The procedure

The starting point for the determination of the equivalence of professional qualifications according to the BQFG is always the German occupation and not the profession of the home country. The equivalence of qualifications gained abroad is verified with a German reference qualification. In other words, it must first be clarified in which German profession you can work with your foreign professional qualification.

Since there is no central office in NRW to carry out the recognition procedures, the next step is to determine which institution is responsible for your reference profession. Then the application is submitted to the competent authority.

Step 1: Determine the reference profession

The reference profession refers to the profession in Germany, with which a foreign professional qualification is compared in the examination of equivalence on the basis of defined criteria. Before an application for recognition of the foreign professional qualification can be made, the reference profession must first be determined.

The foreign vocational qualification is considered to be equivalent if it does not have any significant differences from the German reference profession and thus enables the pursuit of a comparable professional activity. A full match is not required. Thus, in the case of minor differences, relevant professional experience is also strongly taken into account.

To research your reference profession, you can find information on the following websites or Find a contact person:

  • The information portal for the recognition of foreign educational Qualifications (ANABIN) provides information on the evaluation of foreign educational qualifications and supports the classification of a foreign qualification in the German education system.
  • The Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) is the central Office for the evaluation of foreign qualifications throughout Germany. These include school, vocational and university-acquired qualifications.
  • Foreign skills Approval (FOSA) of the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (IHK) is responsible for the examination and recognition of foreign professional qualifications. IHK and Chambers of Crafts HWK advise on which German vocational qualification most closely matches your foreign professional qualification.
  • The BQ portal is an information portal for foreign professional qualifications of the Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy. You will receive extensive information on foreign education systems and professional qualifications.
  • The "Hotline working and living in Germany" (BAMF) answers your questions about professional recognition in German and English. For further information, please call: + 49 (0) 301815-1111 Monday to Friday in the time from 9am to 3pm.
  • The IQ network integration through qualification provides a wide range of offers. The main focus is on advising on the recognition of qualifications acquired abroad and advising on qualifications in the context of the federal and state recognition laws: IQ Network Nordrhine-Westphalia.
Step 2: Locate the competent authority

Applicants for recognition must contact the body responsible for their profession in order to verify the equivalence of their foreign professional qualifications.

There is no central office in NRW to carry out the recognition procedures. You can find out which position is responsible for your application in the recognition finder of the portal "recognition in Germany". If you are not sure, you are welcome to contact the team of the single point of contact NRW.

A list of the authorities responsible for recognition in NRW can be found in the brochures "signpost NRW for the recognition" of the country NRW and "Signpost recognition ² NRW" of the IQ-network.

Step 3: The Application

Applicants for recognition must contact the body responsible for their profession in order to verify the equivalence of their foreign professional qualifications. As a rule, you need the following documents:

  • A tabular list of your completed training courses and employment activities
  • Indication of your current place of residence
  • Proof of identity
  • Qualifications acquired abroad
  • Evidence of relevant professional experience or other qualifications, provided that they are necessary for the determination of equivalence
  • declaration as to whether and at which point you have already submitted an application for equivalence
  • If. Decision on the determination of equivalence

Additional documents may be required depending on the profession. Please contact the competent authority. The team of the single point of contact will be happy to help you with the clarification.

Often these documents must be submitted in the original or as a certified copy to the competent authorities. However, according to the BQFG, documents of EU citizens can in principle also be transmitted electronically (link). As a rule, you must present all documents in the German language. If the documents are written in another language, the competent authorities may also require a translation from a publicly-ordered translator.


Process sequence

For recognition, the competent body shall, on the basis of the documents submitted, verify whether To what extent your foreign qualification corresponds to a German qualification for the profession you have chosen. This review is based on defined formal criteria, such as the content and duration of the training. Their relevant professional experience is taken into account as well as other relevant qualifications.



The Fristlauf at the time of the application begins with the confirmation of the competent authority that the required documents are fully available.

The competent authority shall confirm to the applicant or applicant within one month the receipt of the application. The competent authority must, as a rule, decide on equivalence within three months. The period begins with the receipt of the complete documentation. It may be extended if this is justified by the specific nature of the matter.



Applications and forms can be found on the website of the competent authority. The team of the single point of contact will be happy to help you with the clarification.



The cost of the procedure varies. They depend on the effort in each case and are governed by the legal regulations for the respective profession. The competent authority shall determine the exact costs individually and inform you about them.

Additional costs may also arise (e.g. For translations and certifications or compensatory measures). These costs are individually different.

Online Application

The single point of contact allows you to submit your application electronically in the implementation of art 57a Directive 2005/36/EC.

In general, the electronic application is possible for all professions regulated in Germany. It is only intended for the recognition of professional qualifications obtained within a Member State of the EU, EEA or Switzerland. Professional qualifications acquired outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland are not entitled to apply for recognition electronically.

Online application.