Recognition of foreign school qualifications is limited to school leaving certificates. Performances prior to finishing school cannot be recognised. In such cases the decision about placement into the appropriate grade lies with the school management in consultation with the local school authority as well as the students and their parents, usually after a trial lesson.
Foreign school leaving qualifications may be equated with a German school-leaving qualification under certain conditions.
The decision about equivalence with the following qualifications is made by the certificate recognition offices (Zeugnisanerkennungsstellen) of the Länder:
- Hauptschulabschluss (general education school leaving certificate after grade 9)
- Mittlerer Bildungsabschluss, 'Realschulabschluss' (general education school leaving certificate after grade 10)
- Allgemeine oder fachgebundene Hochschulreife (General or subject-specific higher education entrance qualification) for professional purposes, e.g. vocational training.
Authorities in charge of recognising school leaving certificates can be found in the database 'anabin' under 'Anerkennungs- und Beratungsstellen in Deutschland'.
If access to higher education is sought, the relevant higher education institutions are responsible for the recognition of school leaving certificates.
- School performance may be recognised.
- Schools decide on the placement into a certain type of school or grade in consultation with the supervising school authority.
- Official recognition is only necessary if a German school leaving certificate is to be awarded.
- The decision on the award of a German school leaving certificate is made by the certificate recognition offices (Zeugnisanerkennungsstellen) in the Länder.