Germany is a land of opportunities, not only for Germans, but also for foreigners who want to find work and settle in Germany. It is the country of invention, innovation and home to some of the world’s most well-known corporations and businesses.
German work visa provides competent foreigners with the possibility to settle in Germany and work in their field. It allows its holder to enter Germany and work for up to two years, with the option of extending the visa and applying for an EU Blue Card or other types of residence permits afterwards.
Do I need a visa to work in Germany?
|What country do you hold citizenship in?||Work visa?||Work permit or residence permit?|
|EU/EEA, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland||No, you do not need a visa to enter Germany. You neither need to have a job offer prior to entering Germany.||No, you just have to register your residence once you arrive in Germany, using a passport or valid ID.|
|Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA||No, you do not need a visa to enter Germany. You neither need to have a job offer prior to entering Germany.||Yes, if you intend to stay in Germany for more than 90 days, you need to apply for a residence permit at the Immigration Authority Office upon your arrival in Germany.|
|If you are not a citizen of one of the countries listed above||Yes, you need to apply for a work visa in order to enter Germany and begin working.||Yes, upon landing in Germany, you must additionally apply for a work-related residence visa.|
💼 Work Visa
If you are not a citizen of one of the countries listed above, you can apply for a German long-stay visa to work in Germany for the following reasons:
- Employment – If you already have a work offer in Germany
- Self-Employment – if you want to start a business or operate as a freelancer in Germany.
- Job seeker – if you wish to look for a job while in Germany.
- Working as an Au Pair – is a great way for young adults to learn about German culture and language.
- Working Holiday Visa – for young people from a number of countries that have agreed to a Working Holiday Visa with Germany.
Categories of people who can apply for a work visa
According to the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz), which governs the issue of foreigners’ residence in Germany, the following categories are eligible to apply for a German Employment Visa:
- Highly qualified foreigners, in particular:
- researchers with special technical knowledge
- teaching personnel in prominent positions or scientific personnel in prominent positions
- Intra-corporate transferees, in particular:
In addition, eligible and encouraged to apply for a Germany work visa are third-world country nationals with a university degree or a non-academic vocational qualification that fulfil the conditions listed below:
- There is a shortage of skilled workers in the profession you want to practice in Germany.
- You have a concrete job offer.
- Your education must be recognized as equivalent to a German degree.
How can I apply for a work visa in Germany?
The following is a step-by-step guide to applying for a work visa in Germany:
- Make an application for a job in Germany.
- Check to see if you’ll need a visa for a long stay in Germany.
- Find out where your visa application must be sent.
- According to the directions, gather all of the relevant documents.
- Set up a time for a visa interview.
- Pay the German Employment Work visa fee.
- Participate in the interview.
- Wait for your visa application to be approved.
Documents required for a work visa
You will need to submit many documents to the German embassy/consulate in your country of residence to verify that you meet the requirements for an employment visa. Along with the visa interview, these documents are critical components of your application for a German work visa.
Make certain you gather all of these documents in accordance with their instructions.
- Two fully completed application forms. Printed and signed at the end.
- Two passport photographs based on biometric specifications
- A valid national passport is required.
- Proof of residency is required. Proof of residency in the territory of the consulate where you intend to apply, such as a driver’s license or a utility bill in your name.
- Health insurance is required. German employer’s mandatory certificate, valid from the start of work. Separate travel insurance must be presented for the time period between arrival in Germany and the start of employment if it is not already included in the mandatory health insurance.
- An employment contract / binding job offer with details of gross annual salary and a detailed description of the employment in Germany.
- Approval by the Federal Employment Agency (If applicable).
- Curriculum Vitae. Your updated CV, which indicates your academic qualifications and your job experience.
- Proof of Qualification. Diplomas, Certificates, Mark-sheets etc., or anything similar that proves your qualifications.
- Personal covering letter explaining the exact purpose and duration of stay.
- Proof of a clean criminal record.
- Proof of paid visa fee.
- Declaration of Accuracy of Information.
Learn more about Curriculum Vitae and health insurance here:
💡 Important information
Please note that you should apply for a work visa with the German representative organization responsible for visa admission (e.g. German embassy, German consulate) in your country of residence. After completing the application process in your home country, you will receive a 90-day work visa. The process is not done here. Once when you arrive in Germany, you must also apply for a residence visa.
Please keep in mind that you cannot work in Germany while holding another form of Schengen visa, for example, a tourist visa. If you want to enter to Germany for employment, you cannot use tourism as a reason for doing so. You must initially apply for a work visa in your country of residence. When you are in Germany, you cannot convert your tourist visa to a work visa.
