Applying for recognition of a foreign professional qualification from the EU/EEA/Switzerland as a career qualification for work as a civil servant in the federal service in Germany
The activity of a civil servant is regulated in Germany. This means that in order for you to be able to work in Germany as a civil servant in the federal service, you need recognition.
In the recognition procedure, the Federal Office of Administration compares your qualification with a qualification required under German career law. In doing so, the Federal Office of Administration examines equivalence.
Note: There is another procedure for working as a civil servant. This procedure is called appointment as a civil servant. With successful recognition, you can apply for federal civil servant positions.
If you have a professional qualification from a country of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you can apply for recognition in Germany. You must also be a citizen of an EU, EEA or Swiss country.
If you are a national or a third-country national, recognition is not possible. Third countries are all countries that do not belong to the EU, the EEA or Switzerland. You can also apply for the procedure from abroad.
You submit an application to the Federal Office of Administration for recognition of your professional qualifications as a career qualification.
You can submit the application with the documents to the competent authority or send it by post. Do not ship originals. Sometimes you can also send the application electronically. The Federal Office of Administration will provide you with more information.
The Federal Office of Administration will then check whether your training corresponds to the German training and whether all other requirements are met.
The Federal Office of Administration compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification. It will be 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 exam
If your professional qualification is equivalent, your foreign professional qualification will be recognised. The authority can confirm the result to you in writing. With successful recognition, you can apply for federal civil servant positions. That's a different procedure. You may need 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 make up for the differences through your work 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 not be possible to compensate for the essential differences by this knowledge.
The Federal Office of Administration will tell you the main differences and why you cannot compensate for the significant differences with your professional experience. The decision from the competent authority also states the level of your training and the level required in Germany.
You can make a compensatory measure to compensate for the significant differences.
There are various compensatory measures:
- Adaptation period: The adaptation period lasts a maximum of three years.
- Aptitude test: The aptitude test examines the areas where significant differences have been identified.
You can often choose between an adaptation period or an aptitude test. In certain cases, the Federal Office of Administration decides whether you will take an adaptation period or an aptitude test. Sometimes you need to do both compensatory measures. The Federal Office of Administration will provide you with more information.
If you successfully complete the compensatory measure and meet all the requirements, your professional qualification will be recognised. Then you have the same professional rights as a person with a German professional qualification. With the recognition, you can apply for civil servant positions in the federal government.
Who should I contact?
Let an IQ counselling centre advise you personally on this procedure and your qualifications. The advisors will also help you with your documents before submitting your application. The consultation is free of charge.
If you are abroad: You can also use the hotline to reach the Central Service Centre for Professional Recognition (ZSBA). This offers you in-depth advice and support in the recognition procedure and carries out on-site counselling.
Federal Office of Administration (BVA)
- Equivalence of your professional qualification
- You are a citizen of a country of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
- Your professional qualification must come from an EU, EEA or Swiss country. Or: Your professional qualification has been recognised 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.
Which documents are required?
The Federal Office of Administration will provide information on which documents you need to submit. Important documents are in general:
- Application form from the competent authority
- if there is no application form: an informal application
- Proof of identity (passport or identity card)
- Marriage certificate (if your name has changed as a result of marriage)
- Proof of your professional qualification from a country of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
- Evidence can be, for example: Certificates or certificates
- The professional qualification must be required in your country of training for work in the public sector.
- If the activity is not regulated in your country of training:
- Certificate from the competent authority in your country of training attesting to a regulated training course or
- Proof that you have carried out the activity for at least one year in the last 10 years.
- In the case of professional qualifications from third countries that have been recognised in the EU, EEA or Switzerland: Certificate of at least 3 years of professional experience in the country of recognition. The certificate must be issued by the competent authority in the country of recognition.
- If available: Letter of recognition for your professional qualification. Civil servants work in a variety of professions. Perhaps you have already had your professional qualification recognised in Germany. Then you should submit the notification of recognition with the application.
- If available: Proof of your professional experience (e.g. job references)
- If available: Proof of your other qualifications (e.g. professional training or seminars)
The Federal Office of Administration will inform you which documents you need to show in the original or hand in as a copy. Some copies must be officially certified.
You must submit your documents in German. The translations must be carried out by publicly appointed or authorised translators.
What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?
There is no deadline.
Sometimes documents are still missing from the procedure. The Federal Office of Administration will then inform you by when you have to submit the documents. As a result, the procedure may be prolonged.
§ 2 Career Qualification Recognition Ordinance (LBAV)
Section 18 (1) Nos. 1 and 2 of the Federal Civil Service Act (BBG)
§ 7 Federal Civil Service Act (BBG)
You can take legal action against the decision of the competent authority within a certain period of time (e.g. lodge an appeal). The decision will then be reviewed. Details on this can be found in the information on legal remedies at the end of your decision. It is best to talk to the competent authority first before taking legal action against the decision.
What else should I know?
Working without recognition by the Federal Office of Administration
With many university degrees, it is possible to apply for federal civil servant positions even without recognition by the Federal Office of Administration. The federal authority that advertises the civil servant position then decides whether the requirements for recognition of the career qualification are met. Which university degrees are required is stated in the announcement.
Working as an employee covered by collective bargaining agreements or employees covered by collective bargaining agreements
You can also work in the federal civil service without recognition of a career qualification. Then you will not be able to work as a civil servant. However, they can work as so-called employees covered by collective bargaining agreements or employees covered by collective bargaining agreements.
Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements receive an employment contract and can be dismissed. Civil servants do not receive an employment contract. They are appointed by the state. The appointment is usually valid for life after a probationary period. 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 of strikes.
If you want to work as an employee covered by collective bargaining agreements or employees covered by collective bargaining agreements, you must also provide proof of your qualifications. Your employer will tell you what qualifications you need to prove.
If a university degree is a prerequisite for the job, a certificate evaluation is often necessary.
A certificate evaluation can make it easier for you to access the German labour market. The Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) will evaluate your certificate. Please note: The certificate evaluation does not replace the recognition of your professional qualification. You will only receive recognition of your professional qualification from the competent authority.
Partial access to the profession
Did you obtain your professional qualification in an EU, EEA or Swiss country? Then you can work in the profession without recognition. However, they need so-called partial access to the profession. You must apply for partial access to the profession at the competent authority.
With partial access to the profession, the following applies:
- They are not allowed to carry out all activities in the profession.
- You may only use the job title of your country of training.
To be eligible for partial access, you must meet the following requirements:
- With your professional qualification, you can work in your country of training without restriction.
- Your professional qualification is not equivalent to the German professional qualification. There are significant 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 carried out by specially trained persons.
- They are suitable for health.
- They are personally suitable.
- You have a certain knowledge of German.
Procedure for ethnic German repatriates
As a late repatriate, you can choose between 2 procedures for professional recognition:
- You submit a request for the procedure described here.
- You submit an application for the procedure under the Federal Expellees Act (§ 10 BVFG).
That's up to you. The competent authority will advise you.
Technically approved by
Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community
Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training
Professionally released on
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.