Recognition of foreign vocational training qualifications (Chamber of Industry and Trade, IHK)

Allgemeine Informationen

(General information)

If you have acquired a foreign vocational training qualification in one of the dual recognised trades or an advanced training qualification in the field of industry, trade, gastronomic or services, you can have this recognised as an equivalent German qualification by the IHK FOSA (Foreign Skills Approval). The IHK FOSA publishes overviews of the relevant trades and advanced training qualifications online:

Legal entitlement

Since 1 April 2012, the "Law on Assessing and Recognising Vocational Training Qualifications acquired Abroad" (Vocational Qualifications Assessment Law, BQFG) has ensured that anyone who has acquired vocational training qualifications abroad in a nationally recognised profession is legally entitled to undergo an assessment to establish this qualification’s equivalence to the corresponding profession in Germany. Citizenship and residence status are irrelevant when applying for this equivalence test, meaning requests can also be lodged from abroad. The law makes it easier for specialists with a trade learned abroad to gain access to the German job market, and helps them find employment befitting their individual qualifications.

Advantages of the equivalence test

Those who have their professional qualifications assessed will benefit from numerous advantages:

  • The notice issued by the IHK FOSA gives applicants an official, legally assured document which certifies the extent to which the foreign qualifications match the comparable profession in Germany.
  • The notice makes it easier for employers to assess the applicant’s qualifications, and improves the chances of finding employment.
  • If the test shows full equivalence between the foreign vocational training qualification and the corresponding German profession, legal equivalence is established.
  • The notice enables targeted advanced training and re-qualification by providing a detailed list of existing or even missing qualifications.

Einheitlicher Ansprechpartner

(Single Point of Contact)

You can use the services of the Single Point of Contact for this process. They assist you through the process, take charge of correspondence with all centres dealing with your case, and provide you with competent advice.




  • Obtain the stipulated application forms.
  • Collate the necessary proof, and complete the application in full.
  • Submit the application to the IHK FOSA.
  • The IHK FOSA will check the documents to make sure they are complete; you will receive a confirmation of receipt and a statement of charges.
  • Submit any missing documents at a later date.


Test and notice

First pay the process costs; only once payment has been received can the assessment process begin.

  • The foreign vocational training qualifications will be compared with the corresponding German profession / reference qualification using the documents.
  • If there are significant differences, the IHK FOSA will assess whether these can be made up for through proven professional experience or further proof of skills (for example advanced training).

The IHK FOSA will advise you of your test result in a notice listing the existing and any missing qualifications.

Erforderliche Unterlagen

(Necessary documents)

For the application:

  • Completed application forms
  • Table listing the courses completed and jobs held, in German
  • Proof of identity (ID or passport) as a single copy
  • Proof of the vocational training qualification acquired abroad, as a certified copy, and translated by a translator sworn or publicly appointed in Germany or abroad
  • Proof of relevant professional experience (for example employment records, references), generally as a single copy and translated by a translator sworn or publicly appointed in Germany or abroad
  • Other proof of skills (for example certificate of advanced professional training, re-training), generally as a single copy and translated by a translator sworn or publicly appointed in Germany or abroad
  • Proof of intention to work (for example copy of entry visa, written correspondence with potential employers, business plan)
Note: Citizens of the European Union, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland do not need to provide such proof, unless specific factors argue against gainful employment.


(Duration / Deadline)

  • Confirmation of receipt: within 1 month of application submission
  • Process completion: within 3 months of presenting full documentation
Note: Transition phases may temporarily involve longer processing times.



EUR 100.00 to EUR 600.00

The actual costs are based on the expense incurred for the process, which may vary greatly depending on the situation, profession and country.

Additional costs

If the applicant credibly assures that, through no fault of their own, missing documents cannot be provided, it is possible for other processes, such as technical discussions, work samples, theory examinations or expert surveys, to be applied in addition to the documents supplied for the equivalence test. If you would like to take advantage of such a process, this will result in additional costs.


(Legal basis)


(Release note)

Based on the German version authorized by Sächsische Industrie- und Handelskammern (IHK). 2014-07-11

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