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

The profession of geriatric nurse is regulated in Germany. This means that in order to work as a geriatric nurse in Germany, you need a state permit. With the permit, you may use the professional title "geriatric nurse" 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 body in Germany. To obtain the permit, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognized.

On January 1, 2020, nursing education was reformed in Germany and the new Nursing Professions Act applies. There is a transition period for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications based on the Nursing Care Act. Under certain circumstances, your foreign professional qualification can still be recognized on a transitional basis under the old Nursing Care for the Elderly Act until December 31, 2024. The responsible office will advise you.

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 fulfill other requirements for the issuance of the permit. 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 permission to use the professional title "geriatric nurse" to the competent body. You can hand in the application with the documents to the competent body or send it by mail. Do not send originals. Sometimes you can send the application electronically. The competent office 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 the German professional qualification as a geriatric nurse in accordance with the Nursing Professions Act or the Geriatric Care Act. 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 test

If your professional qualification is equivalent, your foreign professional qualification will be recognized. The competent body can confirm the result to you in writing. You still have to fulfill the other requirements. Then you will receive permission to use the professional title "geriatric nurse".

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 of the state in which you acquired the knowledge, skills or competences.

However, it may be that your work experience, knowledge, skills or competencies cannot compensate for the substantial differences. In this case, the competent body will tell you the essential differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification and why you cannot compensate for these essential differences.

The competent body will also tell you compensatory measures you can take to make up for the substantial differences. If you decide not to take compensatory measures, your professional qualification will not be recognized. Then you will not be allowed to work in Germany as a geriatric nurse.

Compensatory measures

There are different compensatory measures:

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

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

If you successfully complete the compensatory measure and meet all other requirements, you will be granted permission to use the occupational title "geriatric nurse".

Competent authority

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

Auf der Hude 2
21339 Lüneburg


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

Which documents are required?

The responsible 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 (for example, certificates, professional certificate)
  • Proof of education
  • Proof of your relevant work experience in a profession comparable to geriatric care
  • Evidence of other relevant knowledge for working as a geriatric nurse
  • Information about an application for recognition that has already been submitted. Then indicate the office to which you submitted the application.
  • Do you still live or work in a third country, i.e. not in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland? Then you may have to prove that you have received a commitment from a healthcare and nursing facility to work as a nursing specialist in Germany.

You will usually hand in these documents later. The responsible office will inform you when you should 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 costs generally depend on the effort required for processing.

In addition, further costs may arise (for example, for translations, certifications or compensatory measures such as an adaptation course or aptitude test). 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 have to submit the documents.

Processing duration

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

Legal basis

  • §§ Sections 41 (2-7), 43, 58 (2) Nursing Professions Act (Pflegeberufegesetz - PflBG)
  • §§ Sections 43, 46, 47, 48 Training and Examination Ordinance for the Nursing Professions (Nursing Professions Training and Examination Ordinance - PflAPrV)


  • § 66a Paragraph 2 Nursing Professions Act (Pflegeberufegesetz - PflBG)
  • in conjunction with. §§ Sections 1, 2 (4-4c) of the Nursing Care for the Elderly Act (AltPflG) in the version applicable on December 31, 2019.
  • i.V.m. § 21 Training and Examination Ordinance for the Profession of Geriatric Nurse (AltPflAPrV) in the version applicable on December 31, 2019.


You can take legal action (e.g. file an objection) against the decision of the responsible office within a certain period of time. The decision will then be reviewed. Details on this can be found in the information on legal remedies 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 would like to offer services in Germany only sometimes and for a short time? Then you usually do not need the state permission. 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 whether you are allowed to provide services or whether you have to pass an aptitude test.

Equivalency notice

The equivalence examination (recognition procedure) also takes place in the permit procedure. You can apply for a separate decision on 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 Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth

Federal Ministry of Health

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Professionally released on



The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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