Basic information

Would you like to work as a doctor in Saxony or receive your specialist training there? Here you can find important information on how to proceed.

I. Language skills

A very good knowledge of German is a prerequisite for working as a doctor in Saxony. If there is evidence of a lack of language skills a medical language test (comparable to Level C1) has to be passed at the State Chamber of Physicians of Saxony.

II. Doctors from non-EU countries (third countries)

For working as a doctor in the Federal Republic of Germany, doctors from non-EU countries need a licence or provisional licence to practise medicine and a residence permit that permits employment.

1. Residence permit

Citizens of countries outside the European Union may only be employed in Germany if their residence permit permits it; employers may only employ them if they have been granted such a residence permit (Art. 4.3. of the German Residence Act – AufenthG). According to Art. 18.2 of the AufenthG, a foreign doctor may be granted a residence permit for being employed only if the Federal Employment Agency ("Zentrale Auslandsvermittlung" - ZAV) has given its consent under Art. 39 of the AufenthG or if a decree stipulates that an employment is permitted without the consent of the Federal Employment Agency.

Job-seeking foreign doctors should contact the foreigners’ registration office for being granted a residence permit. In Saxony, those offices are operated by the districts (Landkreise) and independent cities (kreisfreie Städte). From foreign countries, you can contact the German diplomatic mission. They check the provisions of residence law in each case and request the competent employment office to decide on the access to the employment market if appropriate. Together with the decision on the residence permit, the access to the employment market will then be decided on. A prerequisite for this procedure is that an offer for a specific position has been made.

Since July 2011, it has been possible for foreign doctors from third countries to get permission to enter the German job market without the so-called priority check. A prerequisite for such a permission is that the conditions of employment – particularly the amount of the salary – correspond to those of comparable domestic employees.

On 01/08/2012, the law on the implementation of the EU directive concerning highly qualified persons (Blue Card Act) became effective. Its purpose is to address the need for highly qualified experts. In addition to the new type of residence permit "EU Blue Card", it introduced other measures for simplifying permissions to enter the German job market. Highly qualified persons, and thus also doctors, are granted the "EU Blue Card" residence permit without the involvement of the Central Employment Office (ZAV) if they can prove a recognised or equivalent degree from a foreign university and an annual salary of at least 47,600 €. As the medical profession is classified as a "shortage occupation" in Germany, the Blue Card may even be issued if a degree from a foreign university and an annual salary of at least 37,130 € can be proved; in that case, however, the ZAV will be involved and the conditions of employment will be evaluated. The employee will be obliged to provide information to the Federal Employment Agency (BA) for the verification of the conditions of employment. Foreign doctors who have earned their degree from a domestic university will also be granted their residence permit for their employment in Germany without the ZAV being involved.

The subsequent immigration of family members of Blue Card holders is privileged (compared to other types of residence permit) and is therefore possible without waiting times and without any requirement for German language skills. Access to the German job market is guaranteed for the family members without restriction, i.e. any type of employment will be permitted.

In any case, the granting of a residence permit for an employment as a doctor requires the presentation or assurance of a licence or provisional licence to practise medicine.

For freelance work, a residence permit may be granted in accordance with Art. 21.5 of the German Residence Act (AufenthG). A prerequisite is that the statutory trade association and the public authority responsible for granting the professional licence give their consent. They will be contacted by the foreigners' registration office that is in charge of granting the residence permit. A consent may be given if without the foreign doctor's work, the medical care of the population would be at risk.

2. Licence / provisional licence to practise medicine

Since 01 April 2012, it has been possible to grant citizens of non-EU states a licence to practise medicine (Approbation). Such a licence is the regular professional licence for doctors in Germany. It is granted for an unlimited period and entitles the holder to practice medicine without any professional restrictions. The applicant must fulfil the following prerequisites for being granted the licence to practise medicine:

  • a completed training as a medical doctor that is equivalent to the training of medical doctors in the Federal Republic of Germany,
  • the fulfilment of the personal and health requirements for practising the profession, and
  • the German language skills necessary for practising the profession.

