Germany: Jobseeker’s visa

Since 1 August 2012, foreign graduates with a German or other recognised university degree or a foreign degree comparable to a German degree will be eligible to enter Germany to seek employment. Holders of a jobseeker’s visa may stay in Germany for up to six months to seek employment whilst in the country. To obtain a jobseeker’s visa, applicants must simply furnish proof of their university degree and that they can support themselves for the duration of their planned stay.

While seeking employment, jobseekers are not permitted to work, whether on a self-employed basis or otherwise.

Application for a JOB-SEEKER Visa

Checklist for a job-seeker visa

Recognition Of Qualifications

It is unlikely that your professional qualification will be familiar to every German company. That means that the company will read the name of the qualification in your application and still not know whether you are sufficiently qualified for the job. So here’s our tip: have your qualification recognised.

Must I have my qualification recognised?

For many qualifications, it is helpful to have them recognised. For others, it is an actual requirement for being able to work in Germany. It really depends on your profession:

Who needs recognition? In Germany, certain professions are „regulated”. Germans and foreign nationals may only work in these professions if they have a very precise qualification. This applies to professions such as doctors and lawyers. It also applies to masters of manual trades if they work as independent contractors. If you want to work in one of these regulated professions, you need to have your professional qualification recognised in Germany.

For whom is recognition helpful? Most professions are not regulated. If you are going to work as a business manager, IT specialist or baker, for example, you will not need to have your qualifications recognised. However, it may still make sense to have your qualifications recognised – even in cases of partial equivalence. Recognition will help companies understand your skills and qualifications, so that you can leave a good impression as you apply for a job.

Please note: if you would like to relocate to Germany from a non-EU country, and if your qualification is non-academic, you will have to have it recognised before taking up employment in Germany. However, recognition of your vocational credentials alone is not sufficient if you would like to work in Germany. In order to obtain a residence permit with permission to work you will need to meet a number of additional criteria. Please refer to the Quick Check on to assess your options of living and working in Germany.

Fees for having your qualifications recognised: Experience has shown that fees range from 200 to 600 euros. Additional charges usually arise in the course of the approval process, for example for documents, translations, notarizations, travel expenses or language courses. The exact costs depend on the individual case.

How do I apply for recognition of my vocational qualification?

Step 1: Find out who provides recognition. Start by finding out which authority or professional association you have to apply to. That depends first and foremost on the profession and where you work. For example, for certain professions, the chambers of trade and industry (Industrie- und Handelskammern, IHK) or trade corporations (Handwerkskammern, HWK) are responsible. The quickest way to find out who you should contact is to use the “Recognition Finder” at (in German and English)

Step 2: Advice. Talk with your local contact centre before applying. It will give you the necessary forms to fill in and help you to define which German reference profession applies to you. It will also tell you which documents you need for your application. Are you uncertain about which contact centre is responsible for you? Do you want to find out more about the application process? You will find full information about procedures for getting professional qualifications recognised as well as advice on further topics at You can also obtain an initial consultation by phone from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. The hotline is available Mondays RECOGNITION OF VOCATIONAL CREDENTIALS It is unlikely that your professional qualification will be familiar to every German company. That means that the company will read the name of the qualification in your application and still not know whether you are sufficiently qualified for the job. So here’s our tip: have your qualification recognised. 11 through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the following number: 0049 (0) 49 30-1815-1111. The consultation will provide you with initial information – in German or English – concerning the recognition of foreign vocational qualifications in Germany.

Step 3: Prepare your application documents. Ask your local contact centre which documents you need to have translated. Fill in the application forms and send everything to your local contact centre. Your local contact centre will compare your foreign professional qualification with a German reference profession. At the same time, it will check whether there are any major differences between your professional qualification and the German one. Professional experience you have acquired can also be taken into account.

Step 4: Receive notification. Once your application has been processed, you will receive a notification from your local contact centre. This written notification will tell you whether your foreign professional qualification is equivalent or similar to the German qualification. If the authority has not found any equivalence, and if the application concerns a regulated profession, then you will be informed of concrete measures you can take to compensate for the differences. In the case of professions that are not regulated, the notification will state the qualifications that do exist, as well as the differences between your professional qualification and the German reference qualification; this will help you and potential employers to properly gauge your qualification.

The Recognition in Germany Portal

“Recognition in Germany” is a government portal which provides comprehensive information on having foreign qualifications recognized in Germany. It is designed for professionals with foreign qualifications who would like to find out whether they require formal recognition of their qualifications in order to practice their profession in Germany. Professionals wishing to have their qualifications recognised can refer to the portal for comprehensive, relevant information on the recognition process, required documents, the legal framework as well as guidance and advice. The portal is currently available in German, English, Italian, Romanian and Spanish; Polish and Turkish are set to follow soon.

The website offers a very useful tool, the “recognition finder”. With just a few clicks, individuals with foreign qualifications can use the recognition finder to identify the right assessment authority for their profession. For this purpose, users need to enter their profession and then use the professional profile to find the German reference profession which best fits the qualification obtained abroad. In order to identify the competent assessment authority, the system will ask the user to enter their (desired) place of residence or work in Germany. Just a few clicks later, the system will provide the contact details of the competent assessment authority, so that the user can apply to have the equivalence of their qualification assessed. In addition, the system will provide information on applying for recognition, indicating, for example, which documents the applicant needs to submit. To access the Recognition in Germany portal, please visit

Source:  Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy,

WORK CONTRACT: What you should know

You have applied for a job in Germany and been accepted. Congratulations! Nothing now stands between you and a career in Germany. All that is left to do now is to sign the job contract. Before you do, here are a few things you should look out for.

