Visa for Skilled Workers
Can I obtain a work visa?
Germany needs skilled workers. If you wish to come to Germany to work, you will need to obtain a corresponding residence permit, i.e., a "residence permit for qualified employment", regulated in §18a and §18b, paragraph 1 of the Residence Act. However, for most non-EU citizens, the first step is to apply for a corresponding visa to be able to enter Germany and work. Here you can learn which requirements you have to meet for a visa or residence permit as a skilled worker.
What do I need to know?
You can apply for a visa/residence permit for Germany if you want to work in Germany as a skilled worker and a company offers you a qualified job. The term "Skilled Worker" refers to professionals with qualified training or a university degree recognised in Germany. A qualified job is a job that requires specific training or a university degree.
If you are required an entry visa to come to Germany, you must first apply for it at the German embassy/consulate in your home country or a neighbouring country and present the required documents.
Please note that your visa application can take several months to process.
If you do not need a visa to enter Germany, report to the Immigration Office at your new place of residence after your entry and present the required documents.
Whether you need a visa depends on your country of origin. On auswaertiges-amt.de, you will find a list of countries whose citizens need an entry visa to come to Germany.
In our chapter "National Visa", you will find a list of documents that all third-country nationals need for a national visa.
To obtain a visa as a skilled worker, you also need the following documents:
- Proof that you have completed a vocational training programme recognised in Germany or hold a university degree recognised in Germany.
- An employment contract or an offer for a qualified job from a company or organisation in Germany.
- If you are over 45 years of age, you must also have adequate retirement provision or prove that you will earn at least 46,860 € gross per year (as of 2021).
In principle, the Federal Employment Agency also has to give its approval. The embassy will communicate directly to the Federal Employment Agency, i.e., you do not have to contact them personally.
After entering the country, you must report to the Immigration Office at your new place of residence within three months and apply for a residence permit. To do so, you must (again) submit the documents mentioned above as well as, in principle, a police registration certificate and a rental agreement. The authorities will check your papers and then decide whether you can obtain a residence permit.
A residence permit for skilled workers is usually issued for four years. If your employment contract is for a shorter duration, your residence permit will be adjusted accordingly.
If you lose your job, your residence permit will usually also expire. In this case, you must immediately find a new job and apply for a new residence permit.
You can learn more about working in Germany in our chapters "Employment Contract" and "Labour Rights".