Work Visa Germany

Germany has the largest national economy in Europe and one of the largest in the world, so it keeps attracting workers from different parts of the world to work there. The wide range of opportunities, good working conditions and high salaries for professionals and workers from other countries have lured people into considering Germany as the best chance for their future.

For more information on employment visas to work in Germany, including eligibility, documents required, where to apply, how to apply, and the different types of employment visas in Germany, reach out to our team of immigration lawyers. Contact us on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or chat with us online for immediate help.

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    Employment Visa to Work in Germany Overview

    If you are considering moving to Germany and maybe have a job in sight already, you need to have a German work visa. A German work visa is a legal document provided by the German Immigration Authority Office that allows foreigners to work there. The length of period and type of work applicants will do in the country depends on the kind of work permit issued.

    Notably, the German work visa is officially called a residence permit for employment purposes, but the terms work visa, residence permit and work permit are used interchangeably.

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    Who Needs a Germany Work Visa?

    Non-German citizens who look forward to moving to Germany and work there need a German employment visa. However, nationals from some countries do not need to have a visa to work in Germany.

    These countries include:

    • Iceland
    • Liechtenstein
    • Norway
    • Switzerland

    Still, citizens of these countries will need to register at the local Civil Registry after arriving in Germany.

    Also, nationals of some of the European Economic Area member states, the European Union and the European Free Trade Association do not need to hold a German visa to work in Germany.

    Nationals of New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Canada, Australia, United States of America and South Korea can apply for an employment visa after arriving in Germany without initiating any prior procedures. Citizens of these countries only need a passport to enter Germany.

    Eligibility Criteria for Work Visa in Germany

    To be eligible for a Germany work visa, you meet all work visa requirements:

    • Received a job offer from a Germany-based employer. The conditions of the employment need to be better than or equivalent to those offered to local workers in similar positions. The German Federal Employment Agency will assess this after you apply for your visa.
    • Received an employment contract from your new employer.
    • Completed a university degree recognised in Germany or equivalent to a German degree. However, you can also be eligible if you do not have a university qualification, only if you have the relevant work experience.

    D-Visa: Residence Permits for Employment

    The D-Visa is a visa that allows you to remain in Germany for three months to twelve months. This visa has to specify if a holder can work in the respective country.

    Holders may be issued a German residence permit based on the D-Visa. Also, you can use the visa for short stays in other Schengen countries.

    To apply for the visa, visit the German embassy or consulate in your country of residence. This requires you to book an online appointment on the website of the embassy responsible.

    After applying, the embassy will forward your application to the responsible immigration office in Germany (the local immigration office in the city you desire to live in). The immigration office must also approve your application to receive your visa.

    To obtain the visa application form, visit the German embassy or consulate responsible and get it from there directly. You can also download the form at and print it twice. Depending on the country you are applying to, you may need to translate the form to the accepted language used in the embassy.

    You will need the following documents for your D-Visa application:

    • Two filled-out and signed visa application forms
    • A valid passport
    • Current biometric passport photos
    • Proof of financing or a declaration of commitment (shows commitment to bear all subsidence costs)
    • Other documents, depending on the specific type of visa

    The waiting time for processing applications is three months. However, some visas for Germany may take longer to process. This can result from various factors, like if the Federal Employment Agency also has to approve your visa application.

    EU Blue Card

    The EU Blue Card is a special residence permit for highly skilled foreign workers seeking qualified employment in Germany. This permit is issued for the length of the employee’s work contract and an additional three months but is limited to four years.

    Some of the most common groups of people that apply for the EU Blue Card are:

    • Highly skilled or qualified workers
    • Researchers
    • Students
    • Vocational trainees
    • Seasonal workers
    • Intra-corporate transfers
    • Self-employed people and entrepreneurs

    To be eligible for the EU Blue Card, you need to have:

    • A German degree, a recognised foreign higher education degree or a foreign higher education degree that is equivalent to a German higher education degree
    • A concrete job offer from a Germany-based company
    • A gross annual salary of at least 56,400 euros and 43,993 in shortage occupations. Some shortage occupations include engineers, designers, mathematicians, architects, urban and traffic planners, scientists, physicians except dentists and any professional with academic qualifications in information and communications technology.

    After 33 months, holders of the EU Blue Card can apply for a settlement permit. In some cases, EU Blue Card holders may receive a settlement permit if they demonstrate sufficient German language skills.

