Germany Work Visa

Foreign nationals holding a job offer in Germany, or planning to work as self-employed individuals, will need a suitable visa/permit allowing them to live and work rightfully in the country.

For more information and/or legal advice regarding the various work visas or residence permits available in Germany, how you can apply from the UK, and what requirements you will have to meet, call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online, to speak with our expert immigration advisers.

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    Employment Visa to Work in Germany

    Being the fourth largest economy of the world and the largest in Europe, Germany attracts a significant number of overseas workers. Rising demand for qualified professionals in sectors like healthcare, engineering, IT etc. and a shortage of skilled labour in the domestic market have, among other reasons, led the German authorities to introduce the new Skilled Immigration Act, to further facilitate the immigration rules for migrant talent.

    Foreign-based companies also seek to transfer their qualified staff to their German branch or subsidiary, often with a goal to expand their business footprint in the country. Freelancers and self-employed individuals find Germany a lucrative work/business destination as well, given its strong economy and high-standard infrastructure.

    Germany also offers a job seeker visa to foreign nationals who wish to enter the country to search for suitable jobs. The country has Working Holiday Visa Programmes in place through bilateral agreements with certain other nations as well, to enable their young workers to come to Germany and take up short-term employment.

    Germany also offers a unique opportunity for young adults, who wish to learn more about German language and its cultural heritage while working as an au pair in a German family environment.

    So, there are plenty of immigration options if you are planning to move to Germany from the UK to take up gainful employment, either as a salaried worker or a self-employed person. However, please note that the German work visa/permit rules are quite complex in nature, with the requirements and application procedure varying widely depending on the work permit type as well as your circumstances.

    It is, therefore, advisable to consult an immigration lawyer if you are planning to move to Germany from the UK to take up a suitable job, or work as a self-employed individual. Dial +44 (0)333 305 9375 today to discuss your options with one of our legal team members.

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    Do I Need a Visa to Work in Germany from the UK?

    UK nationals do not require a visa to travel to Germany for work purposes. However, you will need to apply for a Germany residence permit for work within 90 days from your arrival in the country. You may also have to show certain documents to the German immigration officers at your port of entry.

    Moreover, please keep in mind that you will not be authorised to start working until you receive a residence permit that explicitly allows you to work in Germany. For this reason, you may choose to apply for a long stay work visa prior to travelling to Germany, which will allow you to work in the country from the first day of your visa validity.

    If you are residing currently in the UK but are a citizen of a visa-required country for Germany, e.g. India or China, you will have to apply for a long stay work visa to enter Germany. Upon your arrival, you will have to apply for a residence permit for work purposes within 90 days.

    Please note that in both the above scenarios, you will be required to register your German residential address with the relevant authorities within two weeks of your arrival, and before you can apply for your residence permit at your local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) in Germany.

    Transferring to a German Branch of a UK Company

    A UK-based company may need to transfer their managerial or specialist staff to their German branch or subsidiary company. The goal often is to expand its business activities in Germany, from setting up or running a new entity to training the local staff. It may also send its UK management trainees to Germany for gaining experience or acquiring a new business skill.

    An intra-corporate transfer (ICT) card is issued to foreign workers coming to Germany via this route, for a set amount of time. This card is typically issued for a maximum of three years. For corporate trainees, the card can be valid for up to a year.

    Work Visa for Qualified Professionals

    Foreign nationals with an academic degree or qualified vocational training recognised in Germany, can work in the country as skilled workers. The Skilled Immigration Act 2023 has facilitated the immigration of such qualified professionals to the country.

    They must have a valid employment contract from a German employer, meeting the minimum salary threshold and other social security conditions applicable. If such skilled workers are 45 or above, they must be earning a gross annual salary of at least €48,180 (as of 2023), or have adequate pension provision.

    A skilled worker residence permit is issued for a maximum of four years, and is renewable. After four years working in Germany as a skilled worker, you may be eligible for a settlement permit.

    Recognition in Germany of Foreign Professional Qualifications

    Qualified foreign nationals, who can potentially obtain skilled employment in Germany and who are looking for jobs or opportunities to get their foreign qualifications recognised in the country, can get a temporary resident permit even if they do not have a job offer.

    You may check out the online portal ‘Recognition in Germany’ to find out whether you can have your foreign academic degree/professional qualification recognised and certified in Germany, as well as where and how to do so.

    Work Visa for IT Specialists

    Foreign nationals can now work in Germany on a skilled worker permit in IT specialist roles with two years of experience in the relevant fields, even without a professional qualification or a university degree, or German language skills, as long as they meet certain prerequisites.

    If they have an academic degree in IT and a job offer in Germany meeting the required salary threshold, they may also be able to apply for an EU Blue Card.

    Work Visa for Researchers

    Foreign national researchers, holding at least a doctorate degree or an equivalent as well as a hosting agreement with, or a job offer from, a recognised research institution in Germany, can work as a researcher or take on a teaching position on a research visa.

    Alternatively, if you are a highly qualified professional in the fields of science or research but do not meet the requirements for a research visa in Germany, you may also apply for an EU Blue Card.

    For tailored assistance with obtaining a work visa for Germany, speak with our immigration lawyers today. Contact Us

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      EU Blue Card for Germany

      Foreign national academics and people with comparable qualifications may apply for an EU Blue Card to take up qualified employment in Germany, if their job offer matches with their qualification.

      They will also have to meet certain other requirements, the most important of which is the gross annual salary threshold (as specified every year) and the period of employment.

