Nail your German work visa application with this guide

Like many brave people before you, you have decided to turn a new page in your life and try something bold, something hard and something worthwhile; applying for a work visa in Germany. Whatever your reasons, it’s a difficult entreprise and it may sometimes look like an Herculean task. I mean, it’s already hard enough as it is for find a job, but to have a permit to work, it’s almost double the effort.

This blog has helped to deconstruct many complicated topics before, and this won’t be an exception.

This blog has helped to deconstruct many complicated topics before, and the employment visa application for Germany won’t be an exception. So brew yourself some coffee and prepare to dive in while we go step by step.

What is a German work visa and do I need one?

The German work visa is based on a system of residency permits with different conditions based on the specific application and situation. If you are not an EU citizen (or from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein), you will need permission to live and work in Germany in the form of an employment visa. This does not automatically let you travel and work in the rest of the EU.

Usually, you’ll need to apply before you come to Germany and wait several months for everything to be processed. You can read a broad summary here.

The German Foreigners Office, called the Ausländerbehörde, differentiates between general and specialist employment, as well as temporary employment (guest scientist, au pair, internship), job searching, freelance, and self-employment. Let’s cover the first two categories in-depth in this post.

Do I qualify for the general employment visa?

This is for anyone who wants to live and work in Germany and needs a residence permit for the purpose of employment. For the German work visa, you generally need approval from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Office) in addition to the Ausländerbehörde.

To improve your chances of approval, you first need a job lined up in Germany. Ideally, this position is on the whitelist;  there is a shortage of qualified people in Germany for this profession.

Do I qualify for the specialist work visa or EU Blue Card?

Being a specialist in your field gives you a sort of “golden ticket” to working in Germany. In other words, you’re well-educated and your qualifications are beneficial to the German labor market. You enjoy a privileged status during the visa process and special benefits if you’re approved.

If you are a company executive, senior management, university teacher, or possess special professional qualifications, then you don’t necessarily need approval from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit and can skip much of the application process. Check with your local research institution or German mission (embassy or consulate) for more details.

For the EU Blue Card, you need to have a higher education degree and:

  • earn at least €52.000 annually (gross income of €4.333 per month) at your qualified jobor
  • or
  • earn at least €40.650 annually (gross income of €3.380 per month) and are employed in a so-called “shortage occupation”: mathematics, IT, natural sciences, engineering, architecture, interior, urban and traffic planning, design, or medicine (except dentistry).

If you fulfill the first financial requirement and got your degree in Germany, you don’t need approval from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit for your visa. This can mean a faster application process and less hassle!

However, if you have a degree from a foreign university and only fulfill the second financial requirement, you’ll need to get that approval. In both cases, your contract needs to be meeting local German working conditions.

Once approved, the EU Blue Card visa is valid for a maximum of four years, unless you have a limited job contract. In that case your work visa is valid for the length of your job contract, plus three months. After 33 months living in Germany, you can qualify for a permanent residence permit. Get your German language skills certified at a B1 or higher level and you could qualify for that permanent residence permit after just 21 months!

Learning German is key for a faster permit.

This video is quite helpful as well to wrap your head around the problem too.

What if I don’t have a job lined up yet?

This makes the process for general and specialist employment visas very difficult. These are based on you having a job offer or letter of intent. If you already live in Germany, you can try to apply for a job seeker visa , something we cover in this article in details.

Where and when do I apply for a work visa?

Ideally, you should be applying for the German work visa before you arrive in the country. Your country’s German mission is responsible for handling the visa application and process. If, however, you have citizenship in one of the following countries, you’re allowed to first arrive on a tourist visa and then apply for a work visa in Germany: Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, and the USA. Lucky you!

Unless you qualify for this exception, you need to apply for the work visa through your local German mission. They will give you all the necessary forms and tell you the specific requirements.

In most cases, you’ll need to submit the following documents (originals plus copies):

  • application forms provided by the local German mission
  • valid passport
  • biometric photos
  • proof of your qualifications and any occupation practice permits
  • employment contract or binding job offer
  • detailed job description
  • proof of safe livelihood (such as bank statements or pay slips)
  • fee of €75, but check if you can pay less

The application process can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, depending on the visa. So, apply as early as possible! Your employer should be aware that you can’t fly over and start right away.

