Apply for a license to practice dentistry with professional qualifications from third countries

Would you like to work as a dentist in Germany? Then you need state approval. You can also get the approbation with a foreign professional qualification. To do this, you must have your professional qualifications recognised.

Important notes


  • You have a professional qualification as a dentist from a third country
  • You want to work as a dentist in Germany.
  • Personal suitability: You are reliable to work as a dentist and have no criminal record.
  • Medical suitability: You can work mentally and physically as a dentist.
  • You have German language skills at the required language level. As a rule, these are general language skills at level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and medical language skills at level C1.

Documents required

  • Proof of identity (ID card or passport)
  • Marriage certificate (if your name has changed through marriage)
  • CV
  • Proof of education
  • Evidence of the content of your training:
  • List of subjects and hours of training that you have completed
  • Evidence of your relevant professional experience as a dentist
  • Information on whether you have already applied for a license to practice medicine in Germany
  • You don't live or work in Germany yet? Then you may have to prove: that you want to work in Germany in the profession. Evidence is e.g. B. Job applications, invitations to interviews, personal statement

You only need to submit the following documents if your professional qualification was completed before a certain date (key date). The competent authority will inform you:
  • Certificate of Conformity
  • If there is no certificate of conformity: proof of the content and duration of your education (e.g. list of subjects and grades, course book, diploma supplement, transcript of records)
  • Certification in accordance with Section 14b of the Federal Medical Code, stating that the applicant has actually and lawfully practiced medicine for at least three years without interruption during the five years prior to the issue of the certificate.

You usually submit these documents later. The competent authority will inform you when you should hand in the documents:
  • Proof of your personal suitability: criminal record extract or certificate of good conduct from your country of origin. The proof may not be more than 3 months old at the time of application.
  • Proof of your health suitability: Medical certificate. The proof may not be more than 3 months old at the time of application.
  • Proof of your knowledge of German: language certificate.
  • General German language skills at level B2 are a prerequisite for the license to practice medicine. You can also submit the required language certificate during the approval process. You must also take a medical language test at level C1 during the approbation process.

The competent authority will tell you which documents you have to submit as a simple copy, a certified copy or the 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.



Procedure & Fees


You submit an application for a license to practice dentistry to the competent authority. You can submit the application with the documents to the responsible office or send it by post. Do not send originals. Sometimes you can also send the application electronically. The responsible body will inform you. The competent authority then checks whether your training corresponds to the German training and whether all other requirements are met.

Automatic recognition
As a rule, the automatic recognition procedure applies if you started your vocational training after your country of training joined the EU/EEA. This means: If you also meet all other requirements, your professional qualification will be recognized without an individual equivalence test.

Certificate of Conformity
Vocational training that you started before your country of training joined the EU/EEA (or that do not correspond to the legal designations) can also be recognized automatically. To do this, you must submit a certificate from the competent authority in your country of training that your professional qualification meets the minimum standards of the EU (“Certificate of Conformity”). If your professional qualification does not meet the minimum standards, you must provide evidence of your professional experience. You must have worked as a doctor in your country of origin for 3 consecutive years in the last 5 years before submitting the application. The competent authority in your country of origin must confirm this for you.

equivalence test
If you cannot provide a certificate of conformity or do not have enough professional experience, your training must be checked individually. The competent authority compares your professional qualifications from abroad with the German professional qualifications. The competent authority 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 test
If your professional qualification is equivalent, your foreign professional qualification will be recognised. The authority can confirm the result in writing. You still have to meet the other requirements and prove your language skills. Then you will be granted the license to practice dentistry.
Are there significant differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification? You may be able to compensate for the differences through your work experience, other knowledge or skills (lifelong learning). You must provide evidence of professional experience. Knowledge and skills must be certified by an authority in the state in which you acquired the knowledge or skills.
However, it may be that the essential differences cannot be compensated for by this knowledge. The competent body will tell you the main differences and why you cannot compensate for the main differences through your professional practice.
The notice from the competent authority also states the level of your training and what level is required in Germany. You are then not allowed to work as a dentist in Germany.

knowledge test
If your professional qualifications are not equivalent and you cannot compensate for the differences, you can take a knowledge test. The knowledge test is based on the final examination as a doctor in Germany. The knowledge test is an oral-practical test.
If you pass the knowledge test and meet all other requirements, you will be licensed to practice medicine.

Processing time

Individual case dependent


The costs depend on the effort involved in processing.

Additional costs may also arise (e.g. for translations or certifications). These costs vary from person to person.

Legal notes

Legal remedies

You can take legal action against the decision of the competent authority within a certain period of time (e.g. file an objection). The decision is then reviewed. Details can be found in the instructions on legal remedies at the end of your decision.

Recommendation: Talk to the competent authority first before taking legal action against the decision.

Legal basis

§ 1 law on the practice of dentistry

§§ 83 to 103 licensing regulations for dentists (ZApprO)

Service description

The profession of dentist is regulated in Germany. That means:
In order to be able to work as a dentist in Germany without restrictions, you need a license to practice medicine. Approbation is state approval for the profession. This means that you are not allowed to work independently as a dentist without a license to practice medicine. You can also obtain a license to practice medicine 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 receive the license to practice medicine, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognized. In the recognition procedure, the competent authority 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 also meet other requirements for the granting of the permit. Other requirements are e.g. B. sufficient German language skills and health suitability. If your professional qualification comes from the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, different regulations apply.

You can also apply for the procedure from abroad.

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