Germany employment visa / working visa

Updated on
October 25, 2022

EU nationals are not required to have a visa or residence permit to work in Germany. However, citizens of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the Republic of Korea must apply for a work visa while in Germany. Citizens from other countries are required to apply for a visa at the German embassy or consulate.After your residence permit application has been approved by the foreign nationals’ registration office, the German Embassy in your country will issue you a residence permit in the form of a visa, which includes authorisation permitting you to work in Germany. Your visa applications must be approved by the foreigners’ authority in Germany where you intend take up residence.To acquire a work visa to work in Germany, simply visit your nearest German mission and provide the following documents:

  • Two fully completed application forms
  • Passport and several passport photographs
  • Employment contract or letter from your German employer
  • Relevant qualifications such as degrees and diplomas
  • Driver’s license and/or utility bill in your name as proof of residence.
  • Proof of health insurance

Two photocopies of the above mentioned document are required, and you will also have to provide and pay a fee of Euro 60. Please contact your local German Embassy to check for country specific requirements.There are several types of work permits for non-EU nationals for working in Germany, depending on the type of work:

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1. General Employment

If you intend working in Germany as a general worker you must apply for German residence permit. You will only be eligible for jobs not taken by Germans workers or workers from the EU/ EEA/Switzerland. You must have a firm job offer and a vocational qualification. You must have a valid employment contract and documentation of your qualification. Acceptance of foreign nationals in the general employment category is dependent on the economic needs of Germany.

2. Graduates and highly skilled workers

There is shortage of certain skills categories and professionals in Germany. If you fit this category you can apply for a residence permit. If you are university graduates with a recognisable degree and can support yourself, you can apply for residence permit known as a job seeker's visa, which is valid for six months and during which time you are entitled to seek work. However, you are not allowed to work while looking for employment in the intervening period. Once you have employment, you can apply for a work permitIf you have a degree from a German university, you can extend your residence permit by 18 months, and work unrestricted providing you can prove you have evidence of the relevant degree, have health insurance and are self supporting financially.You must furnish a contract of employment from your German employer and show that you can integrate into German society. You must earn a salary of not less than 86.400 Euros per year and have sufficient funds to maintain yourself.

3. Studying in Germany

Germany welcomes individuals who want to pursue vocational or professional training. With the approval of the Federal Employment Agency, you will be granted a residence permit to study at a Germany trade school, or college university. This permit entitles you to work in Germany for a period of two years or depending on your tuition, if it is less than two years. The residence permit can be extended for one year during which time you can still seek work.

4. Self-Employed

If you plan to be self-employed and want to set up a business, you can get a residence permit for self-employment purposes, which is valid for three years. You must prove you have the relevant experience and your business is securely funded. You also must show your business will have positive impact on the economy and satisfy local demand. Applicants over the age of 45 years must proof they have made provisions for old age. If your project is successful, your residence permit can be extended indefinitely.

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