๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Approbation vs Berufserlaubnis: Can I work as a doctor with Berufserlaubnis? Yes, but…

โ€ข The translation of the words

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Approbation๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Permanent medical license๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด ุฑุฎุตุฉ ู…ุฒุงูˆู„ุฉ ุงู„ู…ู‡ู†ุฉ ุงู„ุทุจูŠุฉ ุงู„ุฏุงุฆู…ุฉ

versus

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Berufserlaubnis (BE)๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Temporary medical license๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด ุฑุฎุตุฉ ู…ุฒุงูˆู„ุฉ ุงู„ู…ู‡ู†ุฉ ุงู„ุทุจูŠุฉ ุงู„ู…ุคู‚ุชุฉ

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โ€ข How can you get directly an Approbation and not firstly a Berufserlaubnis?

Step number six of the 10 steps for beginning a medical residency in Germany is to apply for a German permanent medical license (die Approbation).

You can ask during the application process for a German Approbation (all required documents are here) that an appraisal process (๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Begutachtung) of your medical studies takes place. This process lasts between two to about months depending on the state and depending on where you studied. The results of this appraisal process is one of two things:

๐Ÿฅณ
Your medical studies are recognized to be equivalent to a German degree (๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช gleich = Gleichwertigkeit bekommen) (How?)
๐Ÿ˜ข
Your studies were judged NOT to be equivalent to a German degree (๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช nicht gleich)
You avoid a medical knowledge exam (๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Kenntnisprรผfung) –> You can get the Approbation after succeeding in the medical language exam (๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Fachsprachenprรผfung)You need to do a medical knowledge exam (๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Kenntnisprรผfung). Until you do succeed in it, you are given a period of two years to work with a temporary medical license (๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Berufseralubnis).

Your aim should be to get the Approbation. As its definition says, it is a โ€œpermanentโ€ medical license and the Berufserlaubnis (BE) is a โ€œtemporaryโ€ medical license. But this is not the only difference. ๐Ÿ˜”

โ€ข Why is a Berufserlaubnis (BE) a bad alternative to the Approbation?

We summarized the differences in the following table:

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช die Approbation
(permanent medical license)
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช die Berufserlaubnis (BE)
(temporary medical license)
Time validityLifelongSome German approbation authorities do not give it to foreign doctors, others give it for a duration between 6-24 months. In rare cases and after a lot of mails and phone calls, it could be lengthened by a few months
Where can you work with it?All over Germany; probably in many EU/EEA countries tooOnly one German state (๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช das Bundesland) and, in many cases, only in one hospital in that state. To change hospitals inside this German state, you need to apply for a new one.

Changing German states is even more complicated, and to get a new BE from the new approbation authority could take months.
Working restrictionsYou may do everything a doctor may doYou can work in the department, only when other doctors with a permanent medical license are there at the same time (the idea is: they observe you). Moreover, almost always, you cannot do extra shifts with it.
Easy to get a job?Of courseIt is hard. Even if a hospital accepted you to work with BE, they are usually small and isolated hospitals. Moreover, they know that you cannot find a job easily, so they might take advantage of you (e.g., working extra hours without them being paid). But this is rather not a common thing. Moreover, you are anyhow a beginner, and through working extra you can improve your German and learn for the exam (learning by doing).
SalaryNormal (we explained the salaries of doctors in normal hospitals here: Link)In almost 95% of the cases, like a normal doctor with a permanent medical license. But I heard of some hospitals paying doctors with a temporary medical license less.

Because doctors with BE are almost always not allowed to do shift work, they get the normal salary for doctors (but it is not little and anyhow they need time to study for their medical knowledge exam).
Does the residency period under it count for the total period of the residency?Yes, from day one.No. So, if you work with a BE for 2 years as an internal medicine resident, this does not mean that you then require an additional 3 years to finish the residency period of internal medicine (which is 5 years). Only the time of residency with Approbation would be counted. Therefore, the total residency period would then be 7 years.
Getting an unlimited right to stay in Germany?You get immediately a blue card (Blaue Karte), which is a residence permit to stay and work. It is the European Union version of a the American green card.
After working for 21 months, you can get the permanent residence (Niederlassungserlaubnis). This means, you then have the right to remain in the EU indefinitely.
You can only get a blue card (temporary residence). You can only get the permanent residence after getting the Approbation.
NotesIf you had a Berufserlaubnis in one German state for two years, you cannot move to the next German state and take two new years. If you exceed the two years period, you cannot renew them ๐Ÿ˜” Some might get through a lawyer or throuhg a lot of help of the hospitals an extension.

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8 comments

    1. Regarding the EU Blue Card, are you sure that many places (inside Germany) will not give you a EU Blue Card if you have the Berufserlaubnis?

  1. […] Do the medical knowledeg exam (๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช die Kenntnisprรผfung)– You should register to get an appointment. It usually takes months. So, do it quickly.– That you can apply for a temporary medical license (๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช eine Berufserlaubnis) and try to find a job until you do the exam. The differences between a Berufserlaubnis and an Approbation are explained in the following article. […]

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