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Licence to practise as a veterinarian in the case of professional qualification from third countries

The profession of veterinarian is regulated in Germany. This means that in order for you to be able to work as a veterinarian in Germany without restriction, you need a license to practice medicine. The approbation is the state approval for the profession. This means that you are not allowed to work independently as a veterinarian without a license to practice medicine. Even with a professional qualification from a so-called third country, you can obtain a license to practice medicine in Germany. Third countries are all countries that do not belong to the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

In order to obtain the licence to practise medicine, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognised. In the recognition procedure, the competent authority compares your professional qualification with the German professional qualification and checks its equivalence. The equivalence of the professional qualification is an important prerequisite for the granting of the approbation.

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

If your professional qualification comes from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, different regulations apply.
You can also apply for the procedure from abroad.

Process flow

You submit an application for a licence to practise as a veterinarian with the competent authority.
The competent authority will then check whether your training corresponds to the German training and whether all other requirements are met. The licence to practise medicine can only be granted if your education from a third country is equivalent to your German education.

Equivalence test
The competent authority compares your professional qualification with the German professional qualification. The competent authority will check 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 exam
If your professional qualification is equivalent, your foreign professional qualification will be recognised. The authority can confirm the result to you in writing. You still have to meet the other requirements and prove your language skills. Then you will be granted a licence to practise as a veterinarian.

Are there any significant differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification? You may be able to make up for the differences through your professional practice, other veterinary knowledge, or skills. You must provide proof of professional experience. Knowledge and skills must be certified by an authority of the state in which you acquired the knowledge or skills.

However, it may not be possible to compensate for the essential differences by this knowledge. The competent authority will tell you the main differences and why you cannot compensate for the significant differences through your professional practice. The decision from the competent authority also states the level of your training and the level required in Germany.

Knowledge test
If your professional qualification is not equivalent, you can take a compensatory measure. You can take a knowledge test to compensate for the significant differences. The knowledge test is based on the final examination as a veterinarian in Germany.
If you pass the knowledge test and meet all other requirements, you will be granted a licence to practise as a veterinarian.


  • You have a professional qualification as a veterinarian from a third country.
  • You want to work as a veterinarian in Germany.
  • Personal suitability: You are reliable to work as a veterinarian and have no criminal record.
  • Health suitability: You can work mentally and physically as a veterinarian.
  • You have German language skills at the required level. As a rule, these are language skills at level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and medical language skills at level C1.

Which documents are required?

  • Proof of identity (e.g. passport or ID card)
  • Marriage certificate (if your name has changed as a result of marriage)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Proof of your professional qualification (e.g. certificates, professional certificate)
  • Proof of the content and duration of your training (e.g. Diploma Supplement, Transcript of Records)
  • Proof of your relevant professional experience as a veterinarian (e.g. job references)
  • Declaration that you have not yet submitted an application for a licence to practise medicine in Germany
  • You must prove that you are allowed to work in the profession in your country of training.
  • Are you from a third country and do not yet live or work in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland? Then you have to prove that you want to work in the profession in Germany. Evidence includes, for example, applications for a job, invitations to job interviews or a location note from the Central Service Centre for Professional Recognition (ZSBA).

In most cases, you will hand in the following documents later:

  • Proof of your personal suitability: extract from the criminal record or official certificate of good conduct. The proof must be no more than 3 months old at the time of application.
  • Proof of your health suitability: Medical certificate. The proof must be no more than 3 months old at the time of application.

You will need to submit the documents in the form of copies. In certain cases, the competent authority may require certified copies of the documents.
If your documents are not in German, you must submit German translations of your documents. Translations must be carried out by translators who are publicly appointed or authorised.

What are the fees?

The costs generally depend on the amount of work involved.

In addition, additional costs may arise (e.g. for translations or certifications). These costs vary from person to person.


You can take legal action against the decision of the competent authority within a certain period of time (e.g. lodge an appeal). 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 competent authority before taking legal action against the decision.

What else should I know?

Temporary Professional Permit

You can apply for a temporary professional permit if there is a special interest. With the temporary professional permit, you are usually allowed to work for up to 4 years without a license to practice medicine. The professional permit only entitles the holder to work in a restricted capacity. 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 provide proof of the German language skills required to practice the profession.

You can apply for the professional permit at the competent authority.

Certificate of equivalence

In the approbation procedure, the equivalence of your training can also be checked. If you have a legitimate interest, you can apply for a separate decision on the result of the examination.

Procedure for ethnic German repatriates

As a late repatriate, you can either go through the recognition procedure in accordance with the laws mentioned here or in accordance with the Federal Expellees Act. This is up to you. The competent authority will advise you on which procedure is right for you.

Technically approved by

Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

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)