Oral examination

Integration from foreign doctors into Germany

Medical language exam.

Since 2017, all doctors of foreign countries who whish to practice medicine in Germany are required first to pass the medical language exam (dt.: Fachsprachenprüfung). The medical language exam is held in each federal state of Germany (dt.: Bundesland) by the German Chambers of doctors (dt.: Ärztekammer). The required level to pass the medical language exam is C1 (“German for medical doctors”).

For doctors of foreign countries, passing this medical language exam is the most important part in their immigration process to Germany.

In order to be granted a permission to practice as a medical doctor in Germany, you need to pass first this medical language exam.

To prepare for the medical language exam, you should follow this guideline:

  • If you have a B2 Goethe German certificate when you arrive in Germany (e.g., through visiting a German language course in your native country), you will first visit a series of general German language courses in Germany until you reach the C1-level. That should take approximately 4 months in total. After that, you will follow the specialized course “German for medical doctors C1”. This course will specifically prepare you for the medical language exam. To make it clear: A foreign B2 Goethe German certificate is equivalent to a B1 Goethe German certificate in Germany.
  • However, if you have already a C1 Goethe German certificate when you arrive in Germany, the duration of your visit of general German language courses until you reach the C1-level will be cut to approximately 2 months. After that, you will also follow the specialized course “German for medical doctors C1” before you take part in the medical language exam. Again: A foreign C1 Goethe German certificate is equivalent to a B2 Goethe German certificate in Germany.
  • ATTENTION: Please do not assume that you can first visit the specialized course “German for medical doctors C1” and then general German language courses. That would be a waste of time.

    It is absolutely important that the application for a permission to practice as a medical doctor in Germany includes all required documents when submitted to the German health authorities. Otherwise, the application will be immediately declines by the German health authorities.

    Only if the application includes all required documents, the German health authorities will make an appointment for you to take part in the medical language exam at the German Chambers of doctors (dt.: Ärztekammer).

    Difference between the German health authorities and the German Chambers of doctors

  • The German health authorities are responsible for granting your permission to practice medicine in Germany. There are two types of permissions:
    1. permanent licence (dt.: Approbation)
    2. a temporary one for maximal 2 years (dt.: Berufserlaubnis).
  • The German Chambers of doctors (dt.: Ärztekammer) are responsible for holding the medical language exam (and other things associated with your medical professional training).
  • The German Chambers of doctors (dt.: Ärztekammer) will evaluate how many years of your professional medical training (e.g., your medical specialist degree) and your work experience in other countries will be recognized in Germany.
  • If you are granted to practice medicine in Germany, you will have to become also a member of the Chambers of doctors (dt.: Ärztekammer) in the federal state you are working in.
  • Working permission for foreign doctors from outside the EU

    Doctors from countries outside of the EU are initially receiving a temporary licence (dt.: Berufserlaubnis) to practice medicine in Germany for the following 2 years. During this time, the German health authorities will evaluate your curriculum. If your curriculum is considered to be equivalent to the German curriculum (dt.: Gleichwertigkeitsprüfung), you will receive a non-restricted, permanent licence to practice medicine in Germany (dt.: Approbation). However, if your curriculum is deemed to be non-equivalent, you will have to take an examination of your medical proficiency. The examination usually takes 90 minutes, wherein you will be asked questions from the fields surgery, internal medicine and one subject of your choice.

    Working permission for foreign doctors from another EU-country

    All doctors who have studied in a country that is a member of the EU (independent from their native country) are generally entitled to receive a permanent licence to practice medicine in Germany (dt.: Approbation). It will be also recognized if you have merely completed a part of your medical professional training in a EU-country (e.g., earning a medical specialist degree).