Apply for recognition as a nurse with professional qualification from EU/EEA/Switzerland
The profession of nursing specialist is regulated in Germany. This means that in order to be able to work as a nurse in Germany, you need a state permit. With the permit, you may use the professional title "Pflegefachfrau" or "Pflegefachmann" 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. 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.
A professional qualification from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland is usually automatically recognized when you apply for recognition. This means that there is no examination of equivalence. It is assumed that the training is equivalent. However, there may be exceptions to this rule. This depends on the state in which you completed your training and when. If you started your professional training after the EU/EEA accession of your country of training, your professional qualification is usually automatically recognized.
If your professional qualification is not from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, other regulations apply.
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.
You can also submit the application for the procedure from abroad.
You submit an application for the granting of permission to use the professional title "nursing specialist" 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.
Examination of the application by the authority
The competent authority checks whether you meet all the requirements for the granting of permission to use the professional title of "nursing specialist". One requirement is that your professional qualification is recognized.
As a rule, the procedure of automatic recognition applies if you started your professional training after the EU/EEA accession of your country of training. There are other cases in which your professional qualification can be automatically recognized. The competent office 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 be granted permission to use the professional title "Pflegefachfrau" or "Pflegefachmann". The other requirements include your health suitability, reliability and German language skills.
Certificate of conformity for professional qualifications acquired before the EU/EEA accession of the country of training
Vocational training courses can also be automatically recognized if they were started before the EU/EEA accession of your training country (or do not correspond to the legal designations). To do so, 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 evidence of your professional practice. You must have worked as a nurse responsible for general care in your country of origin for 3 continuous years in the 5 years preceding your application. This must be confirmed to you by the authority in your state 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 compares 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 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 "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 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 and you will not be allowed to work as a nurse in Germany.
There are different 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 examination interview.
You can usually choose between an adaptation course or an aptitude test.
If you successfully complete the compensatory measure and meet all other requirements, you will be granted permission to use the professional title "nursing specialist".
Who should I contact?
Nied. State Office for Social Affairs, Youth and Family - Lüneburg Branch Office
- You have a comparable professional qualification as a nurse from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland.
- You want to work in Germany as a nursing specialist.
- Personal suitability: You are reliable for the work as a nursing specialist and have no criminal record.
- Health suitability: You are mentally and physically able to work as a nursing specialist.
- 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
- Evidence of your relevant work experience in a profession comparable to that of a nursing professional
- Evidence of other relevant knowledge for the work as a nursing specialist
- Are you still living or working in a third country, i.e. not in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland? Then you may need to prove that you have received a commitment from a health and care facility to work as a nursing specialist 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 body will inform you:
- Certificate of Conformity
If no certificate of conformity is available: Evidence of the content and duration of your education (for example, list of subjects and grades, study book, diploma supplement, transcript of records).
- Certification: you must have worked continuously and legally in the profession for at least 3 years during the 5 years preceding the issuance of the certificate.
You usually hand in these documents later. The relevant 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 effort required for processing.
Additional costs may arise (for example, for translations, certifications or compensatory measures such as an adaptation course or an 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 Time: 3 MonthsThe competent body will inform you if any documents are missing. If the documents are complete, the procedure takes a maximum of 3 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
You can take legal action (e.g. file an objection) against the decision of the responsible office within a certain period. 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 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 report your activity in writing to the competent body.
The competent body will inform you whether you are allowed to provide services or whether you have to pass 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
In the permit 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.
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
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.