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Physiotherapist with training from EU/EEA/Switzerland, recognise professional qualification

The profession of physiotherapist is regulated in Germany. This means: In order to be able to work as a physiotherapist in Germany, you need a state permit. With the permit, you may use the professional title "physiotherapist" and work in the profession.

Even with a professional qualification from the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you can obtain the state permit from the competent authority in Germany.

In order to obtain the permit, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognised.

In the recognition procedure, the competent body compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification and checks the equivalence. The equivalence of the professional qualification is an important prerequisite for the granting of the state permit.

In addition to the equivalence of the professional qualification, you must also meet other requirements for the granting of the permit. Further requirements are, for example, sufficient German language skills and health suitability.

If your professional qualification does not come from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, other regulations apply.

You can also submit the application for the procedure from abroad.

Process flow


You apply to the competent authority for permission to use the professional title "physiotherapist". You can hand in the application with the documents to the competent body or send it by post. Do not send originals. Sometimes you can send the application electronically. The competent body will inform you.

Checking the equivalence

The competent body will then check whether you meet all the requirements. One important requirement is the equivalence of your professional qualification. The competent body compares your professional qualification from abroad with your German professional qualification as a physical therapist. 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 recognised. The competent body can confirm the result to you in writing. You still have to fulfil the other requirements. Then you will receive permission to use the professional title "physiotherapist".

Are there 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 have to prove the professional practice. 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. In that case, your foreign professional qualification will not be recognised. You will then not be allowed to work as a physiotherapist in Germany.

However, the competent authority will tell you the essential differences and why you cannot compensate for the essential differences through your professional practice.

In most cases, you can make a compensatory measure. This will enable you to compensate for the substantial differences.

Compensatory measures

There are different compensatory measures:

  • Adaptation course: the adaptation course lasts a maximum of three years.
  • Aptitude test: In the aptitude test, only the areas in which substantial differences have been identified are tested. The aptitude test consists of a practical examination.

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 receive permission to use the professional title "physiotherapist".

Competent authority

Lower Saxony State Office for Social Affairs, Youth and Family - Lüneburg Branch Office


  • You have a professional qualification as a physiotherapist from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland.
  • You want to work as a physical therapist in Germany.
  • Personal suitability: You are reliable for work as a physical therapist and have no criminal record.
  • Health suitability: You are mentally and physically able to work as a physical therapist.
  • You have German language skills at the required level. This is normally language level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Which documents are required?

The relevant office will tell you what documents you need to submit. Important documents are generally:

  • Proof of identity (identity card or passport).
  • Marriage certificate (if your name has changed due to marriage)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Proof of your professional qualification (e.g. certificates, professional certificate)
  • Evidence of education
  • Evidence of your relevant professional experience as a physical therapist
  • Evidence of further relevant knowledge for working as a physiotherapist
  • You do not yet live or work in Germany? Then you may need to provide evidence: You want to work in Germany in the profession. Proofs are e.g. applications for a job, invitations to job interviews, personal statement

You usually hand in these documents later. The competent office will inform you when to hand in the documents:

  • Proof of your personal suitability: criminal record extract or certificate of good conduct from your country of origin. The proof must not be older than 3 months at the time of application.
  • Proof of your health suitability: Medical certificate. The certificate must not be older than 3 months at the time of application.
  • Proof of your German language skills: Language certificate

The responsible office will inform you which documents you have to submit as a simple copy, as a certified copy or as an original.

What are the fees?

The responsible office will inform you about the costs. The costs generally depend on the time and effort required for processing.

Additional costs may arise (e.g. for translations or certifications). These costs vary individually.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?


Sometimes documents are still missing from the procedure. The competent office will then inform you by when you have to submit the documents. This may prolong the procedure.

Processing duration

Processing Time: 4 Months
The competent body will inform you if any documents are missing. If the documents are complete, the procedure takes a maximum of 4 months.


You can take legal action (e.g. file an objection) against the decision of the competent body within a certain period of time. The decision will then be reviewed. Details on this can be found in the appeal instructions at the end of your decision. We recommend that you first talk to the responsible office before taking legal action against the decision.

What else should I know?

Freedom to provide services

You only want to offer services in Germany sometimes and for a short time? Then you usually do not need state permission. You must meet these requirements:

  • You must be established in another state of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland.
  • You must provide proof of your professional qualification.
  • You must notify the competent body of your activity in writing.

The competent body will inform you whether you are allowed to provide services or whether you have to take an aptitude test.

European Professional Card

You can apply for a European Professional Card (EPC). You can apply online on the European Commission's website. The European Professional Card is an electronic procedure for the recognition of professional qualifications. It is only valid for EU countries and certain professions.

Notification of equivalence

In the authorisation procedure, the examination of equivalence (recognition procedure) is also carried out. You can apply for a separate notification for the result of the examination.

Procedure for late repatriates

As a late repatriate, you can either go through the recognition procedure according to the laws mentioned here or according to the Federal Expellees Act. You can decide this yourself. The competent office will advise you which procedure suits you best.

Technically approved by

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Federal Ministry of Health

Professionally released on



The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)