Required documents to apply for Approbation in Germany (2024)

Apply for approbation in Germany


This article is the most detailed article on the internet listing the required documents to apply for Approbation in Germany. The Approbation is a German word that means a permanent medical license.

Preparing the documents is step number 5 of the 10 steps to apply for Approbation in Germany and being your dream medical residency:

🇩🇪 The 10 steps to start a medical residency in Germany (2023)

If you have the slightest doubt about a certain point or do not understand any information, ask at any time in the main group of our community “Facharzt JETZT” on Facebook and on Telegram (groups will appear as a folder). We remind you that this article is a guidance article to help you understand things and you should not rely solely on it. You should always return to the official websites. 😊

• In which states can I use these documents to apply for Approbation in Germany?

The required documents should work in all authorities so that you can apply for Approbation in Germany. 😊🥳😎 Some medical license authorities may ask for fewer documents. The following documents are complete to apply for the medical license exam in the most populated German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) (link to the required documents in their website).

The laws change slightly over time and mistakes could always happen. Therefore, please read in the website of the Approbation authority the currently required documents (a list of all authorities is here). If you found that something changed, please let us know. 🙂 No website in the world is as accurate as the websites of the German authorities themselves. Therefore, to apply for Approbation in Germany, please always refer to the official German websites. We do not take any responsibility for any mistakes in our website. That being said, be assured that we did our best to assure that everything is 100% correct and is of the quality “Made in Germany”.

We divided the required documents to apply for Approbation in Germany into two categories:

Documents from “outside” Germany*Documents from “inside” Germany
*Please note, the following 3 documents from outside Germany could be also acquired/taken in Germany: a German language certificate, health certificate, and proof of intention. Please note that you need a health certificate again from Germany after passing the medical language exam.

We suggest preparing all of these documents to apply for Approbation in Germany because any delays in the application process can cost you on average 2–4 months of waiting, sometimes more.

(1) Documents that are required from “outside” Germany to apply for Approbation in Germany:

🇺🇸TranslationAuthenticationMaximum age of the document
(should be personalized)
YesYesNo problem
(should be personalized)
NoYesNo problem
University marksYesYesNo problem
University certificateYesYesNo problem
Certificate of the completion of the internship yearYesYesNo problem
Permanent medical licenseYesYesNo problem
Letter/certificate of good standing
(🇩🇪 eine Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung)
(from the medical association)
YesYes3 months
German language certificate
(at least B2)
No (already in German)Yes (if the embassy accepts)Sometimes maximally 3 years
Police clearance certificate
(🇩🇪 eine Straffreiheitsbescheinigung)
YesYes3 months
Health certificate
(🇩🇪 eine Gesundheitsbescheinigung)
YesYes1-3 months
Employment references/work certificates
(when available)
YesYesNo problem
CV in GermanNoNew
Proof of intention
Birth certificateYesYesRather new
Document about changing name
(In case you ever changed your name, e. g. after marriage, then you need the marriage certificate too)
YesYesRather new
High school certificate (required only from few authorities)
(In NRW not required)
YesYesNo problem
Copy of your passportNoYesRather new
• Details about the documents that are required from “outside” Germany

To apply for Approbation in Germany, you need more details about some of these documents mentioned in the table above. We will write it here:

– German language certificate (at least B2)

• We listed the language certificate as a document that you get from outside Germany because foreign doctors usually learn German before coming to Germany. You can of course get it from Germany. But the thing is, in many countries, you would not get a German visa without at least a B1 German certificate.

Can this exam be done online?

In which language center can I take this exam? Inside or outside Germany?

Can I apply for the Approbation without a B2 language certificate?

– A “personalized” curriculum & a “personalized” syllabus

• The curriculum is short (around 5 pages). It contains only the subjects studied in the bachelor’s degree. The syllabus is a detailed explanation of them and contains around 100-400 pages. This does not need to be authenticated by the German embassy and is rarely requested to apply for Approbation in Germany. But in rare cases, they might ask for it. So please bring it with you too. For more details about the differences between a syllabus and a curriculum, you can read this article:”🇩🇪 Curricumulm vs Syllabus: What are the differences?

• What does “personalized” mean? Your name, date of birth, and date of graduation MUST be written in the curriculum and in the syllabus. This is why they are called a “personalized” curriculum and a “personalized” syllabus. This is very essential. If this information is not written, at least your name and date of birth, they will refuse this document. So to be on the safe side, all these three pieces of information MUST be written.

• Does the syllabus need to be translated? If it is in English, many license authorities accept it like this. In some, like in Baden-Württemberg, all submitted documents should be in German. 😢

– Certificate for the completion of the internship year

Completing the internship year is a must. No exceptions. If you want more details, you can read them here:

🇩🇪 For medical doctors: The internship year (🇩🇪 das Praktische Jahr – PJ) is a must to be able to work in Germany. 100% sure! No exceptions!

– Permanent medical license from your home country or from the country where you studied medicine

You get this usually after doing the internship year and sometimes an exam.

Explanation again, but in German: “Bescheinigung der obersten Gesundheitsbehörde aus Ihrem Heimatland/Studienland, dass Sie zur uneingeschränkten Ausübung des Berufes berechtigt sind”.

Health certificate

That you do not have any contagious diseases. Often, you need to get this certificate again from a German doctor. We explained the details in the section for documents from Germany.

– Police clearance certificate / criminal record (die Straffreiheitsbescheinigung )

What is this?

From which countries should I get it and how old can the certificate be?

