The Professional Recognition Department of the Hamburg Institute for Vocational Education and Training (HIBB) is responsible for assessing the equivalence (recognition) of foreign professional qualifications to professions regulated by state law in Hamburg. Here you can apply for an assessment of your foreign professional qualification to determine whether it is equivalent to a professional qualification obtained in Hamburg. The assessment is based on the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act of the Federal State of Hamburg (HmbBQFG). All persons who are resident in Hamburg or who will take up employment in Hamburg may submit an application.

An equivalence assessment may be applied for at HIBB for the following professions:

  • Childcare worker and child educator
  • Special needs care worker and remedial teacher
  • Nursery teacher and childcare assistant
  • Dance and gymnastics teacher
  • Care assistant with a focus on home and family care
  • Housekeeper and domestic support
  • Biological technical assistant
  • Chemical technical assistant
  • Technician in the field of:
      • Structural engineering
      • Chemical engineering
      • Electrical engineering
      • Paint and varnishing technology
      • Aeronautical engineering
      • Wood technology
      • Car body and vehicle construction technology
      • Machine technology
      •  Mechatronics
      • Environmental protection technology


  • Commercial assistant with a focus on:
      • Foreign languages
      • Media industry
      • Event and leisure industry


  • Design assistant with focus on technical communication and product design
  • Design assistant with a focus on screen design
  • Dressmaker

If the HIBB is not responsible, advice may be obtained from the Counselling Centre for Recognition of Qualifications (Zentrale Anlaufstelle Anerkennung). Here, people may obtain advice on the recognition of foreign school, professional and university qualifications and on the funding of the costs incurred in connection with the recognition.

How does the recognition of professional qualifications at HIBB work?

The application – you can download the application form here or request it by e-mail (see Contact). You will find all information on the required documents in the application form. The application is free of charge. Proof of your German language skills is not required for the application.

The process – after receipt of the application, you will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail. If any documents are missing, you will be requested to submit them. The statutory processing period for applications for recognition is three months. In the case of an accelerated procedure for skilled workers pursuant to section 81a of the Residence Act (AufenthG) and the Immigration Act for Skilled Workers (FEG), the processing period is two months.

Please note: The processing period only starts when all requested documents have been submitted. Persons submitting copies of their documents will be invited to a personal interview to present the original documents. No personal interview is required if certified copies of the original documents are submitted.

The decision – After assessment of the equivalence of your professional qualification with the selected German profession, you will receive one of the following notices:

  • Recognition: In case of equivalence
  • Partial recognition: Your qualification is assessed as partially equivalent, as there are substantial differences. You may participate in a compensation measure. This is either an adaptation course or an aptitude test. After successful completion of the compensation measure, the full equivalence of your professional qualification will be confirmed and you will receive a notice of recognition.
  • No recognition: If there is no equivalence

The adaptation measure – The adaptation measures for persons who have received partial recognition of an educational profession take place at Fachschule für Sozialpädagogik (BS 21). Here, you can either take a 12-month adaptation course or an aptitude test. Information on deadlines, registration and funding can be found on the BS 21 website (see Further information). German language skills of at least B2 level are required for the adaptation measure. Persons of other professions are given the opportunity to participate in individual compensation measures at the vocational schools that train these professions.