Score a new chapter in your life: Germany job seeker visa

So you are thinking about starting the next chapter of your life? Do you need some time to figure out if Germany is really the place for you and also weigh in your career options?  Job seeker visa Germany are then words that might ring sweet to your ears.

Citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway have it easy; they can come here with just an id card, few bags and a pinch of motivation to start the adventure here.

For the rest of us, it’s not that easy however. Options are limited to find a job in Germany. Although it is possible to find a job remotely and then move to Germany, chances of success are much higher if you can meet potential employers here directly.

Enter the German job seeker visa, a permit that allows you to enter the country to find the job of your dreams.

Germany job seeker visa application

I know that finding jobs can be tough and now on top of all the struggles, you need to deal with German bureaucracy. It’s not fun, but fear not for I am right here to talk you through all the steps necessary to get you a job seeker visa in Germany.

What is a job seeker visa for Germany?

The legal basis about the German job seeker visa can be found here under section 18c. The full name for it is “Temporary residence permit for qualified skilled workers seeking employment”.

This permit allows the holder to stay in Germany for up to 6 months to look for employment. The natural “conclusion” of this permit is then to switch to a more standard employment visa or an EU blue card, once you have found a job here.

Where to start: job seeker visa Germany requirements

You need to tick a few boxes to increase your chances to obtain the job seeker visa for Germany.

Diploma

Only holders of bachelor or master’s degree are eligible to apply for a job seeker visa in Germany, but is your degree recognized here? There is this handy online tool made by the German government to assess that exactly.

You can check the online portal to see if your degree is recognized here. If your degree has been rated H+, your chances increase substantially. If you are unable to find detailed information about your diploma, you can also turn to the central office for foreign education. They will assess your degree and provide a statement that it is comparable to local German degrees in your field for a small fee.

On that note; If you have graduated from a German university, you are eligible to apply for a different kind of residence permit which allow you to find a job related to your field up to 18 months from your graduation. You can more information about that here.

Experience

Although, the official guidelines don’t mention it, eligibility is also based on your experience in your particular field of study. This is because Germany wants to welcome workers with high chances of employment. These naturally increase with a bit of experience. For occupations with a big shortage of workers, experience becomes therefore a little less important.

Proof of livelihood and health insurance coverage

As for any other permit, Germany will let people in on the basis that they can support themselves during the job hunting process. So in short, you need to have enough money for that six months period (currently, at least 720€/month for that whole period), as well as appropriate health insurance.

Language skills

This should put a smile on your face. Knowing German is actually not a requirement! But it certainly helps to show efforts to learn it. Consider even taking a basic A2 or A1 class to boost your chances.

What documents should i bring?

Your job seeker visa application Germany starts with gathering all the required documents. This may vary from consulate to consulate, so do check again, but in general:

  • A valid passport
  • A completed application form which you can find here.
  • Biometric photo
  • An updated CV
  • University degree + statement that it is recognized in Germany
  • Health insurance certificate, travel insurance is also accepted. Ask your provider for that.
  • Bank statements, salary slips, or other proof of income showing that you would be able to cover your expenses during your stay here
  • Proof of main residency in Berlin, in form of your Anmeldung (registration) or lease and written confirmation from your landlord
  • A motivation letter. This document details what your exact plan is to find a job in Germany. More info on that here.

Make sure to collect every document and make copies. You are required to bring originals, but they will keep the copies in some cases.

Booking an appointment

If you are in Berlin

Once you have gathered all the documents, make sure to make an appointment online here.

I do not recommend risking for walk-in appointment, as they only give out limited slots every day -which means you have to be at the foreigners office mad early. I’m talking 3-4 AM to be one of the first one to get there, so when the gate is open at 6 AM you could get one of the waiting numbers. After collecting the ‘number’ you have to wait until 7 where they officially open their doors to enter the building and wait for your number to be called.

Bring all the documents and copies, your biometric photo, and the €56 application fee which you can pay in cash or using EC (bank card, not credit card). Turkish citizens can apply for the visa at no cost.

If you are abroad:

Book an appointment with your local German mission. You can find your local one here.

FAQ

Can i work with a German job seeker visa?

