If you want to study at a German university, you will need a university entrance qualification - in German: Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB). This is a school-leaving certificate which qualifies you for university studies.
First, find out if your previous education is recognized in Germany, and if so, at which level. You can figure this out in the Previous Education section of the Transfer Checklist on the Kiron Campus. If you can’t find your country or school-leaving certificate here, check the anabin website and use the section for high-school degrees or check the uni-assist admission check. Some universities use uni-assist to do a preliminary review of documentation (also called VPD for Vorprüfungsdokumentation). However, you can only access a VPD if you are applying to that specific university.
At some universities you can apply for degree recognition at the university directly. Use the keywords Anerkennung ausländischer Zeugnisse or Vorbildungsnachweise to see if this is possible. Please note that universities may accept the recognition of your documents by another university. Be aware that these procedure may take 4 to 6 weeks.
The result of the recognition process of your previous education may be direct general admission to university, or subject-restricted admission (you can only apply for specific study fields at university). In the second case, you can apply for a statement of comparability, which is an official document comparing and assessing your education with the German educational system (it is not a recognition!). The statement specifies the German qualification to which your foreign qualification is comparable and provides information on the options for continuing your studies, which uses of your degree are available to you, and the procedure of professional recognition. You can find more information about this document here.
If your education is recognized as admission to a preparatory course (in German: Studienkolleg), you can read more about the Studienkolleg. If your previous education is not recognized for higher education, you can read more about how to complete your schooling in Germany.
Your degree may be recognized as equivalent to 11 or 12 years of German schooling. To find out, you have to contact the office of Zeugnisanerkennungsstellen based on your location. Find the correct one in this list.
It is important to remember that the university is responsible for making the final decision on admissions. You should always ask the international office of the university of your choice if you meet all the necessary requirements.