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Source: BUS Sachsen-Anhalt (Linie6PLus)

Apply for a licence to practise as a psychological psychotherapist from third countries


The profession of psychotherapist is regulated in Germany. This means that in order to be able to work as a psychotherapist in Germany without restriction, you need to have a license to practice. Approbation is the state authorization to practice the profession. This means that you are not allowed to work independently as a psychotherapist without an Approbation.

You can also obtain the Approbation in Germany with a professional qualification from a so-called third country. Third countries are all countries that do not belong to the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. In order to obtain the license to practice medicine, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognized.

In the recognition procedure, the competent body compares your professional qualification with the German professional qualification and checks the equivalence. The equivalence of the professional qualification is an important prerequisite for the granting of the license to practice medicine.In addition to the equivalence of the professional qualification, you must meet other requirements for the granting of the license. Further requirements are, for example, sufficient German language skills and health suitability.

If your professional qualification originates from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, other regulations apply.
You can also submit the application for the procedure from abroad.

  • You have a professional qualification as a psychotherapist from a third country.
  • You want to work as a psychotherapist in Germany.
  • Personal suitability: You are reliable for work as a psychotherapist and have no criminal record.
  • Health suitability: you are mentally and physically able to work as a psychotherapist.
  • You have German language skills at the required level. This is usually general language skills at level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and technical language skills at level C2.

The responsible office will inform you about which documents you need to submit. Important documents are generally:

  • Proof of identity (e.g. passport or identity card)
  • Marriage certificate (if your name has changed due to marriage)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Proof of your professional qualification (e.g. certificates, professional certificate)
  • Proof of the content and duration of your education (e.g. Diploma Supplement, Transcript of Records)
  • Evidence of your relevant professional experience as a psychotherapist (e.g. references)
  • Information as to whether you have already applied for licensure in Germany.
  • You must provide evidence: You are allowed to work in the profession in your country of training.
  • You do not yet live or work in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland? Then you must prove: You want to work in Germany in the profession. Evidence can be: Applications for a job, proof of your application for an entry visa for gainful employment or personal declaration.

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

  • Proof of your personal suitability: criminal record extract or certificate of good conduct from your country of origin. The proof must not be older than 3 months at the time of application.
  • Proof of your health suitability: Medical certificate. The certificate must not be older than 3 months at the time of application.
  • Proof of your German language skills: Language certificate.
    For licensure, you need general German language skills at level B2. You can also submit the required language certificate later during the Approbation procedure. During the Approbation procedure, you must also take a specialist language test at the C2 level.

The competent office will inform you which documents you have to submit as a simple copy, as a certified copy or as an original.

If your documents are not in German, you must submit German translations of your documents. The translations must be made by translators who are publicly appointed or authorized.

The responsible office will inform you about the costs. The costs generally depend on the effort required for processing.
Additional costs may arise (e.g. for translations or certifications). These costs vary individually.

There is no deadline.

Sometimes documents are still missing from the procedure. The responsible office will then inform you by when you must submit the documents. The procedure may be extended as a result.

The license to practice medicine is granted by the State Administration Office in Halle (Saale).

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


You submit an application for licensure as a psychotherapist to the competent office.

You can hand in the application with the documents to the competent office or send it by mail. Do not send originals. Sometimes you can send the application electronically. The competent body will inform you.

The competent office will then check whether your education corresponds to the German education and whether all other requirements are met. Approbation can only be granted if your training from abroad is equivalent to the German training.

Examination of equivalence

The competent body compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification. The competent body checks whether your professional qualification is equivalent. The professional qualification is equivalent if there are no significant differences between your foreign professional qualification and the German professional qualification.

Possible results of the examination

If your professional qualification is equivalent, your foreign professional qualification will be recognized. The authority can confirm the result to you in writing. You still have to fulfill the other requirements and prove your language skills. Then you will be granted your license to practice as a psychotherapist.

Are there any significant differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification? Perhaps you can compensate for the differences through your professional practice, other knowledge or skills (lifelong learning). You have to prove the professional practice. 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 this knowledge. You may then not work as a psychotherapist in Germany.

The competent body will tell you the essential differences and why you cannot compensate for the essential differences through your professional practice. The decision of the competent body will also state the level of your training and the level required in Germany.

Compensatory measure

You can take a compensatory measure to make up for the substantial differences.

If you have acquired your professional qualification in a third country, you can take the following compensatory measure:

  • Kenntnisprüfung: The Kenntnisprüfung is based on the final examination as a psychotherapist in Germany. The knowledge examination is an application-oriented examination.

If you pass the knowledge examination and fulfill all other requirements, you will receive your license to practice as a psychotherapist.

Temporary professional license
With the so-called temporary professional permit you can work for a limited period of time without a license to practice medicine. With the professional permit you are allowed to work under the supervision of a person with a license. You may then only be allowed to perform activities in a specific area of work. You must meet the following requirements for the professional permit:

  • Proof of your professional qualification
  • Health suitability
  • Personal suitability
  • German language skills: You must prove the knowledge of German required to practice the profession within the scope of the professional permit.

You can apply for the professional permit at the competent office.

Letter of equivalence
In the permit procedure, the examination of equivalence (recognition procedure) can also take place. You can apply for a separate decision on the result of the examination.

Procedure for late repatriates
As a late repatriate, you can go through the recognition procedure either according to the laws mentioned here or according to the Federal Expellees Act. You can decide this yourself. The competent office will advise you which procedure suits you.

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Federal Ministry of Health

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Landesverwaltungsamt Sachsen-Anhalt - Landesprüfungsamt für Gesundheitsberufe
Hansering 15
06108 Halle (Saale), Stadt
Ernst-Kamieth-Str. 2
06112 Halle (Saale), Stadt
+49 345 514-3268

Remark: Academic
+49 345 514-3045

Remark: non-academic
+49 345 514-3279

Tue. 09:00 - 12:00, 13:00 - 15:30

Thurs. 09:00 - 12:00, 13:00 - 15:30

Note: Telephone consultation hours, no opening hours

Consultation hours in person: by appointment