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German Visa: Guide 2024

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A work visa is a government-issued legal document that permits an individual to work in a specific country. To work in Germany, individuals must acquire either a work/residence permit or a working visa. Although not all individuals need a visa, a residence/work permit is compulsory for all.

Below is a breakdown of countries and their respective visa requirements:

Upon arrival in Germany, individuals from EU countries, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Iceland only need to register their residence. However, those from Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, or the U.S. must apply for a residence permit upon entry into Germany, although they do not require a work visa or job offer prior to admission. Individuals from other countries must apply for both a work visa and a residence permit.

To access the German labor market, these individuals must obtain a permit from the Federal Employment Agency (BA), which is issued either by the German embassy/consulate in their home country or the German immigration office in Germany, depending on their situation.

In Germany, different types of work visas are available, which are issued depending on the type of work, duration, and purpose of entry. These types of German visas include temporary residence permits for employment purposes, EU Blue Cards, and unrestricted residence permits.

Temporary residence permit for employment

To take up a job in Germany, you need a residence permit for gainful employment. This document is issued to you when you have found a job. Without this permit, you are not allowed to work. To obtain the permit, you must obtain an employment permit from the Federal Employment Agency (BA). The duration of your residence permit depends on the period of your employment contract. For example, if your contract is valid for 2 years, your residence permit is also valid for 2 years. You can extend your permit as long as your employment situation does not change.

Foreign university graduates who live abroad and have a German university degree or a foreign university degree equivalent to a German university degree can enter Germany to look for a job here, even if they do not have an employment contract. However, in order to obtain a visa, which is valid for up to six months, they must prove that they can support themselves in Germany. You can find more information in the chapter Visa for Job Seekers.

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The EU Blue Card

The Blue Card is a special residence permit available only for highly qualified immigrants from non-EU countries. To be eligible for the EU Blue Card, you must have a university degree such as a bachelor's or master's degree, and earn a minimum annual gross salary of €58,400. If you work in a shortage occupation such as mathematics, science, computer science, engineering, or medicine, you must earn a minimum gross salary of €45,552. 

The card is valid for four years and after 33 months you can apply for a permanent residence permit if you keep your job. If you prove your German language skills, you can apply for your settlement permit after 21 months.


If you prove your German language skills, you can apply for your settlement permit after 21 months.

Unrestricted residence permit

The settlement permit, allows you to reside in Germany indefinitely. However, to obtain this permit, you must have worked for at least 5 years in a profession approved by the Federal Employment Agency (BA) and demonstrate advanced German language skills.

Work visa

In order to apply for a work visa for Germany, certain requirements must be met:

Required Documents for Short-term German Schengen Visa
  • Passport
  • Visa application form
  • Personal Declaration (issued by German authorities in country of residence)
  • Two biometric passport photos taken within the last 3 months
  • Flight ticket
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Proof of Civil Status (e.g., marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse)
  • Signed contract from prospective employer
  • Certificate of statutory health insurance from German employer, valid from date of hire

Another requirement is that the applicant has sufficient financial means to support himself/herself during his/her stay in Germany (at least 45€ per day for the duration of the stay). This can be proven by evidence of income or assets.

Duration and cost of a work visa

Applying for a work visa in Germany is a complex process that requires careful preparation and planning. It is therefore recommended that you obtain information about the necessary requirements and formalities at an early stage and, if necessary, seek professional assistance.

The duration of work visa processing varies depending on the workload of the responsible embassy or consulate at the time of application. However, it may take between one and three months. It is important to apply early as the processing time is unpredictable. Your future employer in Germany should be prepared for the fact that you will not be able to start work immediately after receiving a job offer.

The work visa is valid as long as the employment contract runs.

The fee for the work visa is €75 in total. However, there may be variations depending on your situation or country of origin, so it is advisable to check with the German embassy in your country before applying. Note that the fee is not refundable if your application is rejected

Also interesting: visa for job seekers

Whether or not you need a visa to seek work depends on your nationality. Individuals from EU countries, the European Economic Area and Switzerland can enter Germany without a visa to seek employment. Residents of Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Canada, and the United States are also exempt from visa requirements but must register for a residence permit upon arrival in Germany. 

Residents of all other countries require a work visa to travel to Germany and seek employment.

What are the admission criteria for a visa for German job seekers?

In order to obtain a work visa in Germany, applicants must fulfill the following conditions:

  • Be 18 years old or above
  • Possess a bachelor's or master's degree from a German university or an equivalent foreign qualification
  • Have a minimum of five years of work experience
  • Demonstrate that they have sufficient financial means to support themselves throughout their stay in Germany.

Looking for a job in Germany? Look no further than MoBerries! Our platform provides personalized job suggestions based on your skills and experience, making it easier and faster to find your next job. Try MoBerries today!

Register now

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