Read the contract thoroughly

It is most unusual for a work contract to be delivered orally in Germany. This is why serious employers will always send you a written contract. Read the contract thoroughly from start to finish before signing it. If you do not understand something, this is not a problem: ask the company‘s personnel department or the personnel officer about it.

What you should find in a work contract

Every work contract should contain the following information:

  • Name and address: yours and that of the company
  • Date on which the contract starts: the date on which you officially become an employee of the company (that means: starting from which date is the contract valid?)
  • Term of contract: is your contract only valid for a certain period of time? When does it end? The term of the contract must be agreed in writing, otherwise it is considered to be valid for an undetermined period of time.
  • Trial period: How long does the trial period last? This is the period during which you or the company can terminate the contract relatively quickly.
  • Place of work: where will you be working? If you are to work in different places, this should be stated in the contract. Job description: what tasks will you be expected to do in the company?
  • Remuneration: how much will you be paid for your work? Will the company pay you supplements or bonuses, for example at Christmas or for working weekends, on top of your normal pay? When does the company pay you – for example, at the end or beginning of the month? Note: the work contract usually states the gross remuneration. From this, certain amounts will be deducted for tax and social contributions, such as health insurance, long-term care insurance, a pension scheme and unemployment insurance.
  • Working hours: how many hours a week will you be expected to work?
  • Holiday: how many days‘ leave are you entitled to per year? Notice period: how long in advance must you notify the company, or the company notify you, that the work contract is going to be cancelled?
  • Collective agreements and works agreements: often, in addition to the work contract, special regulations also apply. For example, in many branches of industry, employer associations and trades unions have reached collective agreements.These agreements may regulate questions of remuneration, bonuses or holidays.Companies can also sign special agreements with their Employee Councils, which represent the interests of the employees. These are called works agreements.You can ask your employer if these agreements also apply to you.This may also be stated in your work contract.

Source:  Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy,

Germany Visa

Do I need a visa to work in Germany? And what conditions apply to me? This is the first question many people ask themselves. In a nutshell, the rules depend on which country you come from and what qualifications you have. Here, we explain the main aspects

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:

As a citizen of countries outside the EU you usually need a visa which entitles you to enter Germany. Depending on the purpose of your stay the visa will be changed into the appropriate residence permit locally. An exception applies to nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand or the USA who 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 directly apply after the arrival to their local foreign nationals’ registration authority for a residence permit. In your residence permit is noted, whether and in what form an employment is permitted. Since 2016 citizens of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have facilitated access to the German labor market.

Information in the national language can be found here:

www. 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.

Source:  Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy,


Searching Job in Germany

Searching Job in Germany

Are you already in Germany? In that case, you have other ways of looking for a job besides over the Internet:

  • Newspapers: Look through the pages of German newspapers. Many of them publish job vacancies in their weekend issues. Maybe there’s something there for you.
  • Local employment agencies: It can also be worth visiting your local employment agency. There are branches of the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA) in nearly all towns and cities in Germany. Their mission is to help people in their search for a job and the service is free.
  • Advertise yourself: Don‘t wait to find the perfect job offer. As well as searching for vacancies, you can take positive action yourself by publishing your own job ad on the Internet or in newspapers. Alternatively, you can post your profile including your qualifications and professional experience on the Federal Employment Agency’s job portal and on business networks on the Internet for free. That way, companies which are interested in your profile have a means of contacting you. In Germany, that is a normal thing to do. In your job ad, supply the most important information in brief: the kind of post you are looking for, your activities, qualifications and career milestones, and the place where you would like to work. Interested companies or personnel recruitment businesses will then respond to your advertisement. However, experience has shown that advertising for a job yourself is less effective than applying for actual job vacancies advertised by companies.
  • Job fairs: You can make direct contact with companies at trade shows, job fairs and congresses. The advantage here is that you can make a positive first impression on them by talking with them in person. The best thing to do is to find out in advance which companies are taking part in an event. That way, you can address companies that are relevant to your profession. Before events, prepare some application folders that you could then leave with the companies. It is also important to ask for the business card of the person you have spoken with, or at least for his or her name, after talks at the event. This will enable you to mention your conversation with that person at a later stage in your application.
  • EURES job fairs: European Job Days, held in all the countries which are a part of the EURES network, take place every spring and autumn. The International Placement Service (ZAV) routinely takes part in these job fairs with current job offers on the German labour market. Often, German employers accompany the ZAV to be able to make direct contact with potential employees like you.
  • Personnel recruitment agencies: Another alternative is to use the services of private recruitment agencies. These look for suitable jobs on your behalf. However, they can ask job-seekers for fees of up to €2,000.
  • Acquaintances: Friends and family often give us a helping hand in life – and sometimes they can help you in your search for a job too. Talk to your friends about the fact that you‘d like to work in Germany. Perhaps one of them has heard of a vacancy and can give you the names of contacts in Germany.

Source:  Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy,