Approbation of Foreign Physicians in Germany

How do I get my licence to practise medicine in Germany?

As an internationally oriented headhunting agency, we also recruit physicians for various specialisations in the healthcare sector throughout Europe and globally. In order to be allowed to practise in Germany, they need a German licence to practise medicine. However, most candidates have no idea what this means exactly and turn to us. That's why we have summarised here how it works with the licence to practise in Germany.

Physicians from the EU, the European Economic Area and Switzerland

Physicians who have completed their studies in a country of the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland usually have an easy time of it, as medical studies are standardised in these countries. Accordingly, the training is automatically recognised in Germany if the applicant can present proof of successful completion.

Physicians from Third Countries

For applicants from so-called third countries, the situation is somewhat more complicated, as the competent authority must first check whether the training completed can be equated with German medical studies. For this equivalence test, applicants must not only submit their certificate, but also a detailed overview of subjects and hours, as well as proof of practical experience.

If this is not sufficient, the physicians can take a so-called knowledge examination. This is based on the German state examination and checks whether the applicant has the necessary specialist knowledge for licensing in Germany.

In addition, applicants from non-EU countries need a visa with a work permit, a visa to look for a job or a visa for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications.

Simple Professional Licence as a Physician

While waiting for the licence to practise medicine or preparing for the qualifying examination, it is possible to work in Germany with a simple professional permit. This is temporary and limited to two years and usually to one federal state. In addition, you may only practise under the supervision of a physician who is licensed in Germany.

Prerequisites here are a completed medical degree and sufficient knowledge of German. In addition, you must also prove your health and personal suitability for the licence to practise.

General Documents for the Licence to Practise Medicine

In addition to the documents on training, which depend on the country, various other documents must be submitted with all applications in the original language and officially translated into German. These include a curriculum vitae, proof of identity - for example, an identity card or passport -, birth certificate, official certificates of good conduct from Germany, the home country and, if applicable, the country of training, as well as a certificate of good standing, which is used to check the personal suitability of physicians for this profession.

In addition, proof of general German language skills at B2 level and a specialist language test at C1 level must be submitted. Applicants must also prove that they are fit for the profession and have themselves examined by a doctor in Germany.

Competent Authority - Federal States of Germany

In addition to the above-mentioned documents and proofs, it is important that physicians already know where in Germany they want to practise. Since licensing is a federal state matter, responsibility depends on the region and proof is usually required in the form of an employment contract, an expression of interest from an employer in the region or proof of main residence in that federal state.

In principle, however, the Central Service Point for Professional Recognition (ZSBA) of the Federal Employment Agency always provides support in the recognition of foreign training and helps doctors to find the right office for their application.

Further detailed information on the necessary documents, on the duration and costs of the applications as well as links to the competent authorities can be found in a detailed article on our website.

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