Apply for a licence to practise as a psychotherapist with a professional qualification from the EU/EEA/Switzerland
The profession of psychotherapist is regulated in Germany. This means that in order for you to be able to work as a psychotherapist in Germany without restriction, you need a license to practice medicine. The license to practice medicine is the state admission to the profession. This means that you are not allowed to work independently as a psychotherapist without a license to practice medicine. Even with a professional qualification from a country of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you can obtain a license to practice medicine in Germany.
In order to obtain the license to practice medicine, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognized. 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 license to practice medicine.
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 does not come from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, other regulations apply.
You can also apply for the procedure from abroad.
You submit an application for a licence to practise as a psychotherapist 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.
The competent authority will then check whether your training corresponds to the German training and whether all other requirements are met. The license to practice medicine can only be granted if your training from abroad is equivalent to the German training.
Examination of equivalence
The competent authority compares your professional qualification from abroad 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 test
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 license to practice medicine 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 must prove that you have 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 be that the essential differences cannot be compensated for by this knowledge. You are then not allowed to work as a psychotherapist in Germany.
The competent authority will tell you the main differences and why you cannot compensate for the essential differences through your professional practice. The decision of the competent authority also states the level of your training and the level required in Germany.
You can take a compensatory measure to compensate for the significant differences.
There are various compensatory measures:
- Adaptation period: The adaptation period lasts a maximum of three years.
- Aptitude test: In the aptitude test, only those areas in which significant differences have been identified are examined. The aptitude test is an oral-practical case test.
You can choose between an adaptation period or an aptitude test.
If you successfully complete the compensatory measure and meet all other requirements, you will receive a license to practice psychotherapy.
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 professional qualification as a psychotherapist from the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
- You want to work as a psychotherapist in Germany.
- Personal suitability: You are reliable for working as a psychotherapist and have no criminal record.
- Health suitability: You can work psychologically and physically as a psychotherapist.
- You have German language skills at the required language level. As a rule, these are 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 competent authority will provide information on the 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 content and duration of your education (e.g. Diploma Supplement, Transcript of Records)
- Proof of your relevant professional experience as a psychotherapist (e.g. job references)
- Information as to whether you have already applied for a licence to practise medicine in Germany
- You don't live or work in Germany yet? Then you may have to prove that you want to work in the profession in Germany. Evidence is e.g. applications for a job, invitations to interviews, personal statement
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. The proof must be no more than 3 months old at the time of application.
- Proof of your health fitness: Medical certificate. The proof must be no more than 3 months old at the time of application.
- Proof of your German language skills: language certificate.
For the license to practice medicine, you need general German language skills at level B2. You can also submit the required proof of language proficiency during the licensing procedure. During the licensing procedure, you must also take a technical language test at level C2.
The competent authority will tell you which documents you need to submit as a simple copy, as a certified copy or in the original.
If your documents are not available 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 competent authority will inform you about the costs. The costs generally depend on the effort required for processing.
In addition, additional costs may arise (e.g. for translations or certifications). 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. As a result, the procedure may be prolonged.
Processing Time: 4 MonthsAfter a maximum of one month, the competent authority will confirm that your application and documents have arrived. The competent authority will inform you if documents are missing. If the documents are complete, the procedure will take a maximum of 4 months.
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
What else should I know?
Partial access to the profession for professional qualifications from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland:
Your professional qualification is not equivalent and there is only a partial match with the German professional qualification? Can the activity be objectively separated from the other activities of a psychotherapist? Then you may be able to work in the profession with a partial access to the profession. However, with partial access to the profession, you are not allowed to carry out all activities in the profession. You are then only allowed to carry out the activities for which you are qualified by your training.
There are certain requirements for the partial professional permit:
- You can work in this 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 relate to certain activities that are important for the profession in Germany.
- Your professional qualification must correspond to a specific 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 practice.
You can apply for partial access to the profession at the competent authority.
Temporary professional license
With the so-called temporary professional 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 medicine. Perhaps you will only be allowed to carry out activities in a certain 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 provide proof of the German language skills required to practice the profession within the framework of the professional license.
You can apply for the temporary professional permit at the competent authority.
You are not allowed to apply for a temporary professional permit if you have applied for a license to practice medicine at the same time.
Freedom to provide services
Would you like to offer services only sometimes and for a short time in Germany? Then most of the time you don't need the state permit. You must meet these requirements:
- You must be established in another state of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland.
- You will need to prove your professional qualification.
- You must notify the competent authority of your activity in writing.
The competent authority will inform you.
Notice of equivalence
In the licensing procedure, the examination of equivalence (recognition procedure) can also be carried out. 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
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.