Working Holiday Visa Germany

Thousands of travellers from around the world visit Germany during the gap year before or after going to university. Getting a Working Holiday visa means that you can integrate formal employment into your travels.

Many applicants choose to get help from an immigration specialist. If you want help, please contact Total Law at (+44)333 305 9375 or visit us online.

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    What is a Working Holiday Visa?

    Traditionally, young people would work for multiple months in their home country before travelling abroad for the remainder of their gap year. However, the German Working Holiday visa allows you to integrate work into the travel itself so that you can make the most of the time that you have available.

    This visa is part of a bilateral agreement with multiple countries that allows for such travel and work. People with the following nationalities can get involved:

    • Argentina.
    • Australia.
    • Chile.
    • Hong Kong.
    • Israel.
    • Japan.
    • South Korea.
    • New Zealand.
    • Taiwan.
    • Uruguay.

    Brazil is soon to be added, but at the time of writing in November 2023, it was still yet to be included. Furthermore, Canadians were able to access the similar but different Youth Mobility Programme for similar purposes.

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    Restrictions to Your Working Holiday Visa

    The Working Holiday visa is subject to a number of restrictions, making it far more limited than any other type of work visa in Germany.

    You will not be able to start a permanent job in the country. You will need to get a position advertised as temporary or a holiday job. Common areas for holders of a Working Holiday visa to hold include tourism, call centres, and agriculture. All cities in Germany have an employment agency that will help you to find an appropriate position. The position you get can either be a full-time job for up to 50 days in the year, or if you are working all year, you can earn a maximum of 450 euros a month.

    You also must be formally employed if you are a citizen of Argentina, Australia, Japan, or New Zealand. Citizens of other eligible nationalities will be permitted to conduct freelance or self-employed work.

    There is also an age restriction on the Working Holiday visa because it is intended to help with the cultural enrichment of young people. To get the visa, you must be no younger than 18 years old and no older than 31 (35 if you’re Canadian). You are also only eligible to use this visa once, regardless of your age.

    Finally, the maximum eligibility period for the German Working Holiday visa is 12 months. It cannot be extended. If you want to remain in Germany for longer, you will need to apply for a different visa.

    Eligibility Requirements

    Overview

    To participate in the working holiday visa scheme, you will have to fit a range of eligibility requirements. If you fail to meet the requirements listed below, you are unlikely to have a successful application:

    • You are a citizen of an eligible country.
    • You met the age requirements when completing the application.
    • You are not accompanied by dependent family members.
    • You have financial reserves to support yourself.
    • You have the means to return to your home country.

    If you make your application at an immigration office in Germany, you will require 2,000 euros so that you can support yourself. However, if you apply outside of the country, the specific financial requirement will vary depending on where you make your application, usually due to the agreement that Germany has with your home country. You can find the minimum finances required for each location in the list below:

    • Argentina: 1200 euros for the previous three months and additional money to cover three months’ accommodation in Germany.
    • Australia: 7,100 euros for the last three months.
    • Canada: 3,000 euros at the time of application.
    • Chile: 1,200 euros for the past three months.
    • Hong Kong: 2,000 euros for the past three months.
    • Israel: 1,200 euros for the past three months.
    • Japan: 2,000 euros for the past three months. This applies regardless of if you apply in Tokyo or Osaka.
    • New Zealand: 2,000 euros at the time of your application.
    • South Korea: 2,000 euros for the last three months.
    • Taiwan: 4,000 euros for the past three months.
    • Uruguay: 1,200 euros for the past three months and enough additional money to fund three months of accommodation in Germany.

    Please note that these figures are subject to change and at the discretion of the immigration authority that processes your application. However, they were accurate at the time of writing in November 2023.

    Document Requirements

    To prove you are eligible, you will need to submit a range of different pieces of documentation. The standard documents include the following:

    • Your passport. Make sure it has at least two free pages, is valid for three months longer than the visa duration, and has been issued in the last ten years.
    • A passport-style photo that meets German standards.
    • A reserve ticket or proof you have enough funds to buy one.
    • Proof of accident and health insurance coverage, valid for your whole trip with at least 30,000 euros coverage, and coverage for repatriation to your home country.
    • Proof of address in Germany and an Anmeldung certificate if you already live there.
    • A bank statement, no more than five days old that shows you have enough money to support yourself. A credit card statement will not be suitable.
    • A completed visa application form.
    • A curriculum vitae (CV) completed in German or English.
    • A personal motivation letter explaining the reasons why you want to take part in the Working Holiday visa programme. This can be in German or English.
    • A pre-paid and self-addressed envelope for the return of your documents. This must allow for at least 500 grams.

