Requirements for working as a foreign doctor in Germany

What are the requirements for working as a foreign doctor in Germany?

In order to work as a physician in Germany, you need a so-called approbation, a license to practise medicine in the long term. This regulation is obligatory, regardless of whether the degree was obtained abroad or in Germany.
Depending on ones origin, immigrant doctors can submit an application for the approbation on the basis of different legal grounds:

  • EU citizens, as well as citizens of the other States of the European Economic Area and Switzerland, have a right to an approval procedure. This right is based on a corresponding EU directive (RL2005/36/EC).

  • Based on two regulations, third-country nationals have the possibility of obtaining a license to practise medicine. On the one hand, if they have successfully completed their medical studies in Germany and can prove that they would lose important rights if they accepted German citizenship. On the other hand, the equivalence of the foreign degree with the German medical degree can also be established or, if necessary, confirmed with the help of a knowledge test.

However, in order to ensure the quality and safety of medical services, the state also places high demands on the professional, character and health suitability of doctors. For this reason, the following requirements apply:

  • They must not have been guilty of any conduct which would render them unworthy or unreliable in the exercise of the medical profession.

  • They must be fit to practise the profession from the point of view of health.

  • They must have the knowledge of the German language necessary for the pursuit of their occupation.  These language skills are not uniformly regulated in the different federal states. However, a level of at least B2 in general German must be present everywhere as a minimum requirement.

  • They must have passed the final examination of a medical degree of at least six years at a scientific university. Of this training period, a minimum of eight and a maximum of twelve months must have been practical training in hospitals or suitable medical care facilities.

These requirements must be proven when applying for the licence to practise medicine at the relevant competent authority, in addition to the current legal status as a resident.

*No responsibility is taken for the correctness and completeness of the information given here.
*Source: Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (2011), Anerkennung und Berufszugang für Ärzte und Fachärzte.