Apply for a licence to practise as a psychotherapist with a professional qualification from the EU/EEA/Switzerland
The profession of psychotherapist is regulated in Germany. This means that in order to be able to work as a psychotherapist in Germany without restriction, you need a licence to practise medicine. The approbation is the state approval for the profession. This means that you are not allowed to work independently as a psychotherapist without a licence to practise medicine. Even with a professional qualification from a country of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you can obtain a license to practice medicine in Germany.
In order to obtain the licence to practise medicine, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognised. In the recognition procedure, the competent authority compares your professional qualification with the German professional qualification and checks its equivalence. The equivalence of the professional qualification is an important prerequisite for the granting of the approbation.
In addition to the equivalence of the professional qualification, you must also meet other requirements for the issuance of the permit. Other requirements are, for example, sufficient German language skills and health suitability.
If your professional qualification does not originate from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, different regulations apply.
You can also apply for the procedure from abroad.
You submit an application for a licence to practise as a psychotherapist with the competent authority.
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 competent authority will inform you.
The competent authority will then check whether your training corresponds to the German training and whether all other requirements are met. The licence to practise medicine can only be granted if your education from abroad is equivalent to the German training.
The competent authority compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification. The competent authority will check 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. You still have to meet the other requirements and prove your language skills. Then you will be granted a licence to practise as a psychotherapist.
Are there any significant differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification? Perhaps you can compensate for the differences through your professional practice, other knowledge or skills (lifelong learning). 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. You are then not allowed to work as a psychotherapist in Germany.
The competent authority will tell you the main differences and why you cannot compensate for the significant differences through your professional practice. 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 only those areas where significant differences have been identified. The aptitude test is an oral-practical case test.
You can choose between an adaptation period or an aptitude test.
If you successfully complete the compensatory measure and meet all other requirements, you will be granted a licence to practise as a psychotherapist.
Who should I contact?
Seek personal advice from an IQ counselling centre 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 process and carries out a location consultation.
- You have a professional qualification as a psychotherapist from the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
- You want to work as a psychotherapist in Germany.
- Personal suitability: You are reliable to work as a psychotherapist and have no criminal record.
- Health suitability: You can work mentally and physically as a psychotherapist.
- You have German language skills at the required level. As a rule, these are general language skills at level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and technical language skills at level C2.
Which documents are required?
The competent authority will inform you which documents you need to submit. Important documents are in general:
- Proof of identity (ID card or passport)
- Marriage certificate (if your name has changed as a result of marriage)
- Curriculum vitae
- Proof of your professional qualification (e.g. certificates, professional certificate)
- Proof of the content and duration of your training (e.g. Diploma Supplement, Transcript of Records)
- Proof of your relevant professional experience as a psychotherapist (e.g. job references)
- Information on whether you have already applied for a licence to practise medicine in Germany
- You don't live or work in Germany yet? Then you may need to prove that you want to work in the profession in Germany. Evidence includes, for example, job applications, invitations to job interviews, personal statement
You will usually submit these documents later. The competent authority will inform you when you should hand in the documents:
- Proof of your personal suitability: extract from the criminal record or certificate of good conduct from your country of origin. The proof must be no more than 3 months old at the time of application.
- Proof of your health suitability: Medical certificate. The proof must be no more than 3 months old at the time of application.
- Proof of your German language skills: Language certificate.
To obtain your licence to practise medicine, you need general German language skills at level B2. You can also submit the required proof of language proficiency during the approbation procedure. During the approbation procedure, you must also take a technical language test at level C2.
The competent authority will inform you which documents you need to submit as a simple copy, as a certified copy or in the original.
If your documents are not in German, you must submit German translations of your documents. Translations must be carried out by translators who are publicly appointed or authorised.
What are the fees?
The competent authority will inform you about the costs. The costs generally depend on the amount of work involved.
In addition, there may be additional costs (e.g. for translations or certifications). These costs vary from person to person.
What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?
There is no deadline.
Sometimes documents are still missing from the procedure. The competent authority will then inform you by when you have to submit the documents. As a result, the procedure may be prolonged.
Processing Time: 4 MonthsThe competent authority will confirm that your application and documents have been received after a maximum of one month. The competent authority will inform you if any documents are missing. If the documents are complete, the procedure will take a maximum of 4 months.
Applications / forms
- Forms: Forms can be obtained from the competent authority.
- Online procedure possible: Ask the competent authority whether you can submit the application online.
- Personal appearance required: no
What else should I know?
Partial access to the profession for professional qualifications from the EU, EEA or Switzerland:
Your professional qualification is not equivalent and there is only a partial match with the German professional qualification? Can the activity be objectively separated from the other activities of a psychotherapist? Then you may be able to work in the profession with a partial access to the profession. However, with partial access to the profession, you are not allowed to carry out all activities in the profession. You will then only be allowed to carry out the activities for which you are qualified through your training.
There are certain requirements for the partial professional license:
- You can work in this profession with your professional qualification in your country of training.
- Their professional qualification only partially corresponds to the German professional qualification. The differences to the German professional qualification refer to certain activities that are important for the profession in Germany.
- Your professional qualification must correspond to a specific activity of the professional qualification in Germany.
- Health suitability
- Personal suitability
- German language skills: You must have the German language skills required for the partial practice of the profession.
You can apply for partial access to the profession at the competent authority.
Temporary Professional Permit
With the so-called temporary professional permit, you can work for a limited period of time without a license to practice medicine. With the temporary professional permit, you are allowed to work under the supervision of a person with a license to practice medicine. You may only be allowed to carry out activities in a specific area of work. You must meet the following requirements for the temporary professional permit:
- Proof of your professional qualification
- Health suitability
- Personal suitability
- German language skills: You must provide proof of the German language skills required to practice the profession within the framework of the professional permit.
You can apply for the temporary professional permit from the competent authority.
You are not allowed to apply for a temporary professional permit if you have submitted an application for a licence to practise medicine at the same time.
Freedom to provide services
Do you only want to offer services in Germany sometimes and for a short time? In this case, you usually do not need the state permit. You must meet these requirements:
- You must be established in another country of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland.
- You will need to prove your professional qualification.
- You must report your activity in writing to the competent authority.
The competent authority will inform you.
Certificate of equivalence
In the licensing procedure, the equivalence check (recognition procedure) can also be carried out. You can apply for a separate decision for the result of the examination.
Procedure for ethnic German repatriates
As a late repatriate, you can either go through the recognition procedure in accordance with the laws mentioned here or in accordance with the Federal Expellees Act. This is up to you. The competent authority will advise you on which procedure is right for you.
Technically approved by
Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training
Federal Ministry of Health
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.