Can I obtain a visa to attend qualification programmes in Germany?
Recognition of foreign qualifications enables those who have completed their training abroad to work in their profession in Germany. The recognition process takes place at the so-called "recognition offices "("Anerkennungsstelle"). Occasionally, however, foreign qualifications do not meet all the necessary criteria for full recognition. When that is the case, you can attend a qualification programme in Germany, such as a technical training course or a job-related German course, and then have your qualification fully recognised. To participate in such a programme, you need a "visa (or residence permit) for recognition of foreign professional qualifications" per Section 16d of the Residence Act.
What do I need to know?
First of all, you have to submit your foreign professional qualification from your home country to a competent authority. If the competent authority decides that a further qualification is necessary for the recognition and you can prove sufficient knowledge of German (A2), you can obtain the qualification required in Germany.
You can find a competent authority to recognise your qualifications at anerkennung-in-deutschland.de. You can also seek advice in advance. Under “Beratung im Ausland “, you will find local addresses for some countries. Alternatively, you can use the make-it-in-Germany contact form or the “Working and Living in Germany” hotline on +49 30 1815 1111 for information. The employees speak German and English and can be reached Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CET. Please note that a call abroad usually costs money.
You can learn more about recognition in our chapter “Recognition of foreign professional qualifications”.
If you need a visa to enter Germany, you must apply for it at the German embassy/consulate in your home country or a neighbouring country.
Please note that your visa application can take several months to process.
If you do not need a visa to enter Germany, report to the Immigration Office at your new place of residence after your entry. There you can apply for a residence permit to have your foreign professional qualifications recognised.
Whether you need a visa depends on your country of origin. On auswaertiges-amt.de, you will find a list of countries whose citizens need an entry visa to come to Germany.
In our chapter “National Visa”, you will find a list of all documents third-country nationals need for a national visa.
For a visa for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications, you will also need the following documents:
- Proof from the relevant recognition authority that a further qualification is necessary.
- Registration at the corresponding qualification programme.
- Proof of your German language skills. You need at least A2.
- Proof that your livelihood is secured through your own means for the duration of the qualification programme.
After entering the country, you must report to the Immigration Office at your new place of residence within three months and apply for a residence permit. To do so, you must submit the documents mentioned above as well as, in principle, a police registration certificate and a rental agreement. The authorities will check your papers and then decide whether you can receive a residence permit.
A residence permit issued for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications is generally valid for 18 months. It can be extended by a maximum of 6 months if your qualification programme ends later than expected, for instance, because you have to retake an exam.
In addition to your qualification measure, you can work for up to ten hours a week. If you already have a specific job offer from a company for a job in your profession, you can also work for this company for more than 10 hours per week. However, the Federal Employment Agency must first give its approval. To do so, you must present the job offer there - the employees of the Federal Employment Agency will check the job offer and then issue you with a work permit for that specific job. You can find the address of the Federal Employment Agency in your area at arbeitsagentur.de.
After successfully finishing the qualification measure, if you have already found a suitable job, vocational training programme or university programme, you can apply for a residence permit as a skilled worker or trainee or student. You can do so directly at the Immigration Office responsible for you.
If you have not yet found a job, you can apply for a residence permit to look for a job. You can apply for it directly at the Immigration Office responsible for you.
You can learn more about recognition in our chapter “Recognition of foreign professional qualifications”. To find out more about job hunting, check out our chapter “Job Hunting and Application”.