Do you wish to work in Germany? Note that different conditions and regulations apply to European Union and non-European Union nationals regarding visas. Find out more in this article.
To work in Germany, citizens of the EU-EEA do not need to apply for a work permit. However, there are mandatory administrative procedures to undertake once in the country.
To start with, it is important to legalize your status in Germany by applying for a residency certificate ("Meldebescheinigung") within eight days after arrival. You can apply for your certificate directly at the city hall of your German locality upon presentation of your "Anmeldeformular" (proof of residence) duly completed and signed by your landlord with a copy of your lease and a valid ID . This certificate is required for any other administrative procedure such as opening a bank account for example.
Once the residency certificate in your possession, the next step is to register with the German tax authorities and apply for a tax card ("Lohnsteuerkarte"). You can get this card from the tax services of your municipality of residence upon presentation of your residency certificate and a valid ID. Your application for your tax card must be filed at the beginning of your employment contract or just before registration with an employment agency. You'll need to submit your tax card to your employer as soon as possible after taking office.
The residency permit (different from the residency certificate) has been abolished for EU-EEA citizens but still mandatory for nationals of other countries.
In order to live and work in Germany, non-European citizens must first apply for a resident permit in the form of a visa at the German consulate or embassy in their home country. This is the first step to legally enter the country. Most of times, an employment contract or a valid job offer is necessary to get a visa. For more information, contact the German embassy or consulate in your country.
Once in Germany, it is mandatory to apply for a residency permit at city hall of your municipality. It is also necessary to make sure that the visa issued by the German embassy abroad authorizes employment in the country.
The final step is to contact the German immigration office which will issue the final work permit after verification that no German or any European citizen can fill the position.
Nationals from outside the EU-EEA acquire the same rights as German or EU-EEA nationals on the German labor market after several years of residence in the country.
A settlement permit can now be issued for an unlimited period of time to highly skilled foreign nationals. For more information, contact the German embassy or consulate in your area.
You may also apply for a Blue Card which should serve as a work permit in Germany.
Good to know:
Applications for a residency certificate and a tax card are compulsary for non-EU-EEA citizens. For more information, see section "visas requirements for nationals of the EU-EEA".
Working Holiday Visa
Nationals from Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand can travel to Germany within the framework of the working holiday visa. The working holiday visa is designed for young people aged between 18 and 31 years old wishing to work, study (not more than 3 consecutive months) or travel within Germany for a period up to 1 year. Visa requirements, conditions, restrictions, minimum age, length of stay and fees costs may vary according to your country of origin. In general, it is necessary to be holder of a valid passport issued in one of the above mentioned countries, have sufficient financial guarantees to sustain oneself in the country, be in possession of valid return tickets, have a minimum study level and some knowledge of German (except if the purpose of the sojourn in Germany is to take German courses). The application must be filed in a German embassy or consulate abroad. Fees for the visa apply. For more information about the WHV in Germany, contact the German embassy or consulate in your area.
Federal Immigration Office - Work permit www.bamf.de/EN/Migration/Arbeiten
Federal Immigration Office - Work and study in Germany www.bamf.de/SharedDocs/Anlagen
Blue Card www.bluecard-eu.de
German Embassy in Ottawa - The Working Holiday Program www.kanada.diplo.de
German Missions in the USA www.germany.info