      IT specialists or managers without a formal qualification may be able to apply for an EU Blue Card in Germany, provided they have worked in IT for at least three of the past seven years, and their professional experience is at the university level.

      Self-Employed Work Visa

      Foreign entrepreneurs seeking to set up a new business in Germany can apply for a visa for self-employment. You may also work as a freelancer in Germany on this type of visa. If you want to work in Germany in one of the regulated professions (e.g. doctors), you will have to obtain a licence to practise.

      A self-employment visa or residence permit in Germany is usually issued for up to three years, renewable thereof if you can prove that your business/profession is successful, and you can cover the living expenses for yourself and your family members (if any).

      Jobseeker Visa Germany

      Foreign nationals, who have an academic degree or professional qualification recognised in Germany and wish to explore the German job market, can apply for a job seeker visa.

      They will have to show evidence that they have sufficient financial means to cover their expenses in Germany, and have German language skills at least at the CEFR Level B1.

      A job seeker visa or permit is valid for a maximum of six months, and cannot be renewed or extended.

      Working Holiday Visa

      UK nationals cannot avail the Working Holiday Visa Programme in Germany, which has been set up for young foreign nationals from certain countries with whom Germany has bilateral agreements to that effect, to come to the country to take up short-term employment.

      So, if you are a foreign national from any of those countries who is currently residing in the UK, you can apply for a Working Holiday visa in Germany, provided you meet the requirements.

      Holders of SAR Hong Kong and British National (Overseas) passports are also eligible to apply.

      Our specialist lawyers can streamline your visa application, making it as hassle-free a process as possible. Contact Us

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        Document Requirements for Germany Work Visa

        The supporting documents for a German work visa/permit include (but are not limited to):

        • Printout of the online application form, completed and signed
        • Two recent passport size photos
        • Passport issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least six months, with at least one blank double page spread
        • Copy of the passport biometrics page
        • UK residence permit /visa, if applicable
        • A declaration from your German employer, where applicable
        • Pre-approval confirmation of your job offer from the Federal Employment Agency, if applicable
        • If an academic degree is required, then:
          • Original degree certificate and photocopies
          • Proof that both the qualification as well as the academic institution are listed as comparable in Germany, or the ‘Statement of Comparability for Foreign Higher Education Qualifications’ issued by the Central Office for Foreign Education
        • If a vocational qualification is required, then:
          • Original qualification certificate and photocopies
          • Recognition notice regarding the qualification and photocopies
        • Health insurance
        • Proof of subsistence
        • Business plan and financing details for self-employed visa

        German immigration authorities may also ask you for additional supporting documents depending on your situation.

        How to Apply for a German Work Visa or Permit?

        German immigration authorities have commissioned the external consular service provider, TLScontact, to collect the signed application forms and supporting documents as well as the visa processing fees from the applicants.

        TLScontact has two visa application centres in London and Manchester, serving the German Embassy in London, and one centre in Edinburgh, serving the German Consulate General in Edinburgh. Depending on your residential location in the UK, you will have to book an appointment in one of these centres.

        Before your appointment, please fill in the online application form for your work visa, and take a printout of the same including page 7, i.e. the barcode page. You will have to sign on pages 5 and 6 of the printed copy of the form.

        On the day of your visa appointment, please submit your application form and accompanying documents at the TLScontact centre, and pay the applicable fees. You will need to submit your original passport as well, to get the visa sticker affixed if the German embassy/consulate approves your visa to Germany.

        Germany Work Visa Processing Time

        A German work visa may take up to two weeks for processing. However, it can go up to six months in case of a self-employment visa.

        To avoid any unnecessary delays in processing, please ensure to submit all required documents along with your application. If you need to submit further documents, the to and fro between you and TLScontact or the German embassy/consulate will eventually increase the processing time.

        Germany Work Visa Fees

        A German work visa will cost you €75. It is a non-refundable fee, meaning you will not get back your money even if your visa application gets rejected or you withdraw the same after submission.

        Please also be aware that TLScontact may charge you certain additional service fees. It is advisable to check their website to be prepared beforehand for paying extra charges, as and when applicable.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        The demand for migrant talent is increasing in Germany, and the new Skilled Immigration Act has been brought into force to facilitate the entry of foreign nationals to work in the country.

        However, Germany visa/permit rules are strict nonetheless, and work visas are subject to rigorous checks by your local German embassy or consulate to rule out any immigration abuse. If you have even been to Germany previously on a different type of visa or permit, your immigration history will also come under their lens.

        So, it is advisable to speak with a competent and knowledgeable immigration consultant to increase your chances of success in receiving a positive work visa/permit decision. At Total Law, our team of immigration advisers have the required expertise and empathy to understand your case and assist you, regardless of how complex your circumstances might be.

        Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online today, to know more about the bespoke immigration services we provide, and how we can help you with your German work visa application from the UK.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Here are some of the recommended websites for searching jobs in Germany: Arbeitsagentur, JobMESH, Stepstone, Indeed, Staufenbiel, Linkedin, Xing, Truffls, Arbeitnow, Zuhausejobs, Jobvector etc.

                  No, Germany does not have any short-term employment visa. You may apply for a Schengen visa for business purposes to cover certain economic activities in Germany, such as business meetings, negotiations, attending seminars, corporate training etc., for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.

                  If you are eligible for a Working Holiday visa, you will be able to take up short-term employment in Germany.