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Apply for license to practice as a psychotherapist with professional qualification from 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 to have a license to practice. Approbation is the state authorization to practice the profession. This means that you are not allowed to work independently as a psychotherapist without an Approbation. Even with a professional qualification from a country of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you can obtain the Approbation in Germany.

To obtain the license to practice, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognized. In the recognition procedure, the competent body compares your professional qualification with the German professional qualification and checks the equivalence. The equivalence of the professional qualification is an important prerequisite for the granting of the license to practice medicine.

In addition to the equivalence of the professional qualification, you must fulfill other requirements for the issuance of the license. Further requirements are, for example, sufficient German language skills and health suitability.

If your professional qualification does not originate from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, other regulations apply.
You can also submit the application for the procedure from abroad.

Process flow


You submit an application for licensure as a psychotherapist to the competent office.

You can hand in the application with the documents to the competent office or send it by mail. Do not send originals. Sometimes you can send the application electronically. The competent body will inform you.

The competent office will then check whether your education corresponds to the German education and whether all other requirements are met. Approbation can only be granted if your training from abroad is equivalent to the German training.

Examination of equivalence

The competent body compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification. The competent body checks 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 examination

If your professional qualification is equivalent, your foreign professional qualification will be recognized. The authority can confirm the result to you in writing. You still have to fulfill the other requirements and prove your language skills. Then you will be granted your license to practice 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 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. You are then not allowed to work as a psychotherapist in Germany.

The competent body will tell you the essential differences and why you cannot compensate for the essential differences through your professional practice. The decision of the competent body will also state the level of your training and the level required in Germany.

Compensatory measures

You can take a compensatory measure to make up for the substantial differences.

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 is an oral-practical case test.

You can choose between an adaptation course or a proficiency test.

If you successfully complete the adjustment course and meet all other requirements, you will receive your license to practice as a psychotherapist.


  • You have a professional qualification as a psychotherapist from the EU, the 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 are mentally and physically able to work as a psychotherapist.
  • You have German language skills at the required level. This is usually 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 responsible office will provide information on 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 the content and duration of your education (e.g. Diploma Supplement, Transcript of Records)
  • Evidence of your relevant professional experience as a psychotherapist (e.g. references)
  • Information as to whether you have already applied for licensure in Germany
  • You do not yet live or work in Germany? Then you may have to prove 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 responsible 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.
    For licensure, you need general German language skills at level B2. You can also submit the required language certificate later during the Approbation procedure. During the Approbation procedure, you must also take a specialist language test at the C2 level.

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

If your documents are not in German, you must submit German translations of your documents. The translations must be done by translators who are publicly appointed or authorized.

What are the fees?

The responsible office will inform you about the costs. The costs generally depend on the 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?

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. The procedure may be extended as a result.

Processing duration

Processing Time: 4 Months
The competent body will confirm that your application and documents have arrived after a maximum of one month. The competent body will inform you if any documents are missing. If the documents are complete, the procedure takes a maximum of 4 months.

Applications / forms

  • Forms: Forms can be obtained from the responsible office.
  • Online procedure possible: Ask the competent office whether you can submit the application online.
  • Personal appearance required: no

What else should I know?

Partial professional access 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? The activity can be objectively separated from the other activities of a psychotherapist? Then you may be able to work in the profession with partial professional access. However, with partial professional access you are not allowed to perform all activities in the profession. You may then only perform the activities for which you are qualified by your training.
There are certain requirements for partial professional access:

  • You can work in the profession with your professional qualification in your country of training.
  • Your professional qualification is only partially equivalent 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 certain activity of the professional qualification in Germany.
  • Health suitability
  • Personal suitability
  • German language skills: You must have the German language skills required for partial professional access.

You apply for the partial occupational permit at the competent office.

Temporary professional permit

With the so-called temporary occupational 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. You may then only be allowed to perform 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 prove the knowledge of German required to practice the profession within the scope of the professional permit.

You may apply for the temporary occupational permit at the competent office.

You may not apply for a temporary professional license if you have also applied for a license to practice medicine.

Freedom to provide services

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

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

The competent body will inform you.

Equivalency notice

In the permit procedure, the examination of equivalence (recognition procedure) can also take place. 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.

Technically approved by

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Federal Ministry of Health


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

competent Bodies

Einheitlicher Ansprechpartner des Landes Niedersachsen
Address: Friedrichswall 1 , 30159 Hannover
Telephone: 0800 818-8100

Data protection information

Landkreis Emsland
Address: Ordeniederung 1 , 49716 Meppen
Postal address: Post Office Box 15 62 , 49705 Meppen
Telephone: 05931 44-0
Fax: 05931 44-3621
Transport Connection:
Station Haltestelle Kreishaus
Bus: 993

Building Access
elevator available, wheelchair-accessible
bank account:
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Emsländische Volksbank
IBAN: DE26266600600120050000
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Sparkasse Emsland
IBAN: DE39266500010000001339
recipients: Landkreis Emsland
bank: Postbank Hannover
IBAN: DE36250100300012132306


Marc-André Burgdorf
responsible for:
Bernd Otten (Datenschutzbeauftragter)
Telephone: 05931 44-1605
Fax: 05931 44-391605
responsible for:

Landesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz Niedersachsen
Address: Prinzenstraße 5, 30159 Hannover
Telephone: +49 511 12045-00
Fax: +49 511 12045-99

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