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Start In: Germany

Anne Voigt Kjaer
Anne Voigt Kjaer

When moving to another country for work, there is a lot of stuff to sort out. Every country has different rules that apply to foreigners. However, if you are an EU citizen moving to another EU country, this makes things a bit easier for you. In our new Knowledge Base series, we will go through what needs to be done when moving to work in another country. Our second focus country is the European country, Germany.

  • Since Germany is an EU country, there are certain benefits when you move from an EU country to Germany. The process is easier. The EU has rules that make the moving process smoother and a lot easier.

Reasons and criteria for immigrating to Germany

When people want to immigrate to Germany, they have to give their reason for immigration. These are the following reasons:

  • German immigration for employment.
  • German immigration for education.
  • German immigration for entrepreneurs.
  • German immigration for family reunions.
  • German immigration residence permit.

When you have found your reason for immigration, you need to check, if you fulfill the criteria to be eligible for immigration.

Financial stability

  • You must be able to prove that you can finance your living in Germany by yourself. Even when working in Germany you must be able to pay the initial funds to closer the expenses that occur before you receive your salary.

Health insurance

  • Health insurance is a must to be eligible for immigrating to Germany. It is important to point out that you can not be sure about whether the German authorities will accept foreign health insurance. Therefore, it would probably be a good idea to get yourself German health insurance. You can find information about different health insurances here:

The German language

  • It is quite important to have a knowledge of the German language. It is a criterion that you have either an A1 or B1 certificate to prove your German language skills. But if you want to become a permanent resident, then the C1 or C2 exam needs to be passed. It is important to remember that not everyone in Germany speaks English. Therefore, it is generally a good idea to learn the basics of the language.

Typically when you want to work in another country you would have to apply for a work visa. This also applies in Germany, here is a list of countries that need to apply for a visa. There are several types of visas. These are the following:

  • Business visa
  • Visas to study in Germany
  • Jobseeker visa
  • Working (employment) visa
  • Guest scientist visa
  • Training/Internship visa
  • Family reunion visa to join a relative or a partner

Since this article is about moving to Germany for work, the visa that is important now is the working (employment) visa.

More about the working visa

You can read more about the working visa here. But here are the basics of it:

  • When moving for work in Germany it is typically for a job offer or job searching.
  • This allows you to apply for a Long-stay visa.
  • It is important to check if the country you immigrate from is obligated to apply for visas. Otherwise, you could enter the country and then apply for a work residency.

Immigration for employment and a working visa

When immigrating to Germany for work, there are different steps that you need to take to make sure that you get the permit and visa.

Immigration for employment

The steps for immigration are the following:

  • Get a job in Germany as a foreigner.
  • Apply for German working (employment) visa (if you move from a country that is on the visa list).
  • Move and then get a residence working permit.

So when you have got a job the next step is to apply for a visa.

Apply for the German working (employment) visa

1st step: Get a job offer in Germany.
2nd step: Check if you have to get a visa to Germany for longer stays from your country.
3rd step: Do research about where you need to submit the visa application.
4th step: Collect all the required documents for the application.
5th step: Schedule an appointment for the visa interview.
6th step: Pay the German employment work visa fee (typically 75 euro).
7th step: Attend the visa interview.
8th step: Wait for response.
The processing time of visa applications can defer from 1 to 3 months. The reason for this is that the processing time varies according to the number of applications.

The required documents

You need to submit several documents, so you can prove that you fulfill the required conditions for an employment visa. These documents and the visa interview are a crucial part of the application. If it is not done right, then there is a big possibility that the applications will be denied. The required list of documents is the following:

  • 2 completed application forms. (Must be fully completed, printed, and signed at the end.
  • 2 passport photographs. Click here to see the full requirements (there are many)
  • Valid national passport.
  • Proof of residence. This could be your driver's license and/or utility bill to prove that you are a resident of the consulate where you can apply.
  • Health insurance. As mentioned earlier, it is demanded that you have health insurance to be eligible for immigration to Germany. These are the documents needed from the health insurance. Compulsory certificate from German employer, valid from date of employment. If not already included in the compulsory health insurance, separate travel insurance has to be presented for the time frame from arrival in Germany until the beginning of employment.
  • An employment contract or a binding job offer. With gross annual salary and employment description.
  • Approval by the Federal Employment Agency.
  • Curriculum Vitae. Your updated CV with academic qualifications and experience.
  • Proof of qualifications. Diplomas, certificates, etc.
  • Personal cover letter that explains the exact purpose and duration of stay.
  • Clean criminal record.
  • Proof of paid visa fee.
  • Declaration of Accuracy Information.

Places to apply for a German work visa

When you apply for a German you should go to the representative body of Germany in your country of residence who is responsible for the visa admission. Here are some of the following places you can apply:

  • The German embassy
  • A German consulate
  • A visa application center
  • If you do not have an embassy/a consulate located in your country of residence then you should go to the neighboring country.
  • A embassy or consulate of another country, where Germany has outsourced the visa admission.

When in Germany

Now that you have your German work visa, you can now freely travel to Germany. You need to complete the procedures to get a German residence permit. You would need to go to the Foreigner's office for an interview, where it is obligatory that you bring the following printed documents for a residence permit:

  • Your passport
  • Application form for a residence permit.
  • Two photos of yourself
  • Your clean criminal record.
  • Health Insurance proof.
  • Proof of employment or employment offer.
    You can learn more about a German Residence Permit here

You can reach our international team in Hamburg by phone at +49 40 53 799 1400 or by mail at

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