Please note that you are not allowed to work with this visa. Job seeking visa is purely intended for you to seek and apply for jobs. Once you have a job offer, you should be able to change your job seeker visa to a work permit.

What is a good time to start the application when i’m already in Germany?

If you have entered the country already and you are using this as a way to extend your Initial 3 months visa, ideally, allow around 4 to 6 weeks before your current visa runs out to book for an appointment online.

How can i write a compelling motivation letter?

The motivation letter is very important and shouldn’t be underestimated. It should lay the plans for your job search, the action points and the scope of it. Ideally, it should also demonstrate how you can develop a solid situation/career in the future as well. It should also give detail on what your alternative plans are, in case your search doesn’t work out. This is probably to make sure you can go home if you aren’t successful.

Are there any experiences about applications i can read about?

You can read this one, this one, or this one. They are pretty informative about to best approach your Germany job seeker visa application.

How long do i have to wait to hear about my case?

Expect 3 to 4 weeks after submitting your application to hear from your local German mission.

How i can get help or guidance?

You can of course decide to talk to immigration specialists. For more general questions, you can also call a dedicated hotline setup by in cooperation with many different German administrations. They can answer your questions in English. More info about this hotline this way.

Extra tips:

  • If you have any doubt at all, don’t hesitate to call your local German mission to clear them up. They’d rather give you info on the phone than discovering you misunderstood something during your appointment.
  • Contact your health insurance provider and ask them to give you a confirmation letter that you are insured.
  • Print out bank statement over a few months as proof of income or sufficient fund during your stay.’
  • On the day of your appointment, dress appropriately and be on time. It’s a pretty grim place and I know no one is keen to be hanging out there, but it’s better to be early and have enough time to ask around and find where you have to be.
  • Hand in all your documents and explain your situation. If you have all the documents needed, they would then ask you to go downstairs to pay the application fee at the machine. After the payment, you would get the job seeking permit stamped into your passport.
  • This permit can not be extended and is primarily intended for foreign graduates to seek employment in Germany. However, if you currently have a residence permit which allows you to work here (employment or freelance), you can change it to job seeker visa.
Photo by Alexis Fauvet on Unsplash

I hope this short intro to the whole Germany job seeker visa topic helped to clear the path ahead of you. Don’t hesitate to share your experiences in the comments. or ask anything. Good luck to you!

Source: 1, 2, 3,

45 Comments

  • Reply Sango 20/03/2019 at 08:43

    Hello..
    Can i submit a sponsorship letter (proof of funds and stay) from a German citizen for my entire period of job search??
    you mentioned euro 720/month ..so can i show my uncle will sponsor my entire stay until i find a job or return to my country?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/03/2019 at 09:53

      Hey Sango. This is definitely an option but it requires a bit of work for your sponsor. Make sure to double check with your local German mission. More info here.

  • Reply Alex 18/03/2019 at 17:52

    I am a non-EU permanent resident of Italy (I have permanent residence card). If I want to work in Germany, I need to find the job, get a job offer and apply for a working visa in Germany embassy in Italy which takes quite long time and I might miss my chance to work in Germany.
    1. Does this type of visa help me to get the job and contract easier in Germany?
    2. If with this type of visa I find a job in Germany, can I apply for a resident permit directly in Germany (convert my residence type) or I need to get a working visa from the German embassy in Italy?
    thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/03/2019 at 09:43

      Hey Alex. 1. Hard to tell. Probably up to perception of your prospective employer; they might be reassured that you are already on EU soil or maybe it makes no difference at all. 2- If you were on a Blue card in Italy, then probably yes. For you current case, i honestly don’t know.

  • Reply Kerry 13/03/2019 at 07:56

    Hi Batstien,

    Thank you for an incredibly useful and informative site.
    Hi Harpeet,

    I am considering a job seekers visa, but I’m wondering if, once it’s granted, you have to secure employment that offers a €53,600 per annum? Or there no minimum salary required?

    Regards,
    Kerry

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/03/2019 at 08:51

      Hey Kerry. Once you have found a job, the normal requirements/conditions for the employment visa apply, as described in this post about work visa for Germany.

