How to Use the Anabin Database

Worldify - Using the Anabin Database for German visa application
Written by
Gabrielle Soria
Published on
April 29, 2023

A crucial part of any German visa application is checking your university degree(s) in the Anabin database. Run by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB), the Anabin Database is a website that checks if foreign degrees have a German equivalent. The Anabin Database is available to the public, which makes it (theoretically) easy to check your own degree. However, like many things in Germany, the database is currently only available in German. So to make your day a bit easier, we’re going to walk you through how to use it!

As a general note before we get started, you typically require a 3- or 4-year Bachelor's degree to meet the basic requirements of having a degree recognized in Germany.

But don’t panic if you don’t have a 3- or 4-year degree. You can check yours regardless just to be sure.

Your Guide for Using the Anabin Database

Step 1: Open the Anabin database

First things first. We’ll need to navigate to the Anabin website. Clicking the button below will open Anabin database in a new tab. Keep both open parallel as we move through the following steps.

Step 2: Search for your university

You can either search for your university by country (which is what we recommend), or using alternative search terms. We've found that searching by country is usually a bit more efficient—since the system is in German, alternative search terms in English or other foreign languages might not be recognized. However you search, you'll begin the same way:

Using the left-hand navigation, click on "Institutionen" (Institutions).

Searching by country

Using the left-hand navigation, click on "Institutionen" (Institutions).

Click on the "Suchen" (Search) tab

Then, click the “Länderauswahl öffnen” button. This will open a pop-up that allows you to select the country of your degree from the list.

Use the alphabet to navigate to your country, then click "Länderauswahl bestätigung" (Country selection confirmation). Beneath the main box, an alphabetized list of universities will appear.

Depending on the country, this list can be quite long—so you can also add additional search terms (like state or region) to narrow down the list.

Searching by alternative search terms

To search by alternative search terms, like the university name, simply type your search term into the box that reads, "Bitte geben Sie einen Suchbegriff ein" (Please enter a search term). Then click the “Suche starten” button.

🚨 Most universities will be filed in the Anabin database—but if yours is not, don't panic. We have more instructions at the end of this post!

Step 3: Open your university's profile

Once you've found your university in the list, click the small purple "+" sign to the left of the university name. This will open up a pop-up with the Anabin database's details about your university.

In the top right corner of the profile box, there are a series of icons. Choose the one that looks like a printer to generate a printable PDF of your university's profile. This is the document you will need for your visa application. Be sure to save it somewhere safe and file it with your other application documents.

In the section of the profile marked "Status", you will see a line in purple that will say either "H+", "H-", "H+/-".

Transparency: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Step 4: Interpreting your university status

My institution is rated as H+ in the Anabin database

Hooray! The German authorities have established that your degree is equal to a German degree. This is especially important for Blue Card applicants.

(!) There is one exception: When the search result specifies your institution (for example, Harvard University) and mentions specific subjects, you need to find the subject that you majored in exactly on the Anabin result.

  • E.g. if the Anabin database profile for Harvard University lists specifies subjects like “Chemistry”, “Biology” and “IT” in the section, "Abschlussbezeichnung" (Degree Title), but you studied Geology, you will likely need to apply for a Statement of Comparability from the ZAB. More information on that can be found here.

My institution is rated as H+/- in the Anabin database

If your University is rated as H+/-, it means that only certain degrees from your institution are recognized as equal to German degrees. To prove your degree's equivalency, you need to find your exact degree type as well. Move to the next section and we’ll explain how to move forward.

(!) There can be exceptions to the rule - we recommend reading the Anabin print out as well.

My institution is rated as H- in the Anabin database

This result means that the German authorities do not recognize your institution as equal to a German institution. Unfortunately, it won’t be possible to apply for the Blue Card with this result—however, applying for a residence title or other visa types is typically not an issue.

Step 5: If your institution status is H+/-

Go back to the main page of the Anabin database. This time, click on “Hochschulabschlüsse” (University degrees).

Then click on the tab, “Suchen nach Abschlüssen” (Search for degrees).

Once there, click the “Länderauswahl öffnen” button.

Use the alphabet to navigate to your country, then look for your university. Once you’ve selected the box next to your country, click the button to confirm.

Clicking ”Alle Abschlusstypen” will open a menu with all degree types available in that country. Use the drop-down to select and sort by your degree type.

This time, the list will display the degrees. Click on the “+” next to your degree type to see if you can find your university / institution in the pop-up window.

If you can find an H+ rating, the embassy will most likely accept it as a proof of equivalency. If you cannot find it and want a blue card, we recommend applying for a statement of comparability.

If you can find an H+ rating, the embassy will likely accept it as a proof of equivalency.

If you cannot find it and would like to apply for a Blue Card, we recommend applying for a Statement of Comparability with the ZAB.

*Help! My university is not in the list!

If you can’t find your specific degree, it means that no one has previously requested recognition or equivalency for this particular qualification. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should worry—it just means the Anabin database has no information on it.

Unless you want to apply for an IT skilled visa (where you do not need a degree), we recommend applying for an equivalency statement from the ZAB.

If you have further questions about the Anabin database or about your unique visa case, you can book time with a Worldify immigration advisor here.

Transparency: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
Sign up for our newsletter!
Sign up for early-bird access to the Worldify product - coming in May 2024 - and be the first to get expat news and tips.
Sign up now!
Related posts