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Apply for recognition as a nurse with a professional qualification from the EU/EEA/Switzerland


The nursing profession is regulated in Germany. This means that in order to work as a nurse in Germany, you need a state license. With the permit, you can use the professional title "Pflegefachfrau" or "Pflegefachmann" and work in the profession. You can also apply for the professional title "Pflegefachperson".

If you have a professional qualification from the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you can also obtain a state permit from the competent authority in Germany. In order to obtain the permit, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognized. In the recognition procedure, the competent authority 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 a state license.

A professional qualification from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland is usually automatically recognized when you apply for recognition. This means that no equivalence check is carried out. It is assumed that the training is equivalent. However, there may be exceptions to this rule. This depends on the country in which you completed your training and when. If you started your vocational training after your country of training joined the EU/EEA, your professional qualification will generally be recognized automatically.
If your professional qualification does not originate from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, other regulations apply.

In addition to the equivalence of the professional qualification, you must also meet other requirements for the permit to be issued. Further requirements include, for example, sufficient German language skills and health suitability.
You can also apply for the procedure from abroad.

Process flow

Application

You apply to the competent authority for permission to use the professional title "Pflegefachfrau" or "Pflegefachmann". Or you can apply for the professional title "Pflegefachperson".

You can submit the application with the documents to the competent authority, send it by post or upload it electronically. Do not send any originals.


Examination of the application by the authority

The competent authority will check whether you meet all the requirements for being granted permission to use the professional title "Pflegefachperson", "Pflegefachfrau" or "Pflegefachmann". One requirement is that your professional qualification is recognized.

Automatic recognition

As a rule, the automatic recognition procedure applies if you began your professional training after your country of training joined the EU/EEA. There are other cases in which your professional qualification can be recognized automatically. The competent authority will inform you.

In the case of automatic recognition, the equivalence of your professional qualification is not checked individually. This means that if you meet all other requirements, you will receive permission to use the professional title "Pflegefachperson", "Pflegefachfrau" or "Pflegefachmann". The other requirements include your health suitability, reliability and German language skills.

Certificate of conformity for professional qualifications acquired before the country of training joined the EU/EEA

Vocational qualifications can also be automatically recognized if they were started before the EU/EEA accession of your country of training (or do not correspond to the legal designations). To do this, you must submit a certificate from the competent authority in your country of training stating that your professional qualification meets the minimum EU standards ("certificate of conformity"). If your professional qualification does not meet the minimum standards, you must provide proof of your professional experience. You must have worked as a nurse responsible for general care in your country of origin for 3 consecutive years in the 5 years prior to submitting your application. This must be confirmed by the authorities in your country of origin.

Examination of equivalence

If your professional qualification is not automatically recognized, the competent authority will check the equivalence of your professional qualification. The competent authority will compare your professional qualification with the German professional qualification as a nurse. The professional qualification is equivalent if there are no significant differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification.

Possible results of the equivalence assessment

If your professional qualification is equivalent, your foreign professional qualification will be recognized. The competent authority can confirm the result to you in writing. You must still fulfill the other requirements. You will then receive permission to use the professional title "Pflegefachperson", "Pflegefachfrau" or "Pflegefachmann".

Are there any significant differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification? You may be able to compensate for the differences through your professional experience, other knowledge, skills or competencies (lifelong learning). Knowledge, skills and competences must be certified by an authority in the country in which you acquired the knowledge, skills or competences.

However, it may be that the significant differences cannot be compensated for by your professional experience, knowledge, skills or competences. In this case, the competent authority will inform you of the significant differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification and why you cannot compensate for these significant differences.

The competent authority will also inform you of compensatory measures that you can take to compensate for the significant differences.
If you decide not to take compensatory measures, your professional qualification will not be recognized and you will not be allowed to work as a nurse in Germany.

Compensatory measures

There are various compensatory measures:

  • Adaptation course: The adaptation course lasts a maximum of 3 years.
  • Aptitude test: In the aptitude test, only those areas in which significant differences have been identified are tested. The aptitude test consists of a practical examination combined with an interview.

