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Nursing in Germany

May 31, 2024


Nurse Recognition (Anerkennung) In Germany: An Essential Step for International Nursing Graduates

Germany has become a popular place for Indian nurses willing to advance their careers, as it has one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world. The country offers a high standard of living, competitive salaries, work-life balance and well-developed infrastructure, which makes it an attractive destination.

At first glance, the process of becoming a nurse in Germany can seem daunting. But TERN is here to help.

The process begins with having a nursing qualification like B.Sc. (Nursing) or M.Sc. (Nursing). After that, you need proof of German language proficiency, which shows that you are proficient in at least the B2 level of the CEFR scale. The next step is the recognition process. 

In this blog we will cover the ins and outs of the Nurse Recognition process (Anerkennung) in Germany. We'll provide detailed information on where to find the application forms, what documents to submit, and what to expect throughout the process. 

What is Nursing Recognition (Anerkennung) in Germany? 

Nursing is considered a regulated profession in Germany. It means that individuals, regardless of their nationality, are allowed to work in the healthcare sector if they possess a specific qualification. But for people possessing a foreign education and wishing to work in a regulated profession in Germany, you need recognition of foreign qualifications.

In the professional recognition (Anerkennung) process, the competent authority assesses whether your foreign professional qualification is equivalent to the German professional qualification.

 The prerequisites for applying for a recognition procedure in Germany are:

  • You wish to work in Germany.
  • You have gained a state-recognized professional qualification abroad.
  • You can provide a final certificate as evidence of your professional qualification.

Residence in Germany and German citizenship are not prerequisites for the recognition procedure. [Source: Anerkennung in Deutschland]

The application process for Nursing Recognition (Anerkennung) in Germany:

The nursing recognition procedure starts with an online application to the competent German authority.

The competent authority differs according to the profession and the state. It means that depending on where you wish to work and in which profession, the competent authority can be different. You can use the ‘Recognition Finder’ tool on the Anerkennung in Deutschland portal to find the competent authority that matches your preference.

After you have selected your profession, the tool will ask for a town name or postcode of your desired work location.

You will be guided to the next page, where you will need to answer a few questions regarding your training, degree, location, etc. This will help the portal determine whether you need to get your professional qualification recognized.

At the end of the page, it will ask you whether you want to get advice on the recognition procedure.

If you select “Yes,” you will be directed to a page where they offer free consultation services on the procedure. But if you select “No,” you will be redirected to the page that offers information on the recognition procedure, including the contact details of the competent authority, required documents, duration, cost, and more.

What documents are required for Nursing Recognition (Anerkennung) in Germany?

Regardless of your desired location, you will need to upload these necessary documents as part of the online application to have your professional qualifications recognized. 

  1. Identification: Passport or personal ID
  2. Nursing diploma or certificate: This proves that you have completed a nursing qualification according to German standards.
  3. Transcripts: These should show the courses you took and the grades you have received for them. 
  4. Nursing licence: If you are currently a licensed and practised nurse in another country, you need to submit proof.
  5. Proof of German language certificate: You will need at least a B2 level of German language skills, which can be attested through a certificate from a recognised language school. Here is a detailed guide on the German language proficiency exam for international medical graduates
  6. Letters of recommendation from previous employers: It will help prove your knowledge and skills to the competent authority.
  7. Evidence of continuing education: If you have completed any continuing education, submit the proof to show your dedication.
  8. CV or Resume: A curriculum vitae that shows your school education, training and professional experience.
  9. Marriage certificate: You need to submit this document if you have changed your name post-marriage.
  10. Certificate of good standing: A certificate of good conduct needs to be submitted.
  11. Evidence of medical fitness: A certificate showing your medical fitness from a doctor in Germany or from a consultant doctor at the German Embassy.

Any further documents can also be required on an individual basis. The competent authority will inform you of any additional documents required. 

Note: All the documents will need to be translated into German by an official translator.

What is the cost and duration of Nursing Recognition (Anerkennung) in Germany?

After you submit the documents, within 1 month, the competent authority will inform you that they have received them. They will also notify you in case any documents are missing.

The equivalence assessment begins after all the documents have been submitted. The competent authority can take up to 4 months to review your documents and provide a result.

Nursing Recognition Cost & Duration

The cost of the recognition process is up to €600. There could also be additional costs for translating documents, compensation measures and more. 

What are the possible outcomes?

After the competent authority has completed the equivalence assessment, they provide the result in the form of a notice. There are three possible outcomes: direct recognition, partial recognition, and no recognition.

The recognition process explained 

Direct Recognition (Vollanerkennung) 

Direct recognition (or full recognition) means that the competent authority has found that your foreign professional qualification has been recognized. This gives you the same professional rights as your colleague with a German professional qualification. You can start applying for nursing jobs and start working in Germany.

Partial Qualification Recognition (Defizitbescheid) 

A partial qualification notice or Defizitbescheid is given if substantial differences have been found in the equivalence assessment despite your professional experience, knowledge and skills. In this case, the competent authority specifies a compensation measure that can be completed to compensate for the difference. Post completion you can get a visa and start working as a nurse in Germany.

No Recognition 

You will receive no recognition if the foreign professional qualification is not recognized due to substantial differences as compared to the German professional qualification.

What are the possible compensatory measures?

If you have received partial recognition, the competent authority provides an opportunity for the applicants to make up for the missing qualification with a compensatory measure. The notice will mention details of the measures that you can undertake. The two possible compensatory measures are Anpassungslehrgang (adaptation course) and Kenntnisprüfung (knowledge test)

Anpassungslehrgang Vs Kenntnisprufung 


Anpassungslehrgang (Adaptation Course)

Anpassungslehrgang or adaptation course involves a long internship at a hospital department or healthcare institution overseen by a qualified professional. You will practise and learn the missing knowledge and skills identified in the recognition process. The course ends with a final interview by your employer or supervisor.

Kenntnisprüfung (Knowledge Test) 

In Kenntnisprüfung, or knowledge test, you will be required to take a theoretical and practical exam at a German nursing school. Before the examination, you have to attend a preparatory course that will prepare you for the examination.

Once you have completed the compensatory measure, you can submit the certificate to the competent authority. They will recheck all the documents and offer you a decision on the same.

Received your recognition? 

Once you have received your nursing recognition,  you can enter the German job market and start your career as a registered nurse. You can start applying for jobs at hospitals and healthcare institutions to find one that best suits your skills and interests.

After securing a job with a healthcare institute, you need a work visa for qualified professionals to enter Germany, which is also called a “German National Visa”.  The requirements for obtaining a visa are:

  • Proof that you have sufficient funds to cover your living expense
  • A valid and recognized passport
  • A licence to practise
  • Proof that your qualification has been recognized
  • A job offer from an employer in Germany

The required list of documents and the application form are available on the website of German Missions in India. You can find details of the required documents and links to the application forms and declarations here

How TERN can help you!

TERN, a full-stack upskilling, global migration and placement platform, has a ‘Nurses for Germany’ service that streamlines the job-search process for Indian nurses wishing to work in Germany.

We assign you a dedicated career counsellor who helps you find the right job that suits your career preferences and goals. From setting up a profile that highlights your achievements to preparing for interviews and compiling the documents, they are there with you throughout the journey.  

We also have a network of employers that provides diverse opportunities for nurses across different specialisations, including surgical nurses, geriatric nurses, mental health nurses and more.

Ready to learn more? Book a consultation with our team.

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