are there any significant differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification? You may be able to compensate for the differences with your professional experience, other knowledge or skills. You must provide proof of professional experience. Knowledge and skills must be certified by an authority of the state in which you acquired the knowledge or skills.
However, it may be that the essential differences cannot be compensated by this knowledge.
The federal administrative office will tell you the essential differences and why you cannot make up the essential differences with your work experience. The notice from the competent office will also state the level of your education and the level required in Germany.
You can take a compensatory measure to make up for the substantial differences.
There are different compensatory measures:
- Adaptation course: the adaptation course lasts a maximum of three years.
- Aptitude test: The aptitude test examines the areas in which substantial differences have been identified.
You can often choose between an adaptation course or an aptitude test. In certain cases, the Federal Office of Administration decides whether you take an adaptation course or an aptitude test. Sometimes you will have to take both compensatory courses. The Federal Office of Administration will inform you.
If you successfully complete the compensatory measure and meet all the requirements, your professional qualification will be recognized. Then you have the same rights professionally as a person with the German professional qualification. With the recognition you can apply for civil service positions of the federal government.
Working without recognition by the Federal Office of Administration
With many university degrees, it is possible to apply for federal civil service positions even without recognition by the Federal Office of Administration. In this case, the federal authority that advertises the civil service position decides whether the requirements for recognition of the career qualification are met. Which university degrees are required is stated in the advertisement.
Working as a pay-scale employee
You can also work in the federal service without recognition of a career qualification. In this case, you cannot work as a civil servant. However, you can work as a so-called tariff employee.
Salaried employees receive an employment contract and can be dismissed. Civil servants do not receive an employment contract. They are appointed by the state. After a probationary period, the appointment is usually valid for life. This means that civil servants cannot be dismissed. Civil servants receive special rights and duties from the state. These are, for example, neutrality, loyalty, the orientation of their service to the common good or the prohibition to strike.
If you want to work as a civil servant, you also have to prove your qualifications. Your employer will tell you what qualifications you need to prove.
If a college degree is a requirement for the job, a credential evaluation is often needed.
A Zeugnisbewertung can make it easier for you to enter the German job market. The Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) evaluates your certificate. Please note: The certificate evaluation does not replace the recognition of your professional qualification. You can only obtain recognition of your professional qualification from the competent office.
Partial access to a profession
You have made your professional qualification in a state of the EU, the EEA or in Switzerland? Then you can work in the profession without recognition. However, you need a so-called partial professional access. You must apply for partial access to the profession at the competent authority.
With a partial professional access applies:
- You are not allowed to perform all activities in the profession.
- You may only use the professional title of your country of training.
You must meet the following requirements for partial access:
- You can work with your professional qualification without restriction in your country of training.
- Your professional qualification is not equivalent to the German professional qualification. There are substantial differences. In this case, a compensatory measure would cover the entire German training.
- Your professional qualification includes at least one so-called reserved activity of the German professional qualification. Reserved activities may only be performed by specially trained persons.
- You are suitable in terms of health.
- You are personally suitable.
- You have certain German language skills.
Procedure for late repatriates
As a late repatriate, you can choose between 2 procedures for professional recognition:
- You apply for the procedure described here.
- You apply for the procedure according to the Federal Expellees Act (§ 10 BVFG).
You can decide this. The responsible office will advise you.
There is no deadline.
Sometimes documents are still missing in the procedure. The Federal Office of Administration will then inform you by when you must submit the documents. The procedure may be extended as a result.
After one month at the latest: The competent body will inform you when it has received all the necessary documents. Then the procedure starts.
After 3 months at the latest: You will receive a decision with the result. In certain cases, the competent body may extend the procedure by one month. (3 Monate)
The Federal Office of Administration provides information on which documents you must submit. Important documents are generally:
- Application form from the responsible office
- if there is no application form: an informal request
- proof of identity (passport or identity card)
- Marriage certificate (if your name has changed due to marriage)
- Proof of your professional qualification from a state of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
- Proofs can be for example: Certificates or deeds
- Professional qualification must be necessary to work in the public service in your country of training.
- If the activity is not regulated in your country of training:
- Certificate from the competent authority in your country of education about a regulated education or training or
- Proof that you have carried out the activity for at least one year in the last 10 years.
- In case of professional qualifications from third countries recognized in the EU, EEA or Switzerland: Certificate of at least 3 years of professional experience in the state of recognition. The certificate must be from the competent authority in the state of recognition.
- If available: Recognition certificate for your professional qualification. Civil servants work in different professions. Perhaps you have already had your professional qualification recognized in Germany. If so, you should submit the certificate of recognition with your application.
- If available: Proof of your professional experience (for example, job references).
- If available: Proof of your other qualifications (for example, continuing professional education or seminars).
The Federal Office of Administration will tell you which documents you must show as originals or submit as copies. Some copies must be officially certified.
You must present your documents in German. The translations must be done by publicly appointed or authorized translators.
You can take legal action (e.g. file an objection) against the decision of the responsible office within a certain period. The decision will then be reviewed. Details on this can be found in the appeal instructions at the end of your decision. It is best to talk to the responsible office first before taking legal action against the decision.
Links to more information
Responsible for editing: Bundesministerium des Innern und für Heimat
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