    Need help applying for a German employment visa? Reach out to us today. Contact Us

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      Seconded Staff Including Intra-Corporate Transfer (ICT)

      The Intra-Corporate Transfer Card (ICT card) comes from European law and is regulated by its implementation in the German Residence Act.

      This card allows third-country nationals, trainees, managers and specialists to work internally in a European branch for a while. These nationals are generally sent by a company whose headquarters are outside the EU to a company division within the EU.

      The ICT card is issued in all EU member states apart from Denmark and Ireland. Employees cannot access these countries with an ICT card.

      You should apply for the card immediately when your company wishes to send you as a non-EU worker from a branch outside the EU to one in the EU. However, this should only happen if the posting lasts over 90 days.

      After applying for an ICT card, you will receive it in the EU member state where you will spend the longest time working for your company.

      This card is issued for the duration of the transfer but for a maximum of three years for managers and specialists. Trainees will receive a permit that is valid for up to one year. They will then have the option of working for their companies at locations in other EU member states for a limited period, depending on the ICT card.

      In short-term mobility, you will work for up to 90 days at another EU location of your company within a 180-day period without needing a new residence title.

      To be eligible for an ICT card:

      • Your host subsidiary in Germany should belong to the company you are employed
      • You should have been employed in the company for at least six months before the transfer
      • The transfer should last for more than 90 days
      • You should work in the host subsidiary in Germany as a manager, specialist or trainee
      • You should receive consent from the German Federal Employment Agency
      • You must provide proof of your professional qualifications, a valid employment contract and, if necessary, an assignment letter

      The required documents include:

      • A completed and signed application form
      • A national passport
      • Proof of continuous sufficient health insurance coverage
      • Rental agreement with details about the size and rental costs
      • Additional form B for the job description that the host establishment completes
      • Salary slips for the first 2 months and last 2 months
      • CV and proof of qualifications
      • Current biometric photograph

      You can get your photo captured at a booth site for six euros

      Self-employed Entrepreneurs/Starting a Business

      If you want to start a business in Germany, you need a visa or a residence permit for self-employment.

      To obtain a self-employed visa, you need to:

      • Prove an economic interest or local need for your business idea
      • Show how your business idea will positively impact the German economy
      • Secure financing for your business idea
      • Present adequate retirement savings if above 45 years

      If you want to become self-employed as a freelancer, you need to:

      • Secure financing for your business idea
      • Have a work permit for the job you want to pursue
      • Present adequate retirement savings if above 45 years

      To apply, visit your home country’s German embassy or consulate with the relevant documents. The application process can take some months to process.

      If you do not need a visa to enter Germany, apply at the immigration office at your new place of residence immediately after your arrival.

      A self-employment work visa is valid for up to three years. However, your visa may be extended if your business idea succeeds and gives you enough money to finance your living and family.

      The documents required during application are:

      • A completed application form
      • A valid passport
      • A business plan
      • Entrepreneurial experience
      • Proof of health insurance
      • A current employment contract for researchers and academics
      • A copy of your degree certificate if you graduated from a German university
      • Evidence of adequate pension division if above 45 years

      The documents you need to present will depend on your case. It is best for you to reach out to the Foreigner’s Authority or your mission abroad before applying to inquire more about the documents.

      Jobseeker's Visa

      A Job Seeker visa in Germany allows non-EU nationals to enter or stay in Germany in pursuit of employment opportunities for six months. During this period, you can attend job interviews, explore the job market and connect with potential employers. Before starting the application process, make sure you meet all the job seeker visa requirements.

      To be eligible for this visa, you should:

      • Have a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree from a German university, a recognised university in Germany or an equivalent vocational qualification
      • Have a minimum of 5 years experience in your field of interest or study if you did not graduate from a German university
      • Prove health insurance
      • Prove sufficient funds to afford your living expenses
      • Be proficient in either English or German

      The documents needed for the application are:

      • A duly completed application form
      • A valid passport
      • Biometric passport pictures
      • Proof of academic qualification
      • Proof of sufficient financial resources for the duration of your stay
      • Evidence of enough health insurance coverage
      • Professional CV
      • Motivation letter
      • Proof of accommodation in Germany
      German flag colours

      For the best employment visa that suits your scenario, speak with us today. Contact Us

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        Au Pair Visa

        An Au-Pair visa allows you to live in Germany exclusively as a nanny and housekeeper for one year. The eligible age of those willing to apply for this visa is 18-26 years.