What happens next?

Once you get the initial approval for your application, you’ll receive an entry visa. Time to pack your bags and find a home in Berlin!

Make sure you register your address and schedule an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde offices in Moabit or Charlottenburg right away! This is where you will apply for a residency permit, which allows you to stay in Germany after the initial 3 months of your entry visa.

You’ll get more details before your appointment, but prepare these documents ahead of time:

  • general employment application
  • residence permit application 
  • valid passport
  • biometric photo
  • job contract
  • detailed position description (from your employer)
  • proof of professional qualifications, any occupational practice permits
  • rental contract/proof of homeownership
  • rental costs or expenses for the property
  • proof of main address in Berlin
  • proof of health insurance (traveler isn’t enough)
  • proof of secure finances (EU Blue Card application only)
  • fee of up to €100 for most applications

Sources vary about how long this part of the German work visa process takes. Expect at least a few weeks and remember – you’re not allowed to work during this time!

Here is a reminder of how the whole process looks like (click here for a hi-res version):



What if my application for a Germany work visa is denied?

Don’t. panic.

If your German work visa application is rejected, you can ask for the reason through the remonstration process and possibly attempt to appeal the decision. The process requires you to appeal in writing to the German mission that handled your application. They must reassess your application. If they reject it again, they must tell you the reason in the form of a Remonstrance Notice.

You also have the option to appeal the decision within one month through the Administrative Court in Berlin. In both cases, you should find a lawyer that knows their way around these topics.

To avoid rejection, double-check that your application is complete, your passport is valid for the specified timeframe, all your documents are in good order, and you meet the requirements of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit.

I’m nervous, what do I need to watch out for?

Here are a few tips to keep your composure

  1. Visas are only valid for a limited time and are often tied to your job contract. If you leave that job you will need to reapply for a visa to stay in Germany.
  2. Not sure if you should bring a specific document to a meeting? Bring everything, just in case. This will make you feel more confident going in and might even earn you a rare compliment for being well-organized!
  3. If you have poor German skills, bring an interpreter or German-speaking friend with you to appointments.
  4. Be prepared to have your most important documents translated by a certified translator, even if they’re all in English.
  5. Schedule appointments well in advance. The immigration and registration offices in Berlin are often booked solid for weeks.
  6. Be on time! Germans are big on deadlines and expect everyone to follow official procedures. They do not appreciate tardiness and requests for emergency exceptions.

Remember, the people processing your application are also humans (probably). They want to do well at their job, follow the rules, and get home for the weekend. You can make everyone’s life much easier by being well-prepared for meetings and staying organized.

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.

Good luck and feel free to leave comments below! 🙂

Sources: 1, 2, 3


  • Reply Jake 28/01/2020 at 11:16


    I am an american seeking to work in germany. Will I need to speak german to get a work permit? Is it possible to get permit with no german skills?



    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/01/2020 at 15:19

      Hey Jake, In my opinion, this is possible but you get much better chances if you get hired in some selected professions, with a high shortage of profiles, or if the company hiring can prove there is no German person that can take you position.

  • Reply Czarina 21/01/2020 at 22:21

    Hi, i have a job offer in hamburg and leave here now in munich and i’m from philippines, i just want to know if i still need to go back to my home country to process my papers or i can do it here in germany?thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/01/2020 at 17:43

      Hey Czarina, i can’t really answer about this on so little details. If you are confident you can get your new visa before your current one expires, it may be an option.

  • Reply Killer 21/01/2020 at 14:39

    I am working in Germany Frankfurt, with one of the software company.
    I am here for limited period of time but i want to live in Germany for long term, so can I change my job here ? can i switch the company? where i can get permission to live here permanently.

    Currently i have D type employment visa.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/01/2020 at 17:27

      Hey Killer. I can’t comment on particular situations but the fact that you already have a work visa in Germany is a positive thing. If you were to change job or companies, you’d need to apply for an entirely new visa with the new job and the company you will choose.

  • Reply Sreenivasa 17/01/2020 at 13:09

    Hi, I recently applied the German job seeker visa from India, but my visa is not approved and the reason saying, your foreign university degree either recognized in ANABIN. And also saying like, “Your Master of Business Administration does not meet this requirement”. The status is “conditionally comparable” is not sufficient.

    How ever, when i checked in ANABIN website, i can see Bangalore university is registered and showing under H+ category. And also, in the letter they suggested like the university degree will be evaluated by the ZAB.

    Kindly let me know any one of you faced similar situation and what are the next steps? thanks in advance!

  • Reply MD 16/01/2020 at 10:32

    Hi, I am MD and I am from India. I am a software engineer, which is in “shortage occupation” in Germany. I have job offer from Germany. Company is offering me 65k salary. I have done Bachelor in Science with Mathematics. I have checked my degree in Anabin, and it is “Bedingt vergleichbar”. My University is recognized. Am I eligible for Blue Card? Do I need pre approval from ZAV?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/01/2020 at 09:15

      Hey MD. Since visa approval are on a case by case basis, i cannot comment on particular profiles. Eligibility rules are listed in the post. Please refer to them.

  • Reply mathew 15/01/2020 at 15:25

    I have applied German employment visa on 16/12/2019, but ,It is almost, one month I have not received any visa approval notification from the Consulate.I have to start my job in 31/1/2020.
    I am so worried about Visa. Please ,what I do? Can anyone tell me that ,how I know the progress of my Visa?

    Thank you,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/01/2020 at 09:24

      Hey Mathew. I suggest you contact the consulate to know if it’s possible to get a status update. Rules may vary from consulate to consulate. Good luck with it all!

  • Reply Chandana Veravelly 07/01/2020 at 08:24

    I have applied for Job seeker visa from India in the month of Dec 2019, and i have been granted the Visa, but the validity of the Visa is showing only as 4 months, where as this visa is generally granted for 6 months, could you please suggest how should i approach with the German Consulate about it.

    Thanks & Regards,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/01/2020 at 09:54

      Hey Chandana, not really since it depends on many parameters and it’s based on your profile. I cant risk an answer.

  • Reply Ann 05/01/2020 at 19:08

    Hi, I did my masters computational lifescience in Germany and recently received a job offer in Pharma company and the salary is 2400 per month.
    Is it possible for me to get work visa for this job?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/01/2020 at 14:30

      Hey Ann. I cannot comment on individual cases because there are many many parameters. i suggest your get in touch with a immigration/relocation consultant.

  • Reply Sabrine 15/12/2019 at 16:47

    Hey Bastien,
    I’m an electronic engineer from Tunisia with an experience of 1 year and a half. I got a job offer in Berlin and now I’m starting the visa procedures. Since I don’t know so much about the Blue Card Visa and work permit, I don’t know to which Category I have to apply when filling the application form of the visa appointment. So can I please know which I should apply for, knowing that I’m not offered the right amount for a Blue card ? is there a difference between a work permit and work visa? Thank you in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/12/2019 at 00:23

      Hey Sabrine. Work permit and visa are interchangeable terms in the post. As for the rest, i can’t comment on individual situations on so little details, sorry.

  • Reply Vamsi 12/12/2019 at 18:20

    Hi Bastien,
    The post is very helpful. I am trying to fill the Germany D type visa application for Long term employment and have a couple of questions. FYI, I have a two-year limited contract from my German Employer.
    1. For the question, What are your means of subsistence? Do I have to enter the actual salary I will be getting or just write the words salary/income?
    2. For the question, The intended duration of stay in Germany? for the TO: date do I have to enter my end date of the contract as it is a limited contract or leave it blank?