  • Reply harpreet singh 10/03/2019 at 15:06

    hello

    i m harpreet singh

    i got job seeker visa which starts from april first week

    kindly advice me how i can extend my job seeker visa

  • Reply anoni 25/02/2019 at 15:06

    Dear Sir
    I am from uk non eu residence , I am graduated in MSc IT computer and Networking security professional and have IT job in UK . I want to come germany , here in UK i have visa application pending home office , but given right to work , can I apply from UK ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/02/2019 at 20:43

      Hey Anoni. As mentioned in the post, you can apply from a local German mission yes.

  • Reply Anand 24/02/2019 at 21:52

    Hi,
    I am going to apply for jobseeker visa & having 12 years experience in the food and beverage industry possible I can get a job for my experience past six years I’m working in Singapore.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/02/2019 at 20:37

      Hey Anand. That’s a large amount of experience so it does definitely improve your chances. You’d need to check your chances in local job portals to see if there any openings in your carreer area.

  • Reply Asim Khan 20/02/2019 at 11:51

    Hi .. I planning to apply for JSV. I am a sales professional (Sales Account Manger) with 10+ years of experience in beverages and consumer electronic industries.
    What are the chances to get JSV approval and also chance to get job there. I am still trying to learn some basic German language.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/02/2019 at 09:26

      Hey Asim. I cannot really comment on the specifics of your profile. The question is always: is your profile rare enough in Germany to justify a positive answer?

  • Reply Abhimanyu Singh 19/02/2019 at 05:59

    Dear Sir

    What is difference between work visa and job seeker visa

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/02/2019 at 10:35

      Job seeker visa allows you to come to Germany to look for a job here. A work visa is granted if you have found a job already.

  • Reply seema 12/02/2019 at 09:55

    Hi, thanks for informative article . i am from marketing background and have experience of more than 4 years . my qualification is MBA marketing . do Germany has requirement of marketing profile people . so that i can apply for same .

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/02/2019 at 17:17

      Hey Seema. You can use the tool linked in the article to check if your diploma is recognized in Germany. As for your chances, i’d say the following; ask yourself if your profile is asked for/rare in Germany in your field.

  • Reply Shima 06/02/2019 at 20:06

    With this visa, can I apply for any kind of job or just the jobs related to my experience?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/02/2019 at 12:11

      Hey Shima. This visa grants you a residence permit to search for a job, that question would be more appropriate for the post about employment visa in Germany for example.

  • Reply Amit 24/01/2019 at 21:51

    Hello,
    If I got a JSV based on my IT experience, do I have to get a job in IT to get work permit?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/01/2019 at 21:02

      Hey Amit. IT is a shortage occupation in Germany, so you would improve your chances by sticking to IT.

  • Reply Sammi Adebayo 23/01/2019 at 08:18

    Hi Bastien,
    I want to apply for the JSV am a professional photographer, a fork lift operator and also a HSE officer but stuffed computer science. Which profession do you feel is better for me to apply

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/01/2019 at 10:56

      Hey Sammi. You have way more chances to apply as developer/IT professional in my opinion.

  • Reply PalS 13/01/2019 at 21:59

    With the Germany job seeker visa, am I eligible to apply any job in Germany, or it have to be a sponsored job only?
    If I don’t get a job in 6 month, can I re-apply for the VISA?

  • Reply Sam 24/12/2018 at 12:30

    Thanks for the informative article, could you please help me with the time taken to convert JSV to work permit in germany?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/12/2018 at 20:52

      Hey Sam. The simple and unfortunate answer is: it depends. Several weeks is probably needed.

  • Reply albert 23/12/2018 at 23:01

    hi team.im from albania and i dont have a diploma only driving licence c+e.do i have a chance to live and work there?thank you

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/12/2018 at 20:50

      Hey Albert. I can’t possibly answer this within the comments’section of this blog. I suggest you approach a consultant instead.

  • Reply Abdul 16/12/2018 at 09:18

    Hi Team,

    I have the company work permit till feb 2020 and a company visa for 6 months. I would like to know if I resign this company how long can’t I stay here and do I need to change the visa status, please let me know the process to find another job and settle.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/12/2018 at 13:19

      Hey Abdul, as mentioned in the post, it is possible to change your current visa to a job seeker visa. The timeline after you resign is unknown to me, it is sometimes case by case and should be written in your documents somewhere.

