Laser-induced surface modification of various polymers is presented as a suitable pretreatment of surfaces in a two-step metallization process. Materials such as polyamide (PA), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), polycarbonate (PC), acrylbutadienestyrene (ABS), styreneacrylnitril (SAN), polybutadieneterphtalate (PBT), and polyoxymethylen (POM) were treated by excimer laser radiation ((lambda) equals 248 nm) in air. The aim of this study is to investigate different processing regimes of surface modification. Therefore the laser processing variables fluence F, repetition rate v and pulse number N are varied and the absorption coefficient, optical penetration depth, ablation depth and ablation threshold are determined. The surface morphology and surface roughness are studied by optical surface profilometry and secondary electron microscopy (SEM). The influence of laser treatment on chemical composition of modified and ablated surfaces is analyzed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Depending on the processing parameters and materials properties different microstructures and values of surface roughness are generated on the micrometer length scale. Pretreatment for the subsequent metallization is performed with laser radiation, wet chemical and plasma etching. The metallization of polymers is investigated for different surface morphologies. The used metallization processes are electroplating and physical vapor deposition (PVD). Adhesion of the deposited films, measured with scratch and tape test methods, is used as a criterion for determining regimes of suitable surface modification for subsequent metallization.