    Any help is appreciated, Thanks.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/12/2019 at 00:26

      Hey Vamsi. I am not immigration lawyer so i can only give you opinions: 1- Enter the type of income and the amount too. 2. Write: at least until…

  • Reply vibolt 06/12/2019 at 22:11

    Hi there! I am from Non-EU and got an offer from an employer in Berlin but ZAV rejected my application based on 2 reasons, which is 1–) there is available person in Germany to do this job (Position: Financial Reporting Expert) and 2-) salary I got offered (37k) is lower than the job description which mentioned by authority at least (42k).
    I knew someone who got offer even less for similar position at the same company and only went directly for visa at embassy and got accepted [a year earlier].
    My employer even hired 3rd party specialist to handle ZAV pre-approval but still got no good result. Finally, the agent only send me email saying that she has informed my employer that there is no possible way to get ZAV acceptance except 1-) increase the salary [which is an obvious No to me], 2-) make change to the job description [ I don’t think as a multi-international company will bother to do that as they receive a lot of applicants each day] or 3-) to restart the recruiting process [which will waste employer’s time and I can ‘t see the point that they will do that].
    All in all, my case can be concluded as a negative outcome now but I just want to ask if you or from anyone you know/hear from faced similar situation and would like to share here their cases about their happy endings.
    I even also leave current job for this offer but now turned out this way.
    Thanks in advance if anyone will share his/her experiences.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/12/2019 at 00:20

      Thanks for sharing and sorry to read about the negative outcome.

  • Reply Matthew 27/11/2019 at 17:23

    Hi Bastien,
    I’ve lived in berlin now for 1year and 9months. I come from South Africa. My first contract with my company was 1year which meant my residential/work visa was valid for 1 year. I renewed my contract with my company for another year after that and that brings us up to today. My question is:

    What documents would i need to take with me to the Bundesamt? When i was there last they said just 2years payslips. What if you apply early and only have payslips for 1year and 9months? Would love a personal email of someone who i could get in contact with for these types of questions 🙂

    Thanks for your time

  • Reply JJ 13/11/2019 at 16:10

    Hi Bastien

    I’m a US citizen in Berlin and I am applying for my work permit soon (not blue card). I have a job offer and my future employer helped me get my documents ready. I travel quite often for personal reasons and am wondering (1) will the Foreigners Office take my passport for holding when I apply? (2) How long does it take for a work visa to be approved? Many thanks!

  • Reply AAA 11/11/2019 at 20:50

    Hi there, thanks for the informative information,
    I got a job offer from German based company and apply for work visa in embassy and all the papers is in order , my question is do usually Germany embassy mission required a verified stamp degree certificate from the ministry of foreign affairs where I live ? Or they just accept the regular graduate certificate issued by my university, I mean is there any specifications for how your certificate should be ?
    Thanks again

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/11/2019 at 11:45

      Hey AAA. It depends on the country, you’d better ask the German mission directly for that.

  • Reply Maia 01/11/2019 at 19:11

    Hi Bastien,
    Thanks for the article! I have already gotten my job seeker visa approved, if I receive an employment offer do I still need to go to the Bundesagentur für Arbeit to get approval before applying for the work permit? And also, how long will the visa decision take when you apply in person at the Auslanderbehorde? Thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2019 at 09:36

      Hey Maia. Yes, the process is the same for everybody. How long? The unfortunate answer is it depends… It can be on the spot, after a few days, few weeks…

  • Reply Olivia Lewis 09/09/2019 at 18:13

    Hi Bastian,

    Im a US national, and I did my Masters study here in Germany, and now that I have graduated I am on a job seekers Visa. I just landed a contract as a Recruitment Consultant with a 30,000€ salary plus uncapped commission structure. Im concerned about whether or not my visa will be denied based on my salary. What are the other things I need to look out for. I have already been here for three years, surely it should be easier for me to land a work visa.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 10/09/2019 at 20:55

      Hey Olivia, I’m not sure… What is your question exactly?

      • Reply Olivia 24/10/2019 at 17:47

        my question is, what are some of the grounds they might deny my resident permit? My biggest concern is it being denied because it’s not related to the degree that I studied here in Germany. I got my Masters of Public Policy and I will be working in pharmaceutical recruitment in Munich

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/10/2019 at 09:01

          Hey Olivia. Sorry, i can’t say anything about this. You might want to try the hotline to get an answer on this? See the end of the article.

