Recognition of training qualifications

from countries outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland

In order to practise medicine in Germany (as a medical assistant in specialty training or as a specialist) you will need to obtain a licence to practise medicine (Approbation = full licence, Berufserlaubnis = temporary licence).

The competent authorities responsible for issuing the licence to practise medicine are the state health authorities of the individual federal states (Approbationsbehörden). You can find a list of addresses of the competent authorities on our website.

The relevant legal documents relating to admission to the medical profession may be found under the following links

Licensing Regulations for Physicians = Approbationsordnung

Federal Medical Regulation = Bundesärzteordnung

Since the law designed to improve the appraisal and recognition of professional qualifications gained abroad (Anerkennungsgesetz) came into effect on 1 April 2012, it has been possible for all applicants to apply for a full licence to practise medicine regardless of their nationality.

The state authorities responsible for issuing the licence to practise medicine compare basic medical qualifications and medical licences gained in countries outside the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland in order to assess their equivalency.

If, in the course of the equivalency assessment, it is determined that there are substantial differences between the content of the training completed in a country outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland and the content of basic medical training in Germany, and there is no relevant professional experience to compensate for this, the applicant must prove that he or she has the required knowledge and skills in the form of a proficiency test (Kenntnisprüfung). Equivalence is granted following successful completion of the proficiency test.

The proficiency test covers internal medicine and surgery with questions on supplementary aspects of emergency medicine, imaging procedures, clinical pharmacology, radiation protection and legal questions relating to medical professional practice. In addition, if significant differences have been identified between the applicant’s training and medical training in Germany, the competent authority may determine in advance of the examination that another subject or discipline is in need of evaluation.

The proficiency test is an oral practical examination with patient case studies and lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.

The aptitude test (Eignungsprüfung), as outlined in § 3 paragraph 2 sentence 7 of the Federal Medical Regulation (Bundesärzteordnung), applies in cases where major differences are identified in medical training completed in another EU Member State or in one of the other contracting states of the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

The aptitude test is an oral practical examination with patient case studies which takes place on a single day.

If the holder of a training certificate issued in a country outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland has at least three years of relevant professional experience in the territory of an EU Member State which has already recognised his or her qualifications and certified his or her work experience, then the training certificate is considered equivalent to a certificate from the EU and an aptitude test will be carried out.

Proof of sufficient general German language skills is typically required when applying for a full or temporary licence to practice medicine (e.g., level B2 Intermediate of the common European framework of reference). As of 2014, applicants must also sit for a German medical language proficiency examination (generally conforming to level C1 in the medical field), which is carried out by the state chambers of physicians in the majority of federal states. For more information, visit the websites of the state chambers of physicians.

Further information regarding language proficiency

Please contact the relevant state health authority for further information and specific details about equivalency assessment, the documents required to submit an application, proficiency and aptitude tests, new legal developments relating to the recognition act (Anerkennungsgesetz), etc.

More information about the recognition of professional qualifications (in German, English, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Polish, Turkish, Greek and Arabic)

Information on how to set up a practice in Germany may be obtained from the association of statutory health insurance physicians in the relevant federal state

Specialty training qualifications from countries outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland are not automatically recognised within the EU and do not come under the European directive 2005/36/EC [PDF] on the recognition of professional qualifications.

As corporations under public law, the state chambers of physicians (Landesärztekammer) ( are responsible for the assessment and potential recognition of periods of specialty training carried out abroad, as well as specialty medical qualifications from abroad. In the case of specialist diplomas from countries outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland, the department responsible for specialty training at the relevant state chamber of physicians assesses the content and duration of the training on an individual basis in order to determine whether it complies with the pre-requisites laid out in their specialty training regulations.

The German Medical Association, representing the joint association of the state chambers of Physicians, is not authorised to regulate or recognise periods of specialty training completed abroad. The state chambers of physicians, as corporations under public law, are the only bodies in Germany authorised to do so.

As a rule, the assessment and recognition of specialist diplomas from countries outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland is governed, i. a., by § 19 of the specialty training regulations of the competent state chamber of physicians. You can view these regulations online on the respective websites of the state chambers of physicians under the menu item “Weiterbildung”.

The German Medical Association’s (Model) Specialty Training Regulations are not legally binding for physicians. Membership in a state chamber of physicians is a prerequisite for the assessment and possible recognition of specialty training qualifications gained abroad. Membership in one of the 17 state chambers of physicians is also a prerequisite for practising medicine in Germany.

Each physician is legally bound by the specialty training regulations of the individual state chamber of physicians in which he or she is registered. The same applies to the (model) guidelines, the (model) course books and the (model) logbooks.

You will find § 19 of the (Model) Specialty Training Regulations in German and English at the following links: