How to Check If Your Degree Is Recognised in Germany Using the Anabin Database

Updated: Feb 10


In Germany, the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) acts as the sole authority for the evaluation of foreign qualifications in Germany. As part of their service, they maintain a database called Anabin that lists foreign degrees and higher education qualifications in relation to German diplomas and degrees.

Recognition of your foreign university-level qualifications in Germany is often an essential prerequisite for securing an Employment Visa, Job Seekers Visa or EU Blue Card for Germany. Often the success of your visa application is dependent on you being able to successfully prove that your university-level qualification is considered on par with an equivalent German qualification. Generally, you require a 3/4-year bachelor's degree to meet the basic requirements for your degree to be recognised in Germany.

Note: if you are from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand or the United States, then you do not need a university degree in order to apply for an Employment Visa. However, in general, citizens of all countries need a degree recognised in Germany to apply for the Job Seekers Visa or EU Blue Card.


Fortunately, a large number of people have already applied for their foreign qualifications to be recognised by ZAB – each time this happens, the institution, degree type and specific degree is added to the Anabin database and you can use these entries as proof of your degree recognition if they align with your qualifications. However, if no one has previously requested for your qualification to be recognised, then your institution, degree type and specific degree won’t be listed on Anabin and you will have to officially apply for a Statement of Comparability from ZAB.

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HOW TO SEARCH THE ANABIN DATABASE Unfortunately, Anabin is an extremely clunky database and is only in German. Therefore, it can be incredibly hard to navigate and find the necessary data to show that your qualification is considered comparable to a German one.

This is why Nomaden Berlin has put together this guide, which should hopefully allow you to successfully navigate the database and find the proof you need to support your visa application.

Checking if your university or college institution is recognised in Germany The very first step is to check that your institution is recognised in Germany. Here there are three categories:

  • H+ (your institution is recognised in Germany)

  • H- (your institution is not recognised in Germany and neither are any of the qualifications awarded by your institution)

  • H+/- (only certain qualifications from your institution are recognised in Germany. Follow the instructions in the section below titled What to do if your institution is classified as H+/-.

To perform this check, you should search for your university or college institution on the Anabin database here. You should then switch to the Search (Suchen) tab before filtering the search results by country (Land), city (Ort) or institution type (Institutionstypen).


Note: If you can’t find your institution on Anabin, this doesn’t automatically mean your institution is not recognised in Germany. It may simply be because no has previously requested for a qualification from your institution to be compared before. If you find yourself in this situation, you are required to apply for a Statement of Comparability from ZAB. What to do if your institution is classified as H+

1. If your institution is classified as H+ in Anabin, your institution is recognised in Germany. Next, you should click on the plus sign (+) beside your institution name. This will open a pop-up window. You are required to bring and submit a printed screenshot of this pop-up window when applying for a visa to prove that your institution is recognised.


2. Now that you have confirmed that your institution is classified as H+, the next step is to check if your degree type is recognised as comparable to a German qualification. This can also be done on the Anabin database here. The process for checking if your degree type is comparable is as follows:

  • Switch to the Suchen nach Abschlusstypen (Search for Degree Type) tab.

  • Select the country in which you attained your qualification in the first filter field (Länderauswahl).

  • After selecting a country, a list will appear under the search fields showing different degree types, e.g. Bachelor of Science / Master of Arts. Click on the plus sign (+) beside your degree type. This will open a pop-up window that provides details of your qualification and how it compares with qualifications in the German system. Print the pop-up window and take it to your visa appointment.

  • Scroll down the first pop-up window until you reach a section called Abschlüsse (degrees). Here you may be able to select a more specific degree type, e.g. Bachelor of Science / Ingenieurwissenschaften (Bachelor of Science / Engineering). Once you select the relevant degree type, a second pop-up window will open with additional information about the degree’s equivalence. Again, screenshot the pop-up window and take it to your visa appointment. The figure below is an example printout showing that a 4-year Bachelor of Technology from South Africa is considered comparable with a German degree.

We contacted the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) who confirmed that providing proof from Anabin that your institution (Institution) and degree type (Abschlusstyp) is recognised in Germany is sufficient proof in almost all cases when applying for visas. However, in the event you come up against an especially strict caseworker at the immigration office in Berlin or a German embassy overseas, they may request proof that your specific degree from your specific institution (and not just your degree type) is recognised. In this scenario, we first recommend that you return another day to apply for your visa and you’ll hopefully come across a more lenient caseworker. If they continue to insist, then you have two options:

1. You can search for your specific degree on the Anabin database here.

  • Switch to the Suchen nach Abschlüssen (Search for Degrees) tab and then select the country in which you attained your qualification in the first filter field (Länderauswahl), the degree type (Abschlusstypen) in the second filter field and the area of study (Studienrichtung) in the third filter field.

  • Once you have located your degree type, click the plus sign (+) beside your degree type. This will open a pop-up window showing whether your specific qualification from your specific institution has previously been compared. If this is the case, print a screenshot of the pop-up window and take it to your visa appointment.

2. You may well find that your specific degree from your specific institution is not listed on Anabin. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not recognised in Germany, but that no one has applied for it to be compared before. To check whether your specific degree is equivalent to a German degree, you need to apply for a Statement of Comparability (Zeugnisbewertung) from ZAB.

What to do if your institution is classified as H-

If you find that your institution is classified as H- on Anabin, then it’s unfortunately not recognised in Germany and neither are the qualifications awarded by it.

While this may hamper your chances of landing a work permit/employment visa for Germany, having 5+ years of work experience can often be used as a substitute for not having a recognised university-level qualification.

What to do if your institution is classified as H+/-

If you find that your institution type is classified as H+/-, you then need to check if your specific university-level qualification is recognised in Germany rather than just your degree type and institution. In the event that your institution is classified as H+/-, you have two options:

1. You can search for your specific degree on the Anabin database here.

  • Switch to the Suchen nach Abschlüssen (Search for Degrees) tab and then select the country in which you attained your qualification in the first filter field (Länderauswahl), the degree type (Abschlusstypen) in the second filter field and the area of study (Studienrichtung) in the third filter field.

  • Once you have located your degree type, click the plus sign (+) beside your degree type. This will open a pop-up window showing whether your specific qualification from your specific institution has previously been compared. If this is the case, print a screenshot of the pop-up window and take it to your visa appointment.

2. You may well find that your specific degree from your specific institution is not listed on Anabin. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not recognised in Germany, but that no one has applied for it to be compared before. To check whether your specific degree is equivalent to a German degree, you need to apply for a Statement of Comparability (Zeugnisbewertung) from ZAB.

So there you have it! A full breakdown of how to search the Anabin database. While Anabin is not remotely user-friendly, we hope these instructions provide you with some relief when battling with the database!

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