Citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland As citizens of the EU with the right to freedom of movement, you have unrestricted access to the German labour market. You do not need a visa or a residence permit either to enter or work in Germany. The same applies if you come from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. All you need to enter Germany is a valid passport or identity card. When you change your permanent address to one in Germany, you must register your new address in line with the legal requirements on registration that apply in the federal state where you are going to live.
Citizens of other states
You must apply for your visa in your home country before travelling to Germany. You submit your application to the German mission responsible for your place of residence – that is, to an embassy or consulate general. You should consult with the responsible German mission sufficiently ahead of time concerning the documentation required for your application. Please make sure to enter Germany with a visa that accurately represents the purpose of your stay. Only then is it possible for the foreign nationals’ registration authority responsible for your place of residence in Germany to smoothly process an extension or change of your visa. A visa that has been issued for a short-term stay in Germany cannot be changed later to a permanent residency visa. Nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand or the United States of America may enter Germany even without a visa and apply for a residence permit giving entitlement to work before taking up employment. Only nationals of these countries can apply to their local foreign nationals’ registration authority after having already entered Germany. According to the WHO a shortage of health professionals exists in 57 countries. Health professionals from these countries may take up employment in Germany, as long as they have found employment themselves. Recruitment and private placement service of health professionals from these countries are excluded.
All academics with a recognised university degree or one which is comparable with a German university degree are entitled to the “EU Blue Card” single residence and work permit. To obtain it, you need to prove that you have a job in Germany which corresponds to your qualification. The only condition is that you must earn an annual gross salary of at least 48,400 euros. Specialists in the fields of mathematics, IT, life sciences and engineering may be entitled to an “EU Blue Card” if they earn the same amount as comparable German workers, but no less than 37,752 euros. In this case, Federal Employment Agency must approve your being employed. This approval is not required if you earned your university degree in Germany. “EU Blue Card” holders are entitled to a permanent residence permit after 33 months. This is a residence permit with no time limit. If you can prove before this time that your required language skills comply with level B1 of the Common European Reference Framework for Languages (CEFR), you can obtain your permanent residence permit after just 21 months. If you have not yet found a job in Germany, you can come to Germany for up to six months to look for one; the necessary visa for this purpose is granted on the basis of your having completed a university degree. The important thing in this case is that you should have enough money to live on for the duration of your stay, since you are not allowed to be employed during this time. Once you have found a suitable job, you can immediately apply for the necessary “EU Blue Card” or a residence permit in Germany – without first having to depart the country – and can remain in Germany while your application is pending. Besides the “EU Blue Card”, special regulations apply to certain workers such as scientists, researchers, teachers or management executives. Graduates of German universities Did you successfully complete your studies at a German university? In that case, you are entitled to take up a job in Germany which is in line with your studies. You will receive the necessary residence permit from the foreign nationals‘ registration authority which is responsible for you. Following your studies, if you have not yet found a suitable job, the foreign nationals’ registration authority can issue you a residence permit for 18 months for the purpose of seeking employment corresponding to your degree. During this period, you can take any job as a means of supporting yourself.
Professionals with foreign vocational qualifications
Have you completed non-academic vocational training outside Germany? Then you will be able to take up employment on the basis of the qualifications you have obtained abroad, provided you meet the following criteria: There is a shortage of skilled workers in your profession. A list of such professions is available here: www.zav.de/positivliste. You have received a binding job offer. Your qualification has been recognised as being equivalent to a German qualification. You will have to apply to have your qualifications recognised while you’re still in your home country. If the assessment authority decides that you require practical experience in order to obtain full recognition (e.g. practical work as part of an adaptation period), you can apply for a limited residence permit for this purpose.
Vocational training in Germany
As a third-country national, you are entitled to a residence permit if you wish to undertake vocational training in Germany. This requires the approval of the BA (Federal Employment Agency). If you wish to learn a vocation at a vocational academy or similar institution, approval of the BA is not required. After completing your vocational training, you are permitted to remain in Germany for the period of one year in order to seek employment corresponding to your vocational training. You can apply for the necessary residence permit at the responsible foreign nationals’ registration authority. During this period you can take any job as a means of supporting yourself. Once you have found a job corresponding to your qualification, you can obtain the appropriate residence permit from the foreign nationals’ registration authority.
Foreign Affairs Department at Kreisververwaltungsreferat in Munich