Work visa Germany
How can I get a German work visa? – regulations and requirements
If you’re considering moving to Germany, and perhaps already have a job in sight, there are a few important questions that need to be answered first. Will I need a visa to be allowed into Germany? And what will I need to consider when it comes to work and residence permits, if I want to work in Germany?
General requirements for German work visas
The requirements depend on the country you come from and the qualifications you have already obtained.
As an EU citizen, do I need a work visa?
As a citizen of the European Union, you are legally entitled to the so-called freedom of movement within the EU and can enjoy free and unrestricted access to the German job market. This comes with the huge advantage of not needing to apply for a visa or residence permit, either for your entry into Germany or to start a job. These regulations also apply to citizens of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland.
Which regulations regarding work visas apply to non-EU citizens?
If you come to Germany from a country outside of the European Union, the question of whether you have permission to work in Germany essentially depends on two criteria: the first concerns the professional qualifications you have as an applicant, and the second is essentially related to the position being offered.
Access to the German job market as a non-EU citizen may be simplified if you fulfil certain conditions. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, this will mostly benefit academics and/or highly qualified professionals, who are particularly sought-after, such as engineers, natural scientists and (specialist) carers.
Visas for scientists and researchers in Germany
What do I need to consider for my visa as a PhD student?
Whether you need a visa for your PhD in Germany depends on the country you come from. EU citizens do not need a visa to move to Germany or to start their PhD study within the EU. If you come from a third country (outside of the EU), you should familiarise yourself with the relevant conditions for your home country as early as possible. As a rule, you initially apply for a temporary student visa, which can then be converted into a (temporary) residence permit once in Germany at a foreigners’ registration office (Ausländerbehörde).
Which visa will I need as a guest researcher in Germany?
If you would like to work in Germany as a guest researcher, you can apply for a so-called Schengen-Visa prior to your arrival, which is valid for a stay of up to three months. To stay for a longer period, a so-called “national visa” or “D visa” is required.
On the Foreign Office’s website, you can find information on visa requirements and fees for all countries.
What is a “Golden Visa”? Can I use this to work in Germany?
Through so-called “golden visa” programmes (also known as residence by investment schemes), some EU member states such as Cyprus and Malta have been selling residence permits and citizenships to wealthy investors via agencies, sometimes over the Internet, for sometime.
We cannot make a general statement as to whether such an opportunity to purchase a Schengen visa would make sense for you. However, as this business appears to be non-transparent in many respects, you should do some thorough research before making such an investment.
EU Blue Card – a chance for academics and specialists in Germany
Through the “EU Blue Card”, a residence and work permit especially for academics and the most highly qualified workers from outside of the EU, the EU is trying to counteract a shortage of skilled workers, which is also prevalent in Germany. Consequently, applying for this kind of residence permit provides an attractive opportunity for engineers and natural scientists (amongst others) to find a job in Germany.
Residence with an EU Blue Card is temporary, with the validity lasting between one and four years. The EU Blue Card is valid for the duration of the employment contract plus another three months, and also entitles the holder to move on to another EU member state following an 18-month residence in Germany. If you have a temporary employment contract, you can extend the validity of your EU Blue Card or subsequently apply for a permanent residence permit.
The requirements for an EU Blue Card include:
A German university degree, a recognised foreign equivalent or evidence of study comparable to university level in Germany
Employment that corresponds to the respective qualifications and a minimum gross annual salary of €50,800 for 2018 (€39,624 for certain sought-after specialists)
You must apply for an EU Blue Card at a German embassy or consulate in your home country before your arrival in Germany. The fees will not exceed €140 for the issuance of the Blue Card or €100 for an extension.
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Residence permit in Germany
In Germany, you can obtain different types of residence permits, sometimes known in German as “Aufenthaltstitel”, which regulate residence and permission to work in Germany. The type of permit you will be issued with depends primarily on the type and purpose of your stay. Some residence permits are temporary, whereas others are permanent.
Which conditions must I fulfil as an EU citizen to receive a residence permit?
In order to be able to move to Germany, live and work there, you do not need to apply for a visa or residence permit if you are an EU citizen. You only need a valid identification document from your home country (identity card and/or passport). Nevertheless, you are legally obliged to register your address within two weeks of your arrival in Germany at the registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt).
How can I obtain a German residence permit as a non-EU citizen?
If you come from a country outside of the European Union, you will generally require a visa for your arrival in Germany, which you can apply for at a German embassy or consulate in your home country and which is valid for up to three months. Once in Germany, a foreigners’ registration office (Ausländerbehörde) will provide you with an appropriate residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel), depending on the type and purpose of your stay.
Temporary residence permit in Germany
Temporary residence permits are linked to the duration and purpose of your (work-related) stay, and can also be given certain restrictions.
Permanent residence permit in Germany
As opposed to a residence permit, a “settlement permit” is not temporary and essentially entitles you to carry out a job in Germany without any restrictions, and also provides you with access to the German job market and social security. A settlement permit is issued under certain conditions (such as ownership of a residence for over five years and proof of knowledge of the German language). Special rules apply for highly qualified specialists, which facilitate the route to a permanent residence permit.
“Permanent EU residency” is another permanent residence permit, which can be obtained in an EU member state and which also allows you to move on to another EU country.
This visa regulation does not apply to USA, Canadian, Australian, Israeli, Japanese, New Zealand or South Korean (Republic of Korea) nationals: as a citizen of one of these countries, you can, in principle, also travel to Germany without a visa and apply for your residence permit directly at the relevant foreigners’ registration office.
academics - September 2018
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