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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.

EE-EEA nationals

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 your local German registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) upon presentation of your Anmeldeformular (proof of residence) duly completed, accompanied by a confirmation from your landlord, a copy of your lease and a valid ID.
This certificate is required for any other administrative procedures such as opening a bank account, registering for health insurance or getting a mobile phone contract.

Once the residency certificate is in your possession, the tax and revenue office will automatically send your tax ID number (Steuerindentifikationsnummer) to your postal address within 10 days. The next step is to register with the German tax authorities and apply for an electronic 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. 


If you don’t wish to pay church tax, leave the field “religion” empty, otherwise 8% of your gross income will automatically be paid to the church!

In case you change location within Germany, you’ll have to re-register in your new city. When you leave the country, you’ll have to give notice of departure at the local resident’s registration office.

Non-EU-EEA nationals

In order to live and work in Germany, non-European citizens must first apply for a residence permit in the form of a visa at the German embassy or consulate in their home country. This is the first step to legally enter the country. Most times, an employment contract or a valid job offer is necessary to get a visa. Make sure the visa issued by the German embassy abroad authorizes employment in the country. For more information, contact the German embassy or consulate in your country.
Citizens from certain countries such as the USA, Australia or Canada can enter Germany for up to 90 days on a valid passport and may apply for residency from within the country. The list of visa exempt countries is available on the Federal Foreign Office website. 

Once in Germany, it is mandatory to register your residency at your local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt). Here you can ask for the application forms for the residency permit. The next step is to contact the local immigration office (Ausländeramt), which will issue a temporary residency permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis).

Nationals from outside the EU-EEA acquire the same rights as German or EU-EEA nationals in the German labour market after several years of continuous residence in the country. A settlement permit for an unlimited period (Niederlassungserlaubnis) can then be issued to highly skilled foreign nationals. For more information, contact the German embassy or consulate in your area. 

You may also want apply for a Blue Card, which is a temporary work and residence permit for skilled Non-EU-EEA nationals in Germany. It’s the EU’s equivalent to the US Green Card.

 Good to know:

Applications for a residency certificate and a tax card are compulsory for non-EU-EEA citizens. For more information, see the section above “EU-EEA nationals”.

Please note that employees at the registration offices may only speak German. Prepare your vocabulary or ask a German speaker to accompany you.

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 30 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 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 stay is to take German classes). 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. 

 Useful Links: 

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
Working holiday visa (Auswärtiges Amt) www.auswaertiges-amt.de

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