Recognition Individual Professional Competence

Description of the subject matter

If you want to carry on a regulated tradeGerman text or a sub-trade, you have to furnish evidence of professional competenceGerman text. Evidence of professional competence proves that the person registering the business has the professional and commercial knowledge as well as the abilities and experience necessary to carry on the respective trade independently.

If no evidence of professional competence may be furnished, the authority may recognise professional competence individually. To this end, the applicant has to prove in a different way that he/she has the necessary knowledge, abilities and experience.

It is also possible to obtain individual authorisation to pursue a sub-activity if evidence of professional competence can be furnished only for a sub-activity of the respective trade. The activities of a carpenter may, for example, be limited to mounting.

PLEASE NOTE Recognition of individual professional competence for a full scope of activities is not possible with regard to some specific trades (e.g. master builder or master wood builder).


Knowledge, abilities and experience required for the regulated trade or sub-trade the applicant intends to carry on


No specific deadlines have to be met.

Competent authority

The trade authority having territorial competence for the trade premises:

PLEASE NOTE If the application for recognition of individual professional competence is not filed simultaneously with trade registration, the trade authority is responsible within whose territorial competence the applicant has his/her residence.


You may file the application simultaneously with or before trade registration.

Registration may be made – without meeting specific formal requirements or by using a form – personally, in writing or also electronically.

Informal applications have to include the following information:

  • Precise title of the trade /sub-activity of the trade
  • Details on the training, type and scope of relevant professional and commercial activities
  • If the trade is registered at the same time: address of the location where the trade is carried on

If required, the authority may request an expert opinion of the competent Regional Chamber of Trade and IndustryGerman text.

The trade authority recognises individual professional competence with a full or limited scope of activities through a final administrative decision (Feststellungsbescheid) or a note for the file.

The trade may not be carried on before the final administrative decision is issued with legally binding effect and before trade registration.

PLEASE NOTE If the requirements for carrying on a trade have not been met, you will receive an administrative decision rejecting your application.

Documents required

PLEASE NOTE Persons who are registered in the Trade Register do not have to submit identification documents. If the authority can retrieve the necessary data from registers, the following documents do not have to be submitted: birth certificate and certificate of citizenship or passport, residence registration, registration certificates of Commercial Register or Central Register of Associations.

  • Birth certificateGerman text and certificate of citizenshipGerman text or passportGerman text
  • Residence registrationGerman text
  • If applicable, documentary proof of academic degreesGerman text
  • Documents proving individual professional competence:  
    • School certificates (higher academic schools, vocational schools)
    • Apprenticeship certifications
    • Diploma certificate
    • Certificates of courses and seminars
  • If you have been active as an employee in the respective trade: additionally
    • Contribution periods with the Regional Health Insurance Institution for
    • Employees (Gebietskrankenkasse)
    • Employers’ reference
    • Evidence concerning the type and scope of the professional and commercial activities pursued in the enterprise
  • If you have already been self-employed: additionally
    • Registration certificate of the Trade Register
    • If applicable, registration certificate of Commercial Register (not older than six months)
  • In the event of change of name: additionally
  • For start-ups: additionally

PLEASE NOTE Additional documents may be required in the event of simultaneous trade registration.

Legal basis

Section 19 of the Gewerbeordnung 1994 (GewO 1994)

Expert information

No expert information is available.


Online procedure:

Last update: 11.09.2019

Approved by:
  • Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs

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