3 kinds of German work visas and how to get them

For freelancers, expats with a job offer in hand, or newly arrived jobseekers, you’re going to need a German work visa. Don’t panic – assembling your visa application doesn’t have to be that difficult!

Visa for Germany

Reinventing your life in a foreign country isn’t easy and there’s a lot to keep track of: housing, cell phone, finding new friends, learning the layout of your new city. But perhaps the trickiest part is putting together your visa application to get your German work visa.

Germans are known for their love of paperwork. For all three of these situations, you’ll need to assemble a lot of different documents to prepare your visa application. There’s always a chance that the government worker handling your case might ask for your information; don’t be discouraged! Bring extra copies of everything and if you have a additional documents not listed below that might help, for example, a reference letter from a past employer or an extra copy of your resume, don’t hesitate to bring them along!

All visa applications require a processing fee. These vary based on the region, as well as which kind of visa you’ll need. Try to bring at least EUR 100 in cash, though many also accept credit and debit cards.

For all three of these circumstances, you’ll need to visit your local Ausländerbehörde or, immigration office. Before you proceed, check the website for the immigration office in your city for more valuable information, like opening times, necessary forms and more.

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Getting your German work visa if you already have a job offer

Congratulations, this is the simplest way! If you’ve already gone through the interview process, finalized your offer and received a signed working contract, you’re almost done. All that’s left to do is visit the Kreisverwaltungsreferat, the German regional administration office, and get your work visa accepted and approved.

For this process, you’ll need the following documents for your visa application:

Once you’ve assembled these documents, look online to make an appointment. These can fill up months in advance, so if you can’t find an appointment soon enough, you’ll have to go in person.

Getting your German work visa if you’re looking for jobs

Not everyone is fortunate enough to arrive in Germany with a job offer in hand. Luckily, the German government understands this, and offers a special German work visa for jobseekers. This visa is valid for up to six months, during which time you can check out the job market and apply. Be aware that once you find a job and receive an offer, you’ll need to apply for a work permit for that specific offer.

To qualify, you’ll need to meet these requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from a German university, or the equivalent for a foreign university
  • At least five years of work experience in your field
  • Financial means to cover your expenses while in Germany (i.e. bank statements)
  • Health insurance for your time in Germany
Worker Visa Germany

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If this matches your profile, you can put together the following documents for your visa application:

Prepare two copies of each document, and bring both sets with you to your appointment at the government office. For some professions, like nurses, medical doctors, pharmacists or teachers, more documents may be required.

With this visa, you can now begin your job search in Germany!


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Getting your German work visa if you’re a freelancer

Freelancer Visa Germany

If you’re a practicing freelancer and would like to continue your work, there’s also a German work visa for you. You’ll need to assemble the right paperwork to start putting together your visa application. It’s a long list, but each document is very important to ensure that your application is accepted. Here’s what you’ll need:

Best of luck getting your German work visa! If you have any questions, get in touch with your local immigration office – they’ll be able to help you with specific cases.

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Isabel Sigmund

As a senior sales agent and PKV expert, Isabel answers all questions about health insurance every day. She has lived abroad for 2 years as an expat herself and knows what she is talking about.

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