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Source: BUS Sachsen-Anhalt (Linie6PLus)

Apply for permission to use the professional title of nurse from EU/EEA/Switzerland


The profession of nurse is regulated in Germany. This means that in order to be able to work as a nurse in Germany, you need a state permit. With the permission, you may use the professional title "nurse" or "health and nurse" and work in the profession.

Even with a professional qualification from the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you can obtain state permission from the competent authority in Germany. In order to obtain the permit, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognised.

On 1 January 2020, nursing education was reformed in Germany and the new Nursing Professions Act applies. The profession on this basis is called "nurse" or "nursing specialist" and is new. There is a transitional period for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications on the basis of the Nursing Act. Until 31 December 2024, foreign professional qualifications may still be recognised as nurses on a transitional basis. If the professional qualification is automatically recognised, however, the recognition always takes place in the new profession as a nurse. The competent body will advise you.

In the recognition procedure, the competent authority compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification and checks the equivalence. The equivalence of the professional qualification is an important prerequisite for the granting of state permission. In addition to the equivalence of the professional qualification, you must meet other requirements for the granting of the permit. Further requirements are, for example, sufficient German language skills and health suitability.

If your professional qualification does not come from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, other regulations apply.
You can also apply for the procedure from abroad.

  • You have a comparable professional qualification as a nurse from the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
  • You want to work in Germany as a nurse.
  • Personal suitability: You are reliable for work as a nurse and nurse and have no criminal record.
  • Health suitability: You can work mentally and physically as a nurse or nurse.
  • You have German language skills at the required language level. This is usually level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

The competent authority will tell you which documents you need to submit. Important documents are in general:

  • Proof of identity (identity card or passport)
  • Marriage certificate (if your name has changed due to marriage)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Proof of your professional qualification (e.g. certificates, professional certificate)
  • Evidence of formal qualifications
  • Proof of your relevant professional experience in a profession comparable to healthcare and nursing
  • Proof of further relevant knowledge for working as a nurse
  • Information about an application for recognition that has already been submitted. Then indicate to which body you have submitted the application.
  • Do you live or work in a third country, i.e. not yet in the EU, EEA or Switzerland? Then you may have to prove that you have received a commitment from a health and care institution to work as a nurse in Germany.

You usually hand in these documents later. The competent authority will inform you when to hand in the documents:

  • Proof of your personal suitability: extract from the criminal record or certificate of good conduct from your country of origin. The proof must not be more than 3 months old at the time of application.
  • Proof of your medical fitness: Medical certificate. The proof must not be more than 3 months old at the time of application.
  • Proof of your German language skills: language certificate

The competent authority will inform you which documents you must submit as a simple copy, as a certified copy or in the original.

The competent authority will inform you about the costs. The costs generally depend on the effort for processing.

In addition, additional costs may arise (for example, for translations, certifications or compensatory measures such as an adaptation period or an aptitude test). These costs vary from person to person.

There is no deadline.

Sometimes documents are still missing in the procedure. The competent authority will then inform you by when you must submit the documents.

You can take legal action against the decision of the competent authority within a certain period of time (for example, file an objection). The decision will then be reviewed. Details can be found in the information on the right of appeal at the end of your decision. We recommend that you first talk to the competent authority before taking legal action against the decision.

State Administration Office

  • Forms: Forms can be obtained from the competent authority.
  • Online procedure possible: Ask the competent authority whether you can submit the application online.
  • Personal appearance required: no


They submit an application to the competent authority for authorisation to use the professional title of 'nurse' or 'nurse'.

You can submit the application with the documents to the competent authority or send it by post. Do not send originals. Sometimes you can also send the application electronically. The competent authority will inform you.

Equivalence assessment

The competent authority will then check whether you meet all the requirements. An important prerequisite is the equivalence of your professional qualification. The competent authority checks the equivalence of its foreign professional qualification. In doing so, she compares your professional qualification with the German professional qualification as a nurse or health and nurse. The professional qualification is equivalent if there are no significant differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification.

Possible results of the equivalence assessment

If your foreign professional qualification is equivalent, it will be recognised. The competent authority can confirm the result to you in writing. You still have to meet the other requirements. Then you will receive permission to use the professional title "Gesundheits- und Krankenpflegerin" or "Gesundheits- und Krankenpfleger".

Are there any significant differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification? Perhaps you can compensate for the differences through your work experience, other knowledge or skills (lifelong learning). Knowledge and skills must be certified by an authority of the state in which you acquired the knowledge or skills.

However, it may be that the essential differences cannot be compensated by your professional experience, knowledge or skills. In this case, the competent authority will tell you the main differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification and why you cannot compensate for these significant differences.

The competent authority will also provide you with compensatory measures that you can take to compensate for the essential differences.
If you decide not to take compensatory measures, your professional qualification will not be recognised and you will not be allowed to work as a nurse in Germany.

Compensatory measures

There are several compensatory measures:

  • Adaptation period: The adaptation period lasts a maximum of 3 years.
  • Fitness test: The aptitude test examines only those areas in which significant differences have been identified. The aptitude test consists of a practical exam that is combined with an examination interview.

As a rule, you can choose between an adaptation period or an aptitude test.
If you successfully complete the compensatory measure and meet all other requirements, you will be granted permission to use the professional title of "nurse" or "nurse".

Freedom to provide services

Would you like to offer services in Germany only occasionally and for a short time? Then you usually do not need the state permission. You must meet these requirements:

  • You must be established in another EU, EEA or Swiss country.
  • You must provide proof of your professional qualifications.
  • You must report your activity in writing to the competent authority.

The competent authority will inform you whether you are authorised to provide services or whether you are required to take an aptitude test.

Equivalence Notice

In the licensing procedure, equivalence is also checked (recognition procedure). You can apply for a separate notification for the result of the examination.

Procedure for ethnic German repatriates

As a Spätaussiedler, you can go through the recognition procedure either according to the laws mentioned here or according to the Federal Expellees Act. You can decide for yourself. The competent body will advise you on which procedure suits you.

  • Section 66a(2) of the Nursing Professions Act (Pflegeberufegesetz - PflBG)
    in conjunction with §§ 1 paragraph 1 sentence 1 no. 1, 2 paragraph 3a, paragraph 4 and paragraph 5a-6, 25 Nursing Act (KrPflG) in the version valid on 31 December 2019
    in conjunction with §§ 20, 20a, 20c Training and Examination Ordinance for Nursing Professions (KrPflAPrV) in the version valid on 31 December 2019

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Federal Ministry of Health

Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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