There are a few more things you should be aware of
- During the visa interview, the visa officer may request further documents
- Germany work visa is not automatically given – so you have to wait for up to 4 months to get a response from the Embassy or Consulate and there is no guarantee you will be granted a visa
- Keep in mind that a visa application that is incomplete may be denied.
- In case of visa rejection, the applicant gets informed about the main reason for a rejection
- Visa fee will not be reimbursed in case of visa refusal
- Upon arrival at the airport, original documentation may be required.
We understand that if you are not from one of the above-mentioned “favored nations”, the visa application processes appear to be complicated and difficult. To begin, you’ll need a work visa to enter Germany, and then you’ll need to apply for a work-related residence visa once you’ve arrived. After that, you’ll need to go to your local registration office and register your address. We’ve done our best to walk you through the process by describing it as clearly as possible. You may have noticed that our information is precise and simple to understand. This is because our AZAPA visa service staff has gathered these lessons from real-life situations. We are capable of providing competent assistance. You can contact us for a visa consultation to make all of the processes easier and to greatly improve your chances of acquiring a visa.
🏠 Work / Residence Permit
Do I need a work / resident permit to stay in Germany?
✔️ Citizens of EU/EEA, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland do not need to apply for a work / residence permit. You just have to register your residence once you arrive in Germany, using a passport or valid ID. You can get the Confirmation on Registration (Meldebestätigung) at the registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt), which is normally in the town hall (Rathaus) or a central building of the municipal administration. If you cannot find your local registration office, search for “Bürgerbüro” and type the name of the German city you reside in.
➡️ Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA who intend to stay in Germany for more than 90 days, are required to apply for a Work / Residence Permit at the Immigration Authority Office (Ausländerbehörde) upon your arrival in Germany. Citizens of other countries who have applied for a work visa must follow the same procedure. After that, you must also obtain a Confirmation on Registration “Meldebestätigung” at the registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt).
Germany’s work permit categories
Different types of German work permits are available depending on your qualifications and type of job:
- General Work Permit – If you have found a job in Germany that cannot be filled by an EU national, you can apply for this form of German work permit. You don’t need to have exceptional abilities if you are qualified for the position.
- Highly Skilled Worker Permit – If you are a highly skilled worker with a lot of experience and a lot of money, you can apply for this sort of work permit.
- The EU Blue Card for Germany – If your salary will be at least 56,800 € per year, or 44,304 € per year if you work in a shortage occupation, you can apply for an EU Blue Card.
💡 You do not need to apply for a German work permit and a residence permit separately; you get them both through a single application at the German Immigration Authority Office (Ausländerbehörde).
Temporary Residence Permit
The Temporary Residence Permit, also known as the Limited Residence Permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), is intended for shorter stays in Germany. This form of residence visa only allows you to stay in Germany for a year or up to two years. It does, however, have the option of being extended if your circumstances does not alter and you meet the standards.
Foreign nationals who have a specific cause for staying in Germany are awarded a Temporary Residence Permit. When you apply for this form of permit, you must explain why you wish to stay, and the card you receive will detail this. After that, you won’t be able to do anything that your residence permission forbids. If you apply for a temporary residency visa to work, it will indicate that you are only allowed to work and not study. The other way around applies as well.
Before you can work in Germany with a residence visa, you must first complete a number of requirements. Some of them require you and your company to demonstrate that the position could not be filled by other German citizens, EU citizens, or priority workers. Those who have lived in Germany for a longer period of time are considered priority workers. You must also obtain permission from the Federal Employment Agency, known as the Bundesagentur für Arbeit.
You can apply for a residence permit after receiving your approval and meeting the prerequisites. The length of time you are allowed to keep your permission is determined by your job contract. Your permission will be valid for two years if your contract is only for two years. You can, however, extend it as many times as you need as long as your work status remains unchanged.
After working for at least five years and paying all applicable taxes and contributions to the government, you can apply for a permanent residence permit
You can also apply for a permanent residence permit if you have graduated from one of Germany’s institutions, worked in an area linked to your studies for at least two years, and paid all applicable taxes and payments to the government.
Learn more about other types of residence permit, which requirements must be met and which documents you have to submit:
If you have an EU Blue Card, you can apply for a permanent residence permit after only 33 months. The time period can also be shortened if you have sufficient knowledge of German (B1 level). In this case it is sufficient if you have the EU Blue Card for 21 months.
💡 Do you know that our AZAPA visa service team can also assist you with the Work Permit and Residence Permit Application Processes?
Our government-licensed Schengen and National Visa Service consultants are experts in German visa requirements and are up to date on the most recent criteria. We will provide you with the greatest possible assistance, and if you desire it, we will manage the full visa application process for you. Do you want to schedule a consultation? Now is the time to schedule a visa consultation with us.