The licensing process is strictly regimented. The 36 Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs must submit their completed licence application to the DFL by 15.30 on 15 March.

After close examination of the various criteria by experts, the so-called licence managers, the applications are presented to the DFL board. A decision in the first instance regarding the refusal or acceptance of the licence is then made by the middle of April. All clubs are informed of the decision simultaneously.

Obligations and conditions play an important role in the awarding or refusal of licences. Should a liquidity projection prove negative, the licence is only awarded in lieu of the fulfilment of certain conditions set out by the DFL. The club in question is required to implement improvements by a pre-determined date to ensure financial stability (condition). If a club is awarded a licence subject to obligations, it is still permitted to participate in the Bundesliga. However, it must adhere to the stipulated obligations during the season otherwise it may be subject to sanctions such as a fine or points deduction.