  • Reply Ali 04/09/2019 at 17:54

    Hi Bastien,

    Thank you so much for posting all of this information – it is hugely helpful.

    I am a South African National with temporary residency in Italy – I studied my masters there and am now on an Italian job seekers visa. I received a job offer from a company in Berlin, and went back home (to South Africa) to apply for a National (D) Visa, which would later be converted into a work permit and residency. My visa application was denied, based on the fact that my salary was too low. They stated that i needed a monthly income of €2400, while mine was €2250. I have now returned to Europe. My employer has agreed to raise my salary, but does this mean that i have to go through the entire procedure again, and wait a further 6 weeks for the visa to be authorised. Do I have to return back to my home country to do this? Is there a change that they may reject it again? Am I able to appeal the rejection with the counter salary offer?

    Sorry for all of the questions, and thank you in advance for your help.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/09/2019 at 15:57

      Hey Ali. If you want to appeal the decision, you’d need to do that with the German mission you made the first process with. In which case, it would not start the process from scratch again. It’s mentioned there.

  • Reply SCCP 04/09/2019 at 05:14

    Hey Bastien, I find your website really instructive. I have a job proposal and I’ve started the process for the visa, however that was denied accusing that my salary is below the my qualifications. I am a Production engineer and I would like to know, is it possible to appeal over this denial or is there anything else I could do to make the process work?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/09/2019 at 15:53

      Hey SCCP. Yes, you can appeal but you’d need to approach a immigration lawyer to do this, and evaluate your chances.

  • Reply Alper Benli 03/09/2019 at 04:20

    Hello Bastien,

    I took your advice and started looking for a job. The thing is though, I want to give my employer a possible date of start. Can I work with them once they gave me a contract and I apply for the work permit, i.e being on a Fiktionsbescheinigung?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/09/2019 at 15:51

      Hey Alper. That is an excellent question. The only way to resolve this is to be very transparent with your future employer about this, to manage expectations. If they give you a job offer, mention that you will need some time for the application.

  • Reply key 26/08/2019 at 22:33

    Hello Bastien,
    I have got a contract and my salary qualifies for EU Blue card. But I need to join in a month.
    I visited the Ausländerbehörde, since I am eligible for Blue card they asked me to get my certificates verified from ZAB.
    But as I have only one month time, I thought can I apply for work permit alone and later apply for Blue card once I get the ZAB.
    Is this possible? or ZAB recognition will be required for work permit also?

  • Reply MARTINS MUNACHI IZUOGU 21/08/2019 at 12:38

    Hi dear,

    My name is Martins currently working and living in Dubai as an Environmental, Health and Safety officer. I have a Masters Degree in Sustainable water and Environmental Management from Kristianstad University Sweden. I want to know if my chances for getting a work visa will be high since I have a high qualification (masters degree) from a recognized European university (Kristianstad University Sweden) Also will the EU BLUE CARD be applicable for me? Am planning on contacting the German embassy in Dubai to schedule an appointment and kick-start the application… please kindly advise.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/08/2019 at 23:21

      Hey Martins. I give general information here and cannot give personal consultation. It’s best to talk to an immigration lawyer for that.

  • Reply Santhosh k 02/08/2019 at 18:06

    Hello Bastien,

    I have a Bachelor of Science degree from India. Am I eligible for applying for Blue Card ?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/08/2019 at 11:22

      Hey Santhosh. I can’t possibly say on such little details.

  • Reply Santhosh k 01/08/2019 at 19:52

    Hello Bastien,

    It’s a very informative Post. I have received a D Visa ( Specialist ) one , it is for 8 months. When do I need to apply for extension i.e., how many days before the end date. Should I file the extension application from Germany or have to leave Germany and apply ?

    Thanks for your patience and time.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/08/2019 at 11:19

      Hey Santhosh. I can’t find the source just now but i believe you can get your visa extended first from 4 weeks before your current visa expiration date. You can do that within Germany. You can call the hotline in case you have a doubt.

