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How to get German Medical License aka Approbation

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No matter if you are going to work as an assistant doctor at residency or as a specialist doctor, you should first get medical license called “Approbation” in Germany in any case.


Is medical license necessary for residency?

According to the Law on Foreign Physician Recognition, all foreign physicians who want to work in Germany should have medical lisense the same as locals. Students in Germany receive this license right after their graduation.

Foreign physicians should pass an exam calld “Kenntnisprüfung” in German for the recognition of their diploma received outside Germany and for getting their medical license. The infograpic below shows eight steps which you must take to study residency in Germany:


Germany is composed of 16 independently governed states. In this respect, the law on getting medical license is different. Some states maintain old system and physicians who don’t get license are permitted to work in “guest doctor” status (Gastarzt). In this case, foreign physicians should finance their study by themselves.

Before starting work, you could get temporary work permit (Berufserlaubnis) and get ready for medical license in this period. Duration of work permit varies from state to state depending upon where the hospital you are working for is located.

What should I do to get medical license?

As mentioned above, except some states, according to overall German legistation, to acquire medical license diploma recognition exam (Kenntnisprüfung or Gleichwertigkeitsprüfung) is compulsary.

You must first get temporary work permit and work in one of clinics in Germany. It is necessary to be able to take the exam. After preparing your documents, you must apply to sit for the exam in a state where you work and reside.

On which subjects exams are taken?

Exam is usually taken on four subjects and in most states, students can choose subjects. General surgery and internal diseases subjects are a fixed part of the exam in some states and cannot be subject to any change.

Exams are usually easy to pass. Taking into consideration that students are foreigners and speak German at B2 level, they will be given a chance. Although the exam asks questions on four different subjects, most of the questions are related to intended residency area. For example, if you want to choose ophtalmology as a residency area, you will be mainly asked from internal diseases subject, head and eye diseases and from general surgery subject about operations on mentioned organs.

If you fail to pass the exam, you will have two more chances. You would not be able get physician license in Germany any more if you fail in the third time.

PIGAS – “Program on International German Application Service” provides the application service for the applicants, who wants to study in German educational institutions and work there. You can check out Why you should work with us and How system works for detailed informations about our Services.

Ready to Apply?

Use our online application form and we will get in touch with details.

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