Occupation in industry, commerce and services; application for recognition of a foreign professional qualification for federally regulated occupation

If you have an educational qualification from abroad, you can apply for official recognition of your educational qualification.

Description

You can have a training qualification from abroad officially recognized in Germany by the Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHK). The procedure for recognition is called: Equivalency assessment (BQFG).

In the equivalence assessment, your training qualification is compared with a specific German training qualification. Important criteria for the comparison are the content and duration of the training. You will receive a notification of the result of the procedure. The notification will list any existing vocational qualifications and any qualifications that may still be lacking.

The certificate makes your foreign training qualification transparent for employers and thus increases your chances on the labor market. For skilled workers abroad outside the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, a recognition procedure is usually a prerequisite for the issuance of a visa.

There are around 350 state-recognized education and training degrees in the area of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Germany. A list of these degrees can be found, for example, on the website of the IHK FOSA.

In order to apply for an equivalence determination, you must identify a German training qualification. This German training qualification must match your training qualification. That is why it is important to get detailed advice before you submit an application.

You submit the application to the IHK Foreign Skills Approval (IHK FOSA) in Nuremberg. In Bavaria, the IHK FOSA is centrally responsible for determining equivalency.

The application is independent of nationality and residence status; applications can also be submitted from abroad.

Accelerated procedure for skilled workers

As an employer in Germany, you can apply for an accelerated procedure for skilled workers from third countries. You apply for the procedure with the power of attorney of the skilled worker at the responsible foreigners authority at your company headquarters in Germany. In this accelerated procedure for skilled workers, the duration of the procedure for determining equivalence at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce is shortened, among other things. Additional fees will be charged depending on the specific effort required for the accelerated procedure for skilled workers. For more information, please visit the portals Make It In Germany and Recognition in Germany.

Prerequisites

  • You have a state-recognized training qualification from abroad and can prove your professional qualification with a certificate of completion. Informal or non-formal qualifications cannot be recognized in Germany.
  • The training qualification can be assigned to a German training qualification in the area of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
  • You want to work in Germany.

Procedure

The application for equivalence determination together with all necessary documents is received by the responsible IHK FOSA. This examines the equivalence of the training qualification:

  • The IHK compares your foreign training qualification with the German training qualification.
  • If your training qualification is equivalent, it will be recognized. You will receive the notification of equivalence (notification of recognition).
  • If there are significant differences to the German training qualification, the proven work experience or other relevant evidence (e.g. further training) will also be examined. In this way, full equivalence can be established in many cases.
  • If full equivalence cannot be established, the educational qualification will not be recognized. However, you will receive a notice of partial equivalence. In the notice, the existing qualifications are presented positively and the main differences to the German reference occupation are described. This will enable you to obtain further qualifications in a targeted manner and to submit a new application for an equivalence determination at a later date.
  • If no equivalence could be established between your foreign professional qualification and the German reference qualification, the application will be rejected. In this case, there will be no presentation of the positive qualifications.

Special notes

  • You can obtain a free individual initial consultation on the application, procedure, costs and duration as well as possibilities for financial support from the local chambers of industry and commerce (IHK). You can find your local IHK using the IHK Finder under "Further links".
  • There are numerous other counseling services (for links, see "Further links").
    • You can find them on the "Recognition in Germany" portal.
    • The counseling centers of the IQ network ("Integration through Qualification"), the labor administration and other municipal offices also provide information on the recognition of foreign qualifications. The advisors will also help you with your documents before you apply.
    • If you are abroad, the "Working and Living in Germany" hotline is available to answer questions about the recognition of your qualifications. If necessary, the hotline will refer you to the Zentrale Servicestelle Berufsanerkennung (ZSBA) for more in-depth advice.

Deadlines

Sometimes documents are still missing in the procedure. The IHK FOSA will then inform you by when you have to submit the documents later.

If you want to take legal action against the decision of the IHK FOSA: You can file a written appeal within 4 weeks after receiving the decision.

Processing time

In the regular procedure:

  • The IHK FOSA confirms within four weeks that your documents have arrived. At the same time, it will inform you whether any documents are missing and, if so, which ones. The letter is also accompanied by the fee notice with the necessary payment information.
  • If all the required documents are available, the procedure should take a maximum of 3 months. In individual cases, the procedure may be extended once.