        To apply for and receive the visa, there should be no kinship relations between the applicant and the family.

        The required documents for application are:

        • A statement with a pasted photo
        • Insurance for au pair
        • Agreement with the host family
        • Au pair questionnaire
        • Detailed certificate of registration of the host family at the place of residence
        • Confirmation of basic knowledge of German level A1
        • Biography
        • Motivation letter
        • Educational or professional qualifications
        • Civil passport with a copy of the page with personal data and copies of the pages with information entered
        • Foreign passport and a copy of the page with personal data and a copy of temporary residence permit

        To be eligible to become an au pair in Germany, you should:

        • Be 18-26 years old
        • Have German language proficiency A1
        • Have finished high school
        • Have enough money to afford your trip
        • Be willing to commit 12 months as an au pair
        • Obtain an au pair contract from the host family before applying
        • Intend to work for a host family that speaks German at home but is not necessarily a German citizen. However, one adult family member has to be a German citizen, EU/EEA member or a Switzerland national

        The contract from the host family should contain the following:

        • The exact description of the parties: the family and the au pair
        • The start date
        • The duration of the contract
        • General responsibilities of the au pair and the host parents
        • ‘Pocket money’ that will be paid to the au pair- at least 260 euros monthly
        • Agreement regarding working hours- a maximum of six hours daily and 30 weekly
        • Health insurance details (provided by the host family)
        • Holiday entitlement for the au pair
        • Number and age of children to be looked after

        Working Holiday Visa

        The Working Holiday visa programme is based on a bilateral agreement between Germany and Australia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Israel, the Republic of Korea, the SAR Hong Kong, Japan, Chile, New Zealand, Taiwan and Uruguay. This programme aims to enable young people to gain insights into the daily life and culture of the Federal Republic of Germany.

        With this visa, young people from these countries can travel to Germany and live there for up to 12 months. To help them with finances, they can take up jobs from different employers.

        All visa applications need to be lodged in person, and fingerprints are electronically scanned.

        To be eligible for the visa, you need to:

        • Be a citizen of one of the partner countries
        • Be between 18-30 years (or 18-35 for Canadian citizens)
        • Not be accompanied by dependent family members like children
        • Have a passport valid for more than three months
        • Have proof of health insurance valid in Germany with coverage of at least 30,000 euros
        • Show a recent bank statement with your name indicating evidence of sufficient funds- up to 4,700 euros for your stay

        The required documents are:

        • Fully completed application form
        • Recent passport photo
        • National passport that is valid for more than 6 months after you arrive in Germany
        • Evidence of travel or health insurance
        • Proof of sufficient funds, e.g. bank statements
        • Return tickets from Germany or proof of financial means to buy them.

        Volunteering/Charity Work

        Germany offers a Volunteer visa for foreigners who wish to work voluntarily in the country. The visa is valid for 12 months but can be extended under specific conditions.

        The required documents are:

        • Two printed completed visa application forms
        • Two applications for the issuance of a national visa filled out in German
        • Contact form of the consulate
        • Three updated biometric passport format photos taken no earlier than six months ago
        • Passport with two copies of the page with personal data and at least three free pages
        • Fully-fledged and signed agreement or contract on voluntary service in Germany
        • Biography in the form of a table without any gaps between timetables showing full address and contact information
        • Self-written and signed motivation letter
        • Confirmation of basic knowledge of the German language
        • Conformation of professional or educational qualifications
        • Medical insurance policy issued in the EU

        How to Apply for a Work Visa in Germany?

        You should book an online appointment directly with the relevant German department to apply for a German work visa. Ensure you apply early enough but not earlier than three months before your departure.

