Information for physicians who completed their basic medical training in the EU, EEA or Switzerland who wish to work or train in Germany

The Directive 2005/36/EC [PDF] of the European Parliament and the European Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications contributed towards increased flexibility in the labour market. Details of information points for Directive 2005/36/EC are listed according to country and profession on the website of the European Commission in the database of regulated professions, including those for Germany [PDF].

Directive 2005/36/EC sets out two systems for the recognition of qualifications; the principle of automatic recognition and the general system for the recognition of evidence of training. In Germany, specialist diplomas which cannot be automatically recognised are assessed on a case-by-case basis by the relevant State Chamber of Physicians. In such instances, the content and duration of the speciality training will be examined with regard to Directive 2005/36/EC in order to determine whether it corresponds with the speciality training regulations of the relevant State Chamber.

Citizens of states within the European Economic Area (EEA) (members of the EU, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland, who completed their medical training in one of these states, are permitted to practise medicine in Germany once they have obtained a full licence to practise from the relevant state health authority [PDF]  in the federal state in which they live or seek to work. Physicians holding a full licence to practise have full, unrestricted professional rights in Germany and are entitled to be work at hospitals, medical institutions or in independent practice.

According to section 39 (“application for a licence to practise”) of the Licensing Regulations for Physicians (Approbationsordnung [PDF]), applications to must be accompanied by the following documents:

1.) An abbreviated curriculum vitae
2.) A birth certificate and a marriage certificate, if appropriate
3.) Evidence of nationality
4.) An official certificate of good conduct issued no more than a month before the date of application
5.) A certificate of good standing declaring that there are no pending or ongoing legal proceedings against the applicant
6.) A medical certificate issued no more than a month before the date of application showing that the applicant is fit to practise
7.) A certificate of completion of medical training

Having successfully applied for a licence to practise, doctors must register with the responsible State Chamber of Physicians, membership of which is compulsory before becoming professionally active in Germany.

The State Chambers of Physicians are the responsible authorities for the recognition of specialist diplomas and periods of speciality training carried out abroad. The department responsible for speciality training at the relevant State Chamber of Physicians assesses the equivalence of qualifications and training gained abroad, and determines whether permission may be granted to work under a specialist designation in Germany.

Professional activity within the framework of statutory health insurance provisions is bound with certain conditions. Doctors and psychotherapists must be registered to treat outpatients insured under the statutory health insurance scheme outside the context of a hospital. This registration is the central component for participation in statutory outpatient care, which may take many forms. Outpatient care may be carried out by independent, practise-based physicians (niedergelassene Ärzte) working alone, in a partnership, or at a clinic. Alternatively, doctors may be employed by a physician registered under the statutory health insurance scheme (zugelassenen Vertragsarzt). Doctors employed by hospitals (Krankenhausärzte ) may take part in outpatient care only with special permission from the appropriate registering body (Zulassungsausschuss). However, practise-based physicians registered under the statutory health insurance scheme are permitted to work in hospitals (Belegärzte).

Applications for registration under the statutory health insurance scheme must be submitted to the relevant Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (Kassenärztlichen Vereinigungen).

A prerequisite for this, alongside obtaining a licence to practise and possession of a qualification in a speciality field, is entry into the physicians’ register. Further information in this respect may be found on the website of the relevant Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians.