Permission to use the professional title "nurse" or "nurse" in the case of professional qualifications from third countries
The profession of nurse is regulated in Germany. This means that in order for you to be able to work as a nurse in Germany, you need a state permit. With the permit, you may use the professional title "nurse" or "nurse" and work in the profession.
Even with a professional qualification from a so-called third country, you can obtain state permission from the competent authority 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 permit, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognized.
On 1 January 2020, nursing training in Germany was reformed and the new Nursing Professions Act applies. The profession on this basis is called "nurse" or "nurse" and is new. There is a transitional period for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications on the basis of the Nursing Act. Until 31 December 2024, foreign professional qualifications may still be recognised as nurses on a transitional basis. The competent authority will advise you.
In the recognition procedure, the competent authority compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification and checks its equivalence. The equivalence of the professional qualification is an important prerequisite for the issuance of the state permit. In addition to the equivalence of the professional qualification, you must meet other requirements for the granting of the permit. Other requirements are, for example, sufficient German language skills 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.
You submit an application for permission to use the professional title "nurse" or "nurse" to the competent authority.
You can submit the application with the documents to the competent authority or send it by post. Do not send originals. Sometimes you can also send the application electronically. The competent authority will inform you.
Examination of equivalence
The competent authority will then check whether you meet all the requirements. An important prerequisite is the equivalence of your professional qualification. The competent authority compares your professional qualification with the German professional qualification as a nurse in accordance with the Nursing 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 foreign professional qualification is equivalent, it will be recognized. The competent authority can confirm the result to you in writing. You still have to meet the other requirements. Then you will be given permission to use the professional title "health and nursing nurse" or "health and nursing assistant".
Are there any significant differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification? Perhaps you can compensate for the differences with your work experience, other knowledge or skills (lifelong learning). Knowledge and skills must be certified by an authority of the state in which you acquired the knowledge or skills.
However, the significant differences may not be compensated for by your work experience, knowledge or skills. In this case, the competent authority will tell you the essential differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification and why you cannot compensate for the essential differences.
The competent authority will also provide you with compensatory measures that you can take to compensate for the significant differences.
If you decide not to take any compensatory measures, your professional qualification will not be recognised and you will not be allowed to work in Germany as a nurse.
There are various compensatory measures:
- Adaptation period: The adaptation period lasts a maximum of 3 years.
- Knowledge test: The knowledge test tests your knowledge in specific subjects and areas. The aptitude test consists of a practical exam that is combined with an exam interview.
You can choose between an adaptation period or a knowledge test.
If you successfully complete the compensatory measure and meet all other requirements, you will receive permission to use the professional title "Health and Nursing Nurse" or "Health and Nurse".
Who should I contact?
Let an IQ counselling centre advise you personally on this procedure and your qualifications. The advisors will also help you with your documents before submitting your application. The consultation is free of charge.
If you are abroad: You can also reach the Central Service Centre for Professional Recognition (ZSBA) via the hotline. This offers you in-depth advice and support in the recognition procedure and carries out a location consultation.
- You have a comparable professional qualification as a nurse from a third country.
- You want to work in Germany as a nurse.
- Personal suitability: You are reliable for working as a nurse and have no criminal record.
- Health aptitude: You can work mentally and physically as a nurse.
- You have German language skills at the required language level. This is usually the language level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
Which documents are required?
The competent authority will tell you which documents you need to submit. Important documents are generally:
- Proof of identity (ID 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)
- Proof of training
- Proof of your relevant professional experience in a profession comparable to health care and nursing
- Proof of further relevant knowledge for working as a nurse
- Information about an application for recognition that has already been submitted. Then indicate to which office you submitted the application.
- Do you 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 health and care facility to work as a nurse in Germany.
You usually hand in these documents later. The competent authority will inform you when you should hand in the documents:
- Proof of your personal suitability: extract from the criminal record or certificate of good conduct from your country of origin.
- Proof of your health fitness: Medical certificate.
- Proof of your German language skills: Language certificate
The competent authority will tell you which documents you need to submit as a simple copy, as a certified copy or in the original.
What are the fees?
The competent authority will inform you about the costs. The costs generally depend on the effort required for processing.
In addition, additional costs may be incurred (e.g. for translations, certifications or compensatory measures such as an adaptation period or a knowledge 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 in the procedure. The competent authority will then inform you by when you have to submit the documents.
- Section 66a (1) of the Nursing Professions Act (Nursing Professions Act - PflBG)
in conjunction with §§ 1 paragraph 1 sentence 1 no. 1, 2 paragraph 3 of the Nursing Act (KrPflG) in the version valid on 31 December 2019
in conjunction with §§ 20b, 20c Training and Examination Ordinance for Nursing Professions (KrPflAPrV) in the version valid on 31 December 2019
Applications / forms
- Forms: Forms can be obtained from the competent authority.
- Online procedure possible: Ask the competent authority whether you can submit the application online.
- Personal appearance required: no
You can take legal action against the decision of the competent authority within a certain period of time (e.g. file an objection). The decision will then be reviewed. Details 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?
Notice of equivalence
In the approval procedure, the equivalence is also checked (recognition procedure). You can apply for a separate notification for the result of the examination.
Procedure for ethnic German repatriates
As a late repatriate, you can go through the recognition procedure either according to the laws mentioned here or according to the Federal Expellees Act. You can decide for yourself. The competent authority will advise you on 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
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.