A training completed abroad will be considered equivalent if it is not significantly different from the training in Germany. The equivalence will be determined not only on the basis of the medical training abroad but also on the basis of any professional practice. Therefore, the office granting the licence to practice medicine should be presented not only the medical degree certificate and the proof of the subjects and academic hours in the completed medical studies but also proofs of the previous medical practice. The equivalence of the level of training will then be evaluated individually on the basis of those documents. If major differences in the medical training are found which have not been compensated by professional practice, the applicant must take a theoretical examination set by the Saxon State Examination Office for Academic Medical Professions (Sächsisches Landesprüfungsamt für akademische Heilberufe) in order to be granted the licence to practice medicine.

If the equivalence of the level of training has not been proved (yet), a provisional licence to practice medicine (Berufserlaubnis) may also be granted, with the total maximum period of the licence being two years. Unlike a licence to practice medicine, such a provisional licence may be made subject to requirements, e.g. for work under the supervision and responsibility of a doctor holding a licence or for work at a particular hospital. However, with that type of licence, a further training as a medical specialist may not be commenced.

Those who plan to be trained further as a medical specialist or work as a doctor in Germany for more than two years should make efforts to be granted a licence to practice medicine.

Besides, freelance work as a panel doctor is only permitted with a licence to practise medicine. In addition, the panel doctor must have been recognised as a specialist by the Saxon State Medical Association (Sächsische Landesärztekammer).

III. Doctors from EU countries

Principally, doctors from EU countries have the same access to the medical profession as German doctors. They only need a licence to practise medicine, but they do not need any residence or work permit.

That also applies to doctors from the EWR-states (Norway, Iceland und Liechtenstein) and Switzerland.

IV. Service Providers

Doctors who practise medicine temporarily and occasionally in Germany as service providers within the meaning of Article 5 of EC Directive 2005/36/EC do not need any German licence to practise medicine for this purpose. However, they must inform the competent State Administration Office in writing before providing their services (Art. 7 of Directive 2005/36/EC). The temporary and occasional nature of the provision of services will be assessed in each individual case, especially on the basis of the duration, frequency, regular occurrence and continuity of the service.

V. Competent authorities

In the Free State of Saxony, the competent authorities for the granting of licences / provisional licences to practice medicine are the State Administration Offices (Landesdirektion Sachsen) whose territory the profession is to be pursued in.

VI. Documents necessary for applying for a licence / provisional licence to practice medicine

The documents to be submitted may vary in each individual case. Please ask your competent authority for the information and documents to be submitted.

  • Proof of a completed medical training – certified copy
  • Curriculum vitae with photo – complete description of the course of study and the professional career – signed personally
  • Birth certificate and marriage certificate, if appropriate – certified copy
  • Proof of citizenship, passport if appropriate – certified copy
  • Reference of the last employment in the medical profession – original or certified copy
  • Certificate of good conduct – issued no more than three months before the application – to be applied for by the competent registry office – equivalent official document in the case of foreign applicants
  • Clearance certificate of the supreme health authority of the home country, certifying that you are entitled to practice medicine and that no measures under professional or disciplinary law have been taken or initiated against you
  • Proof of knowledge of spoken and written German – at least Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference – confirmed by a certified language institute (e.g. Goethe Institute) – certified copy or original (will not be returned)
  • Declaration that no application for a German licence to practise medicine has been filed, nor will be filed, in another federal state. Otherwise, please describe the situation.
  • Certified German translations of all documents in foreign languages
  • A medical certificate according to which no indications exist that for health-related reasons, the applicant is incapable of, or unsuitable for, practising medicine. The certificate may not have been issued more than three months before the filing of the application.
  • The confirmation of employment by the hospital or employer that the medical profession is to be pursued for.
  • A certificate of the competent authority of your home country, certifying that your diploma, and thus your medical training, corresponds to the minimum requirements of the relevant EU Directive and is therefore equivalent to a training completed in the EU (certificate of conformity).
  • A declaration - with date and signature - according to which no licence / provisional licence to practise medicine granted to you has been withdrawn or revoked by another authority and/or no proceedings for a revocation or withdrawal have been initiated, and that you have not been refused the granting of any licence / provisional licence to practice medicine.
  • A declaration to be made by you in writing according to which no criminal court proceedings, investigation proceedings of public prosecutors, or professional court proceedings against you are pending.

VII. Useful links