What type of visa do I need?
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals do not need a visa to work in Germany. For everyone else, there are essentially three main types:
- Transit visa: for stopovers at German airports
- Schengen visa: for short stays of up to 90 days in a 180-day period
- National visa: for stays of 3-12 months
If you are moving to Germany to work or study and have not yet applied for a residence permit, you will need a national visa. If you are unsure what you need, the German government has created a handy online tool to help.
What documentation will I need for my visa application?
If you have an existing job offer – congratulations! You will need to submit your employment contract, your visa application signed by your employer, and proof of medical insurance coverage for the duration of your work visa. If your salary exceeds €64,350 (2021), you can opt for public or private health insurance.
Anyone moving to Germany looking for a job must hold a bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent, demonstrate 5 years’ work experience in their field, and prove their financial independence – including possession of health insurance for Germany.
Freelancers have to submit a business plan and proof of financial independence including – you guessed it – valid public or private health insurance for Germany.
Expats should at least consider private health insurance. Private policies often cost much less than in other countries and offer wide-ranging benefits, especially if you do not plan to stay in Germany permanently.
- Some form of health insurance is mandatory for anyone working or studying in Germany.
- Choose the reason you give for requesting a visa carefully. Visas can only be converted into residence permits for the same purpose. Your local German mission can advise on this.
- Visa application requirements are extensive – check out ottonova’s detailed work visa guide and special expat tariffs.