As a rule, you can choose between an adaptation period or an aptitude test.
If you successfully complete the compensation measure and meet all other requirements, you will receive permission to use the professional title "Pflegefachperson", "Pflegefachfrau" or "Pflegefachmann".

Competent authority

Nied. State Office for Social Affairs, Youth and Family - Lüneburg Branch Office

Requirements

  • You have a comparable professional qualification as a nurse from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland.
  • You want to work as a nurse in Germany.
  • Personal suitability: You are reliable to work as a nurse and have no criminal record.
  • Health suitability: You are mentally and physically fit to work as a nurse.
  • 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 responsible office will tell you which 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 qualifications (e.g. certificates, professional certificate)
  • Proof of training
  • Proof of your relevant professional experience in a profession comparable to that of a nurse
  • Proof of other relevant knowledge for working as a nurse
  • Information about an application for recognition that has already been submitted. Then state the body to which you have submitted the application.
  • Proof that you wish to pursue gainful employment in Germany
  • Perhaps: You still live or work in a third country, i.e. not in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland? If so, you must provide proof that you have received a commitment from a health and care institution to work as a care worker in Germany.

You only need to submit the following documents if your professional qualification was completed before a certain date (cut-off date). The competent authority will inform you:

  • Certificate of conformity
    If no certificate of conformity is available: Proof of the content and duration of your training (for example, list of subjects and grades, study book, diploma supplement, transcript of records)
  • Certificate: You must have worked legally and continuously in the profession for at least 3 years during the last 5 years before the certificate is issued.

You usually submit these documents later. The responsible office will inform you when you should submit the documents:

  • Proof of your personal suitability: criminal record extract or certificate of good conduct from your country of origin. The certificate 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 let you know which documents you need to submit as a simple copy, a certified copy or the original.

What are the fees?

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

Additional costs may also be incurred (e.g. for translations, certifications or compensatory measures such as an adaptation period or an aptitude test). 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 responsible office will then inform you by when you must submit the documents.

Processing duration

Processing Time: 3 Months
The responsible office will inform you if any documents are missing. If the documents are complete, the procedure will take a maximum of 3 months.

Appeal

You can take legal action against the decision of the competent authority within a certain period of time (for example, by lodging an objection). The decision will then be reviewed. Details can be found in the information on legal remedies at the end of your decision. You should first speak to the responsible office before taking legal action against the decision.

What else should I know?

Partial access to the profession for professional qualifications from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland

Your professional qualification is not equivalent and the differences are too great? Then you may be able to work in the profession with partial access to the profession. With partial access to the profession, you can also work in the profession without recognition. There are certain requirements for this. Your professional qualification must include at least one so-called reserved activity of the German professional qualification. Reserved activities may only be carried out by specially trained persons.
You must also provide proof: You are personally suitable, in good health and have the required knowledge of German.

With partial access to the profession, you may only carry out certain tasks as a care professional. You apply for partial access to the profession at the competent authority.

Freedom to provide services

Do you only want to provide services in Germany occasionally and for a short period of time? Then you do not usually need a state permit. You must fulfill these requirements:

  • You must be established in another EU or EEA member state or in Switzerland.
  • You must provide proof of your professional qualification.
  • You must provide proof of German language skills at the required level.
  • You must prove your personal suitability.
  • You must notify the competent authority of your activity in writing.

The competent authority will inform you whether you are permitted to provide services or whether you need to take an aptitude test.

European professional card

You can apply for a European Professional Card (EPC). You can submit the application 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

The equivalence check (recognition procedure) also takes place during the licensing procedure. You can apply for a separate decision on the result of the assessment.


Procedure for ethnic German repatriates

As a late repatriate, you can go through the recognition procedure either in accordance with the laws mentioned here or in accordance with the Federal Expellees Act. You can decide for yourself. The responsible office will advise you which procedure is right for you.

Technically approved by

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Federal Ministry of Health

Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth

Professionally released on

28.06.2022

Author

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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