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      Application Process

      Overview

      Your application will usually have to be made at a German diplomatic mission in your country so that you can get the visa required to enter the country legally. This includes a German embassy, consulate, or visa application centre. However, citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, and New Zealand can apply for a German Working Holiday visa after entering the country. They must apply for the visa within 90 days of entry.

      The process of applying is different for each of these two options, which is broken down in the sections below:

      Making an Application from a German Embassy

      There is a specific application process that applies to those making their application from outside the country. You must follow the process described below:

      1. Print out and complete the application form. Make sure your print-out includes the barcode page (page 7) and you have signed on pages 5 and 6.
      2. Gather your supporting documents.
      3. Book an appointment at the embassy.
      4. Attend your appointment, supplying your documents, and answering any questions they have about your application.

      Applying from Within Germany

      Next, this article covers the process for citizens of nations who are eligible to apply for a visa within Germany. If this applies to your circumstances, please follow the process described below:

      1. Travel to Germany and move into an address. This will usually be rented.
      2. Register your address through the Anmeldung process. You will be issued with an Anmeldung certificate.
      3. Book an appointment with the local immigration office. There will be one in most cities.
      4. Attend your appointment, where you will hand in your documents, pay the application fee, and answer any of the immigration authorities’ questions about your application. Not all immigration authorities speak English, so bring a friend or an interpreter.

      Please note that the German Working Holiday visa is lesser-known, especially in smaller cities. You may need to explain the process for obtaining this visa to the immigration office representatives so they understand how to process your case.

      Furthermore, German immigration offices are often over-subscribed, and there is a risk that they will not have finished processing your case before your 90-day period ends. Make sure that you apply as soon as possible after you arrive to avoid this situation.

      Processing Time and Application Fees

      In general, you can expect to wait around six weeks to three months regardless of if you apply in or outside of Germany. However, there is a great degree of variation depending on how busy the embassy or immigration office is when you apply. Furthermore, any issues with your application will substantially delay it while the immigration authorities deal with any discrepancies. You can reduce your application time by making sure that your application is perfect.

      Meanwhile, the application fee for this Holiday visa is 75 euros. You will pay the fee in euros if you are applying inside of Germany. On the other hand, if you are applying from abroad, you will pay in your local currency.

      What are the Common Reasons for Refusal of a Working Holiday Visa?

      There are several reasons that your application may be rejected. This will be particularly problematic if you are already in Germany because you will have to either return home or find a different way that you can legally remain in the country. The list below details issues with your application that may result in it being rejected:

      • The application is incomplete and is missing documents.
      • You have provided false information. Such inconsistencies will be easily spotted by the immigration office or embassy.
      • Your passport or travel documents are invalid.

      These issues are less problematic. In most cases, you can overcome them by resubmitting an improved application that deals with the problems. However, there are also a range of problems with the applicant, which will make getting a German Working Holiday nearly impossible. This includes the following:

      • You haven’t got enough money to financially support yourself.
      • Immigration authorities are concerned you will breach the restrictions on the Working Holiday visa.
      • You have previous immigration violations or a criminal record in the EU, EEA, or Germany.
      • You don’t fit the eligibility criteria, such as if you are too old or too young.
      • You haven’t given enough time for processing, and the time for which you can remain in Germany will run out before you receive your visa.

      If any of these issues apply to your case, you should consider other visas that may allow you to travel to Germany or delay your travels until the problems have been rectified.

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        How Can Total Law Help?

        The process for applying for a Working Holiday visa is complex. However, it offers a great chance for you to take time out to experience life in Germany before or after university.

        You can increase your chances of success by getting help from an immigration lawyer or advisor. Total Law can give you invaluable help whether you are applying from inside or outside of Germany. We can help you to pull together your documents and prepare for your interview. We can then keep in touch with the German immigration authorities to keep you up to date on the progress of your application.

        If you decide you want help from Total Law, please call us at (+44)333 305 9375 or visit us online to find out more about our services.

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                  FAQs

                  There is currently no German language proficiency requirement for the Working Holiday visa. This is unusual as long-term visas normally require you to achieve at least A1 beginner level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

                  However, it is still highly recommended that you learn basic German before you travel to the country. Even if you will be living in one of Germany’s more cosmopolitan cities, like Berlin, you won’t be able to participate fully in German life without at least some German capabilities.

                  You cannot begin work as soon as you enter Germany, regardless of whether you are applying from inside or outside the country. Instead, you must wait until you have received a residence permit that explicitly states that you have the right to work in the country.

                  If you apply for a Working Holiday visa outside of Germany, it will only be valid for 90 days. You will need to apply for a residence permit to allow you to remain in Germany for the full 12 months.

                  To get the residence permit, you will need to follow the same process as someone applying from inside Germany. This includes registering your address within two weeks of entering the country and attending a meeting at your local immigration office.