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Applying for recognition of a foreign professional qualification for training or further training in the field of judicial professions

You can have a training qualification or further education qualification from abroad officially recognised in Germany. The procedure for recognition is called: equivalence determination.

Please note: Your degree must be recognized by the state in the country of your education. Informal or non-formal qualifications cannot be officially recognised in Germany.

Apprenticeships in Germany in the field of the administration of justice are:

  • Notary clerk or notary clerk
  • Patent paralegal or patent paralegal
  • Legal and notary clerk or paralegal and notary clerk
  • Paralegal or paralegal
  • Legal Specialist

You apply for recognition at the competent authority in the federal state in which you would like to work. In the field of the administration of justice, the Bar Associations, Patent Attorneys' Associations and the Chambers of Notaries are normally responsible.

In order to apply for an equivalence assessment, you must identify a German training qualification or continuing education qualification. This is the so-called reference occupation. It must match your foreign professional qualification. Therefore, you should seek advice before applying.

When determining equivalence, the competent authority compares your degree with a specific German qualification. Important criteria in the comparison are the content and duration of the training.

You will receive a notification of the outcome of the procedure. The notice mentions existing and possibly missing professional qualifications. The decision allows employers to better assess your professional qualifications. For skilled workers from third countries, a recognition procedure is usually a prerequisite for the issuance of a visa. Third countries are all countries outside the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

You can also apply for equivalence from abroad.

Process flow


You submit an application for equivalence to the competent authority.
You may be able to send the application electronically. The competent authority will inform you. You can also submit the application with the documents to the competent authority or send it by post. Do not ship originals.

Equivalence test

The competent authority will then check: Is your professional qualification equivalent to the German professional qualification? In doing so, the competent authority compares the qualifications with the help of certain criteria. Important criteria are the content and duration of the training. The competent authority will also take into account your professional experience, your other qualifications and qualifications in the equivalence test.

Possible results of the exam

You will receive a notification with the result of the procedure. You will receive recognition if your professional qualification and the German professional qualification are equivalent.

Sometimes there are significant differences between professional qualifications. The differences are listed in your notice. With this decision, you can further qualify in a targeted manner and later submit a new application for equivalence determination.

If your professional qualification is not equivalent, you will not receive recognition.


  • You have a state-recognized professional qualification from abroad.
  • Your degree must match a German training qualification in the field of legal professions.
  • You want to work in Germany.

Which documents are required?

The competent authority will tell you which documents you need to submit. Important documents are in general:

  • Proof of identity (ID card or passport)
  • 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 education
  • Proof of your relevant work experience
  • Proof of other relevant knowledge for the thesis
  • Have you ever submitted an application for equivalence? Then indicate to which office you submitted the application.
  • Maybe you don't live or work in the EU, EEA or Switzerland yet? 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).

The competent authority will inform you which documents you need to submit as a simple copy, as a certified copy or in the original.

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.

You may need to submit further documents during the recognition process. The competent authority will inform you.

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.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

Sometimes documents are still missing from the procedure. The competent authority will then inform you by when you have to submit the documents.

Processing duration

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

What else should I know?

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.

Skills analysis

You no longer have all the necessary documents for the application? In this case, recognition is still possible. You can prove your professional qualification with a skills analysis, for example through a technical discussion or a work sample.

Technically approved by

Federal Ministry of Education and Research and

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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