– Work certificates (Employment references) (die Arbeitszeugnisse)

If you worked after the internship year, you could and should send such references along with your application. These work certificates could help in the recognition process of your medical studies, and hence avoiding a medical knowledge exam (to compensate for subjects that you did not study).

If interested in more information, you can read this article:

“🇩🇪 Why are work certificates (employment references) (Arbeitszeugnisse) important?

Letter of good standing from the medical association (eine Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung)

From all the countries where you worked as a medical doctor in your life. At least in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) they require that.

– CV in German

• The CV should contain your whole studies (from primary school until now) and all of your work experience until the day of your application. Everything must be mentioned (🇩🇪 ohne Lücken= 🇺🇸 without gaps) in chronological order and in tables according to categories. This is why it is called a tabular CV (🇩🇪 Tabellarischer Lebenslauf). We have a free template for you 😊

• The CV must have a recent date (e. g., write the date when you are sending the documents)

• Lying in a CV or having wrong dates and information could endanger your application. Please read everything carefully, especially the dates.

Fictional example…

• You must sign the CV. Please… please… do not forget to sign it after you print it. Please!!! The application of a colleague got delayed because of this small mistake. Always in Germany, you should sign your CV, regarding for what goal. Even when applying later on for a medical license in Switzerland (steps for Switzerland), you should sign it.

– Birth certificate

To apply for Approbation in Germany, a birth certificate is not required in all medical license authorities. However, you will CERTAINLY need it if you later on applied for the German nationality. So, please prepare this document.

– An authenticated copy of the passport

I think a copy of the passport could be done in Germany in a city authority (🇩🇪 das Rathaus) or by a notary (🇩🇪 der Notar). But for safety, do it in your home country. The German Embassy will place a stamp and a group of signatures on the copy to indicate that it is an exact copy of the passport. It costs like 20 Euros.

(2) Documents that are required from “inside” Germany to apply for Approbation in Germany:

– German police clearance certificate (eine Straffreiheitsbescheinigung)

Before a foreigner apply for Approbation in Germany, they want to make sure that he did not commit any crime during his stay in Germany. In German, this document is called:

“Führungszeugnis der Belegart „O“ gem. § 30 Abs. 5 BZRG”

If you have been living in Germany for more than 6 months, then you need this document from Germany. Some authorities (like in Saarland) require it regardless of how long you lived in Germany.

You can apply for it either in:

(1) Local residents’ registration office (🇩🇪 das Einwohnermeldeamt) (same place where you do the 🇩🇪 Anmeldung)
(2) Online through the Website of the Federal Office of Justice. But you need for that a blue card or residence permit (🇩🇪 elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel) with activated online functions. It is a bit complicated. Simply do it in the “local residents’ registration office” (🇩🇪 das Einwohnermeldeamt) (You can improve your German for free 🥳)

⚡🚑 Be careful: There are many types of police clearance certificates in Germany.

Facharzt JETZT!

To be sure that you are ordering the correct one, show the employee ordering the certificate for you either:

The mail from the medical license authority in which they request itPrint the list of required documents from the website of the medical authority (in it, they mention the type of the certificate)
– Health certificate from Germany (die Gesundheitsbescheinigung)

Some authorities do not recognize health certificates from outside Germany. You need to get this certificate again from a licensed doctor (🇩🇪 approbierter Arzt) in Germany. Usually, this is a paper that you download from the website of the approbation authority. Any family doctor (🇩🇪 der Hausarzt) can sign it.

Age of this document: Usually maximally 3 months. Nonetheless, some medical license authorities (like in Schleswig-Holstein & Saarland) require it to be maximally one month old.

• How much does it cost? Click for more details.

Call many family doctors clinics (🇩🇪 Hausarztpraxis) in your city before you go to one of them to ask for a health certificate. Or you can ask in our main Facebook group about a cheap doctor. You can get it for free or pay 100–200 Euros!

Facharzt JETZT!
– Proof of intention

The proof of intention is evidence that a foreign doctor provides in order to be allowed to apply for Approbation in a German state. This is one of the documents needed to apply for Approbation in 15 out of 16 German states. The only German state that is not known to require this bureaucratic hurdle is Bavaria (🇩🇪 Bayern). 🥳🥳🥳

We explained the proof of intention in a detailed article: “🇩🇪 Apply for Approbation in Germany: The proof of intention”.

– Documents from the websites of the medical authorities

They are always needed. You find them on the website of the approbation authority where you apply for Apporbation in Germany. They have to be printed out and filled out. Of course, sign them at the end. This is very important not to forget to sign them (just like the CV).

Examples of these documents from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)

• Critical notes when you apply for Approbation in Germany:

(1) Name and date of birth in each document

• They should be written in all of your documents (Passport, university certificate, birth certificate, etc.)

• Be sure that your name is spelled and written the same in all of your documents. Please, such a mistake could cause you not becoming a medical license! Avoid such a mistake!

(2) Translation

To apply for Approbation in Germany you need to translate most or all of your documents to German. Some medical license authorities might accept some documents in English. Certainly is translating the documents NEVER a mistake. In case the authority did not need the translation, they will simply read the original document in English; because you need to always send both the original document and the translation stapled together).

Where to do the translation is another important point. This plus other important points are mentioned in the following article:

“🇩🇪 Translation of documents for foreign doctors: What to pay attention to (🇩🇪 was zu beachten)

(3) Authentication

To apply for Approbation in Germany, our recommendation is that you authenticate all of your documents. Please read the following article about authentication. This is because authentication (like the translation) is extremely important to be able to apply for Approbation in Germany:

🇩🇪 Authenticate your documents in the countries where you got them from. Here is why and how.

Example about the authentication

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