Germany, which boasts the largest economy in the European Union, is a home to booming sectors such as tech, banking, and healthcare. As the world’s fourth largest economy, Germany is a hub for some of the world’s top talent, with multinational firms, tech companies, and startups setting their sights on building local HQs in Berlin, Frankfurt, and other cities.
Obtaining a work visa and the related permit in Germany is a relatively simple process compared to other countries in the EU. Still, you will also need to apply for a residence permit in order to be able to begin working in Germany.
Foreigners need to understand all of the visa requirements before they can begin the immigration process in Germany.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about the visa and permit process before moving to Germany, as well as give employers a general overview of the work visa requirements.
A German work visa allows you to work in the country as a foreign national. To qualify, your educational background, including all relevant certificates and degrees, must be on par with programs offered by German universities. Even after you receive a job offer, you will still need to prove that your recognized qualifications or degrees enable you to perform said job. You will need to go over all of your professional qualifications before you begin the German work visa process.
Applicants working in regulated professions such as healthcare must also apply for a professional practice permit.
Work visas (also known as residence permits) are issued for a maximum of 4 years. If the employment lasts for a shorter period of time, then a residence permit is issued instead.
Once a residence permit is held for four years, you may be entitled to obtain a settlement permit or permanent resident visa. A settlement permit enables you and your family to permanently live in Germany.
Finally, the German Federal Employment Agency (BA) must approve your request for employment. The Federal Employment Agency will assess whether your employment contract (including salary and working hours) is the same as those of domestic employees in the country.
You can also consider applying for an EU blue card, which makes the process of obtaining a work visa/work permit easier.
An EU Blue Card is issued for those who have a recognized university degree and a gross salary of at least 53,600 EUR. Keep in mind that you will need to be a resident of one of the other EU countries to qualify for this visa.
Have a German degree, recognized higher education degree, or have a foreign higher education degree that is comparable to what is offered in Germany
Have a solid job offer in Germany
Must be an appropriate job offer for someone with your same qualifications
The position in Germany must have a gross annual income of at least 56,440 (EUR)
Applying for an EU Blue Card must go through and be approved by the German Federal Employment Agency.
An EU Blue Card is only good for the duration of the specified contract, plus an additional 3 months for travel and moving. The Blue Card is limited to 4 years but can be extended if approved by the German Federal Employment Agency. Within the first two years of the Blue Card issue, any job change must be approved at the German embassy
A German work permit is only issued after the work visa is approved. The work permit’s approval is dependent upon the employer submitting the necessary qualifications and job offer prior to your move to Germany
If you’re a foreign worker planning to relocate to Germany, you must first ensure that you meet the necessary qualifications for a job offer, usually by having a relevant degree that is recognized by German universities.
The specifics of what you need to provide for your work visa application depends on your country of origin and your qualifying experience to work in Germany. National citizens of the EU and the EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) are entitled to freedom of movement. Having freedom of movement gives you unrestricted access to the German labor market.
For citizens whose home country is Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the UK, Northern Ireland, and the United states, you can enter the country without a visa right away to find employment. However, you are required to apply for a residence permit prior to obtaining employment. If employment is supposed to start upon arrival, a work visa with a work permit is necessary.
Work visas are good for up to 4 years. After 4 years, you can apply for a settlement visa.
Germany requires a large number of qualifying documents and forms to complete your work visa and permit application.
Declaration of accuracy information
Passport sized photos
Copies of passport data page
Residence permit (passport, green card)
Proof of address
Copy of employment contract/letter of intent from employer that includes salary, working hours, and the employers full address
Detailed job description from future employer
Proof of qualification or university degree (must be a degree recognized in Germany)
Proof of housing in Germany
Health insurance that covers international travel
To find a job in Germany as a foreigner, you need to understand what qualifications will help you stand out as a candidate. Check Make it in Germany to see if your degree qualifications are relevant for approval and meet all the work visa requirements
All foreign employees, including contractors, need a permit in order to begin working and living in Germany. As an employer, be sure to submit the employment contract and detailed job description to your employee before they arrive in Germany, so that they can successfully submit their visa application.
Companies of all sizes want to hire employees in Germany, but don’t know how to navigate the visa process. Via makes hiring German talent and building your global team seamless. With our easy-to-use platform, Via helps you manage local HR processes for direct employment such as work visas & permits, benefits, payroll, background checks, and more. Our team of local labor lawyers and on-the-ground experts ensure that your company remains compliant while expanding abroad. As your employer-of-record/entity abroad, Via assumes responsibility for employment liability, so that you can focus on what matters: recruiting and managing your team.
With Via’s transparent pricing, you can pay full-time employees or contractors across borders with no hidden set-up fees, no foreign exchange or transaction fees, and no minimums–start with 1 employee and scale up at your own pace.