In the accelerated skilled worker procedure:

  • The IHK FOSA confirms after a maximum of 2 weeks that your documents have arrived.
  • It will inform you whether any documents are missing and, if so, which ones. The letter is also accompanied by the fee notice with the necessary payment information.
  • If all required documents are available, the procedure should take a maximum of 2 months. In individual cases, the procedure may be extended once.
  • In the accelerated skilled worker procedure, all communication takes place via the responsible foreigners authority.

Required documents

  • Required Documents:

    • Curriculum vitae (tabular list of education and training completed and employment)
    • Proof of identity (identity card or passport, if necessary proof of change of name in color copy)
    • Foreign proof of education (diploma/diploma) - In original language in color copy and in German or English translation (original or color copy)
    • If available: Evidence of relevant work experience (e.g., job references, workbooks, letters of reference) - In original language in color copy and in German or English translation in color copy.
    • If available: Other certificates of qualification (e.g. certificates of further education or retraining) - In original language in color copy and in German or English translation in color copy.
    • Only for persons who are not citizens of the EU/EEA/Switzerland or who live outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland: Declaration of intention to work (e.g. proof of application for an entry visa for gainful employment, proof of contact with an employer).
    • Information on the content of the foreign qualification (e.g. curriculum, overview of subjects) - In original language in color copy and in German or English translation in color copy
    • Information on any application for equivalence that has already been submitted
      (Please indicate the office to which you submitted the application).

    For the accelerated procedure:

    • above mentioned documents
    • Power of attorney according to § 81a Residence Act

    Additional documents may be requested during the course of the recognition procedure. This is usually due to country-specific features of your education.

    If your documents are not available in German, you must submit German translations of your documents. The translations must be made by translators who are publicly appointed or sworn.

Forms

  • Form, Bavaria-wide: Antrag auf Gleichwertigkeitsfeststellung
    Please note

    This form has to be signed and sent to the responsible authority. You can sign the form manually and send it by email/fax or sign the form electronically with your qualified electronic signature an send it by (secure) email. If the responsible authority has set up a De-Mail account, you can also send the form by De-Mail using an sender-confirmed message.

  • Form, Bavaria-wide: Application for foreign professional qualifications equivalence according to the German Professional Qualifications Assessment Act (BQFG)
    Please note

    This form has to be signed and sent to the responsible authority. You can sign the form manually and send it by email/fax or sign the form electronically with your qualified electronic signature an send it by (secure) email. If the responsible authority has set up a De-Mail account, you can also send the form by De-Mail using an sender-confirmed message.

  • Form, Bavaria-wide: Folgeantrag nach Bescheid über eine teilweise Gleichwertigkeit
    Please note

    This form has to be signed and sent to the responsible authority. You can sign the form manually and send it by email/fax or sign the form electronically with your qualified electronic signature an send it by (secure) email. If the responsible authority has set up a De-Mail account, you can also send the form by De-Mail using an sender-confirmed message.

  • Form, Bavaria-wide: Antrag auf Gleichwertigkeitsfeststellung im Verfahren nach §§ 81a AufenthG, 14a BQFG
    Please note

    This form has to be signed and sent to the responsible authority. You can sign the form manually and send it by email/fax or sign the form electronically with your qualified electronic signature an send it by (secure) email. If the responsible authority has set up a De-Mail account, you can also send the form by De-Mail using an sender-confirmed message.

  • Form, Bavaria-wide: Folgeantrag im Verfahren nach §§ 81a AufenthG, 14a BQFG
    Please note

    This form has to be signed and sent to the responsible authority. You can sign the form manually and send it by email/fax or sign the form electronically with your qualified electronic signature an send it by (secure) email. If the responsible authority has set up a De-Mail account, you can also send the form by De-Mail using an sender-confirmed message.

Fees

  • For the regular procedure: 100 - 600 EUR depending on the specific effort.

    As the applicant, you must bear these costs yourself. In addition, you may personally incur further costs (e.g. for translations or certifications). Under certain conditions, you can receive financial support for the costs.

    The additional costs for the accelerated procedure amounting to EUR 411 are borne by the employer.

Remedy

Objection or administrative court action

We recommend: First talk to the responsible authority before taking legal action against the decision.

Links to more information

Status: 23.08.2022

Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wirtschaft, Landesentwicklung und Energie

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  • Online transactions, Bavaria-wide
  • Online transactions, locally limited
  • Prefillable Form, Bavaria-wide
  • Legal bases, Bavaria-wide
  • Legal bases, locally limited
  • Fees, Bavaria-wide
  • Fees, locally limited
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