  • Reply JC 06/12/2018 at 16:59

    Hi ,

    I got a Job seeker VISA. If i find a job in Germany then how soon i can start working ? . If i apply for blue card after getting a job offer then should i wait to start working until Blue card is approved ?. Whether i am allowed to J while blue join new job while my blue card application is in process ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/12/2018 at 21:36

      Hey JC. You can start working as soon as you have a obtained an employment visa or blue card. Always wait to have your visa approved before starting on your new job.

  • Reply J K 04/12/2018 at 08:31

    Hi,
    I would like to know the probability or chances of getting a job in the Event and Exhibition industry in Germany on Work seeking Visa.
    I need this answer seriously because I have very limited amount as saving in my account and I’m not in the position to take any risk of leaving my current job in hunt of a new one without homework. I working in the representative office of German Messe (Exhibition center) for Asia region.
    Your answer will be highly appreciated and will affect my future.
    Regards,
    J K

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/12/2018 at 22:49

      Hey J. Unfortunately, those are industry-specific questions that i cannot answer. Since you belong to that industry, you are actually in much better position to answer that question than me. From my general knowledge, Germany is THE country in Europe for conferences, Messen and exhibitions, so that’d be a first sign i guess. Good luck with your search!

  • Reply Rahul 02/12/2018 at 13:28

    Hi,

    If a person is unable to find a job on JSV within 6 months can he extend his visa? So that he can search for jobs some more time in Germany?

    Your answer will be appreciated as I couldn’t find any answer fir this query in the web.

    Thanks
    Rahul

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/12/2018 at 21:07

      Hey Rahul. As far as i know, that can only be done if you have graduated from a German school/university. Then it can be until 18 months. Source.

  • Reply Anna 30/11/2018 at 15:24

    Hello! I already got the Job seeker Visa. I would like to know about the next step in Germany. Do I have to do Anmeldung or register to Ausländerbehörde? Am i obligated to? Due to job interviews i am not going to live in one place for a long time. Thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/12/2018 at 20:57

      Hey Anna. I’d advise you to register at the Bürgeramt yes. Book an appointment at the Behörde 4 to 6 weeks before your visa runs out as to have one in time when you’ll get a job.

  • Reply Ana 06/11/2018 at 23:00

    With this visa, can I get a job and study at the same time? like the duales studium?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/11/2018 at 10:10

      Hey Ana. You may want to check with an expert but if you are referring to vocational studies, this official resource here tells me that it would be best to apply for a student visa (more info that there) instead.

  • Reply SK 19/09/2018 at 17:24

    I am currently applying for this visa from within the UK. I was wondering what additional documents I could provide as “Proof of main residency in Berlin” since I am still in the UK and unable to provide Anmeldung or a lease. Would a letter from someone living there granting me permission to stay with them be suffiecient?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/09/2018 at 09:00

      Hey there. The requirements are very clear as you can see there. It’s either a Meldebescheinigung or a lease with written confirmation of occupancy from the landlord.

    • Reply Wi Mo 23/10/2018 at 11:55

      Dude, click the links on the ‘experiences’ part of the article. They had to book a hotel for that. Anmeldung you can only do when you are already in Germany. If you know somehere in Germany they can apply for Verpflichtungserkärung.

  • Reply Lachlan Wells 13/09/2018 at 18:41

    Hey Bastien, there’s an error in the last bullet point of your extra tips. If you’re already living here on a residence permit that allows you to work you CAN go straight onto the job seeker visa. This is a condition, not an exclusion. So if you’re here on a working holiday you can switch to the job seeker visa but if you’re on a student or family visa you may not. I just confirmed it in my appointment at the Auslanderbehorde today!

    (Second paragraph under prequisites)
    https://www.berlin.de/labo/willkommen-in-berlin/dienstleistungen/service.271950.php/dienstleistung/324661/en/

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/09/2018 at 09:03

      Hey Lachlan. Thanks very much for the insights. I will amend the article accordingly.

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