        When applying for a work visa in Germany, you may need to present any of the following:

        • A valid passport that has been issued within the past 10 years and has a minimum of 2 blank pages
        • Two completed German work visa application forms
        • Declaration of accuracy of information
        • Two passport colour photographs
        • Proof of residence in the country you are living, e.g. Green Card, Visa
        • Proof of address, e.g. utility bill, valid driver’s license
        • Copy of employment contract or letter of intent from your potential employer in Germany. The contract or letter should have details like working hours, salary and full address of the employer
        • Updated curriculum vitae
        • If you will be self-employed, present a copy with all information regarding the company and financing, e.g. business contacts in Germany, location offer, business plan, financial and credit information
        • Detailed job description from your future employer
        • Proof of university degree or qualification, original and copy. If applicable, also present an official translation into English or German
        • Proof of housing in Germany, including your full address, e.g. hotel reservation, rental agreement or invitation letter with full address and passport copy of inviting person if you will be living in a private accommodation
        • Proof of travel health insurance for the first 90 days of your stay with a minimum coverage of 30,000 euros

        You will also need to pay between 75 to 100 euros as visa fees in cash, demand craft or credit card, depending on the country you are applying from. These funds are not refundable even if your application will be rejected.

        After registering your application, the time it takes to issue your German work visa is between one to three months. You should also account for the delay in receiving an appointment to hand in your documents and application.

        To ensure your application has been filled in properly, along with the submission of necessary documents, speak with our immigration lawyers today. Contact Us

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          Extending Your Work Visa (Renew)

          Your German work visa will be issued for your employment contract. If you have a permanent employment contract, your German work visa will be issued for 3-4 years. After its expiry, you can apply to renew your German work visa.

          If you decide to work for another company while holding a valid work permit, you should apply for a residence permit for employment or an amendment to your work visa.

          To renew or change your work visa:

          • Fill out the Erklärung zum Beschäftigungsverhältnis (declaration of employment relationship). You will find the form on the website of the German Federal Agency for Work, and it needs to be completed by your employer
          • Include a copy of the employment contract
          • Present a passport
          • Show proof of the main residence

          If you are amending the visa, you will not pay any fee. However, if you are extending the visa, you will have to pay 96 euros.

          To apply for a work visa in Germany, visit the representative body of Germany responsible for visa admission in your country of residence.

          This could be:

          • A German consulate
          • A visa application centre
          • The German embassy

          If your country of residence does not have a German representative body, you can look for a German embassy or consulate in one of your neighbouring countries.

          Recognition in Germany of Foreign Professional Qualifications

          Germany has a Recognition Act which allows foreign skilled professionals to utilise their vocational qualifications if they are equivalent to those of corresponding German professionals.

          The recognition of a professional qualification means that vocational education diplomas and university degrees considered equivalent to corresponding professional credentials in Germany are recognised.

          It is a compulsory requirement that qualifications are recognised if you want to work in a regulated occupation in Germany if you do not come from the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

          Some of the most common occupations that require recognition are:

          • Teachers
          • Engineers
          • Doctors and any professional in the healthcare sector
          • Lawyers and other professionals in the legal sector

          To confirm if a university qualification is equivalent to a German degree, use the Anabin database of the Central Office for Foreign Education.

          Some of the documents you need to present include:

          • A degree certificate or documentary evidence of work experience
          • Documentation about course content depending on the desired occupation and the German state, e.g. internships and subjects taught

          Non-regulated occupations, around 330 in the dual education system, do not require recognition. However, the process can help in proving transparency. Also, mentioning non-regulated occupations can support the assessment procedure of a person’s professional capabilities, which can help evaluate their needs for additional training or retraining.

          How Can Total Law Help?

          A German employment visa can open so many doors for your career. Whether you are a skilled professional looking for a new job in Germany or a recent graduate testing the waters in the job market, you need an employment visa to work in Germany.

          Working with an experienced immigration visa attorney can be an invaluable tool in helping you actualise your dreams. The attorneys at Total Law are well-versed in the complexities of German employment visas and can guide you through which visa you should apply for and how to apply.

          We will assess your needs, gather enough evidence, prepare and submit application forms, schedule and attend interviews, respond to requests for additional information and keep you updated on the changing immigration law to ensure you get your employment visa with no delays.

          Let the team at Total Law help you. Reach out to us on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or chat with us online, and let us be your compass by guiding you through the intricacies of German employment visas with expertise and precision.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    No, you need a binding job offer to get a work visa or residence permit in Germany. However, you can enter Germany through the Job Seeker visa, sign up for a study program or apply for family reunification if you have a family in the country.

                    Germany does not have a formal ‘work permit’. If you are a non-EU citizen, you can get a work visa and residence permit that will allow you to work in the country, depending on your specific needs.