Getting the recognition of a foreign degree in another country sounds daunting, but it can be possible in Germany. When I came here, many years ago, the process of degree recognition in Germany was way more challenging. And more brutal to follow as the fast-track options hardly existed.

By 2020, you have several different options to get your university and professional education recognized in Germany. So let’s dive into it, and let me show you where to find more information about degree recognition in Germany and where you can start with your research.

Key takeaways

  1. Good news! Germany does recognize many foreign degrees and professions.
    2. Make sure that you check if Germany recognizes your degree or university studies.
    3. The best place to start your research is the anabin database.
    4. I will also tell you other ways for degree recognition in Germany.
    5. And how to find out if your university is recognized in Germany
    6. It helps if you are a skilled worker.
    7. It also helps if you have a few years work experience in your profession

So let’s dive deeper into it, and I hope you will find this information helpful for your progress.

Does Germany recognize foreign degrees?

In Germany, Central Office for Foreign Education or “Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen” (ZAB) is in charge with the degree recognition in Germany.

In March 2020, the Skilled Workers Immigration Act came into force, making it much easier for skilled workers from non-EU countries to immigrate to Germany. This accelerates the procedure compared to the one I had to go through years ago.

On the one hand, it became way easier for companies to employ skilled workers from abroad. On the other hand, it got much easier for skilled workers with an employment contract to get into a fast-track at their local “Ausländerbehörde” or immigration office.

You can move to Germany and settle down faster than years ago. The most crucial part is to check whether they recognize your foreign degree.

How to check if a foreign degree or university is recognized in Germany?

You can easily do this by using the anabin database. So let’s dive into it and have a closer look at it.

Anabin, the number one source for degree recognition in Germany 

Anabin is a database that provides information on the evaluation of foreign educational qualifications. It supports authorities, employers, and private individuals in classifying a foreign qualification in the German education system.

There are four different approaches to using the database:

You can determine whether your university degree qualifies you for fast-track immigration. And this if you have already found a job in Germany.

Check how your foreign university degree is evaluated in Germany

If you’d like to know how, go to the anabin database and choose the “university degree” category on the left side.

Now search for your degree by choosing your country first and typing in one descriptive word that matches your degree second.

If you found your matching degree, click on “evaluation” or “Bewertung.”

Find out if your university degree is recognized in Germany

The second approach is for you if you want to know whether your university is recognized in Germany.

Again, back to the anabin database, choose the category “institutions” or “Institutionen” in German.

Search for your university after selecting your country.

You can check whether your university is recognized by clicking on “Status” or status in English.

Where to do the university degree recognition in Germany

The anabin database offers even more information for your convenience.

If you need to know where you can either get your university degree or a professional degree recognized, click on the category “Anerkennungs- und Beratungsstellen in Deutschland.”

Search for your profession after clicking on the tab “Suche nach Berufen,” which means a search for professions in English.

Afterward, select the state you are either living in or will live in the future.

How to use the degree aquired abroad in Germany

The last option is for all those who would like to find out how they can use their degree acquired abroad in Germany.

There is also an overview of which legal regulations exist for this.

Again, if you are in the anabin database, choose the category “Hochschulabschlüsse,” meaning university degrees in English.

Search for the degree after choosing the country you achieved that degree in.

If you found it in the database, open the dataset and get all the required information about the usage of your degree.

What if your university is not listed in anabin?

In case your university is not listed in anabin, you may not be eligible to get your degree recognized as easily. But you can still get your degree recognized; it’s just not as easy.

For the recognition, you usually need to show the following three things:

  • Identification document, for example, a passport or identity card
  • Diploma from the foreign university
  • Proof of the contents of the studies

All of those documents should be legally translated into German. Afterward, you can file in an “Antrag” or request at one of the available “Anerkennungsstellen” or recognition bodies.

A list of those bodies can be found on the website of anerkennung-in-deutschland.de

How to get your degree recognition in Germany?

The Central Office can recognize academic degrees for Foreign Education (“Zenteralstelle für auländisches Bildungswesen” or ZAB).

The ZAB maintains a database (anabin) where you can see whether your degree is recognized in Germany. You can directly apply for the recognition of your certificates at ZAB.

The website anerkennung-in-deutschland.de can be very helpful. It provides all information in English for skilled workers and professionals.

Again, it would help if you went to the Anerkennungsfinder or recognition finder on the same domain.

  1. First, make sure to search for your profession.
  2. In the second step, you need to answer a few questions to determine if you provided all data for your application
  3. After answering those questions, you might apply for the recognition; you need to choose the state you are planning to live in or either are already living in.

As soon as you hand in your documents, they will check whether your degree can be recognized in Germany or not.

Which universities are recognized in Germany?

The recognition of your foreign university degrees in Germany is a prerequisite for securing a work visa, blue card, or job seekers visa for Germany. You must prove that your university degree is equivalent to a German degree.

By searching the anabin database, you will find many universities with different labels.

H minus (-) status

degree recognition germany anabin H minus status

The anabin database states: “Institutions of this type lack regional and professional accreditation for the H- status.

In Germany, it is impossible to transfer credits to university degree programs, recognize degrees, or award degrees to such institutions.”

H plus / minus (+/-) status

degree recognition germany anabin H status

In universities or colleges with an H +/- status, some degrees may be accepted while others aren’t. Anabin states that “for these institutions, a uniform status determination is not possible at the level of the institution type. This group is also not homogeneous. Among others, here are two case groups:

  • The type includes both recognized and non-recognized institutions.
  • In the country of origin, a status determination does not occur regarding the institutions. Recognition (accreditation, attestation, etc.) in the country of origin relates exclusively to the programs/degrees.”

H plus (+) status

degree recognition germany anabin H plus status

The H + status is the best status that a university or college can have. It is easy to get your degree recognized with a degree from such an university.

The status means that “institutions of this type do have recognition as higher education institutions (accredited, certified, etc.) in their respective countries of origin. On this basis, they count as higher education institutions in Germany.”

Please note that the H+ classification “only means that the degrees acquired at this institution may undergo an equivalency assessment in the higher education sector.

This does not imply a preliminary decision on whether the degrees earned at this institution qualify as equivalent to German university degrees.”

Recognition of foreign professional qualifications in Germany

As mentioned above, if you have a professional qualification in your profession from a foreign country, you can get that qualification as well. The state-owned website anerkennung-in-deutschland.de is especially helpful when you need to find more information on professional degree recognition in Germany.

First, you may want to search for your profession to learn more about the required documents and steps you need to take. If you find your profession or the closest equivalent, you can follow the step-by-step questionnaire to learn more about the process.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are several options for you to get to the fast track to Germany. The sooner you get your university degree or a professional qualification recognized, the easier it is for you to live and work in Germany. I hope this article is helpful for you.

About the Author

Alex Z.

Alex works in product management and has been living in Germany for more than 12 years. He has been speaking German for more than 22 years. His passion is to help people, who want to live a good life in a German speaking country, to learn German super fast. Want to connect with him? Send him an email and he'll get in touch with you.

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