  • Reply Simon 29/07/2019 at 19:30

    For the Working Holiday visa overseas embassies are now putting a 6-month working restrictions on the visa. But if you apply in Berlin this isn’t the case and it’s possible to work for a full 12-months. There is a lot of information online about applying for the Working Holiday visa before you entering Germany but my advice to avoid the working restrictions is to apply in Berlin.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 31/07/2019 at 09:02

      Hey Simon. that’s a great tip. Thanks for letting us know. Do you have a source on that?

  • Reply Melissa 26/06/2019 at 00:07

    Thank you so much for all the information! I’m an American and recently graduated with a Masters in Architecture. I am currently in Berlin on a tourist visa but have been in contact with companies. I have an appointment in a few weeks to apply for a work searching visa. A few questions: Is it problematic to talk to companies/interview while in the country? If I get a job offer before my appointment, can I use that appointment for a work visa instead? Is there any benefit to having a work searching visa prior to applying for a work visa?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/06/2019 at 16:44

      Hey Melissa. Have you seen the post about the job seeking visa for Germany here? I suppose that having a job seeker visa shows that you have proved your relevance for the job market of this country, which can help for the work visa afterwards. It’s not a problem to do interviews while in the country. Regarding your appointment, talk with your German mission directly to see if you need a different appointment then. Every mission have their internal logic.

  • Reply Aleta 24/06/2019 at 15:44

    HI, I am in preparation of submitting my German national visa application in Singapore. Have a question on job contract. Do I have to have the original of job contract or soft copy is sufficient.

    Thank you.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/06/2019 at 20:27

      What is a soft copy?

      • Reply Aleta 25/06/2019 at 05:57

        Copy Received in Email

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/06/2019 at 16:38

          Hi Aleta. It’s best to ask your German mission directly. Some wants an original contract, some think a copy is fine too.

  • Reply Raj 21/06/2019 at 15:39

    If we submit the degree photocopy with ANABIN database print outs for ZAV approval. Then foreign university degree recognition process is done by ZAV?

  • Reply Tanveer Babar 15/06/2019 at 00:52

    Hi All,

    I hope this message finds all of you well !!!

    I am working in Portugal, I have Residence Permit. If i can get work contract in Germany is it possible i can get Residence Card in German. Can anyone guide me how i can apply or process.

    I’ll be looking forward response from anyone.


  • Reply Jess 11/06/2019 at 07:27

    Hi Bastien,
    Thank you for this helpful post! I am graduating this summer from a German university MA program and am interested in staying. I am able to get a job somewhere I interned previously immediately after finishing the degree; however, the salary won’t meet the financial qualifications. In the meantime, is it possible to apply for the 18-month looking for a job visa and stay on with this job until I find something more lucrative? Without the position, I will not have enough funds to show “proof of a secure livelihood” for the 18-month seeker visa otherwise. Thanks so much in advance!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 13/06/2019 at 11:44

      Hey Jess. That would not work unfortunately because one is not allowed to work on a job seeker visa, as detailed here.

      • Reply Mamun 12/01/2020 at 09:42

        Sorry Bastien, with job-seeking visa you are allowed to do any kind of work only if you secured your degree from Germany. Please don’t give wrong information.

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/01/2020 at 09:38

          Hey Mamun, thanks for the comment. Can you point me to a source for this please?

  • Reply Samy 05/06/2019 at 14:34


    I have 15years of exp in my skillset and it’s in shortage. I do have a Job Offer but my degree lines up to be an Associate level degree as per the database.
    Is there anything that can be done to process my work permit or if there’s any other visa other than Blue card, that I can be eligible to work on?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/06/2019 at 09:15

      Hey Samy. I don’t understand the sense of you question. Why would you not attempt a work visa?

  • Reply Meet 04/06/2019 at 23:44

    My earlier application for employment visa has been rejected saying the foreign university degree is not comparable. I have submitted two documents, they might be confused with each other. One was degree certificate and one was normal course certificate. Now I am applying for new application with the new firm. I am thinking to give only degree certificate with ANABIN database information. Is it okay? will they say why I have not submitted the other course certificate that I submitted last time?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/06/2019 at 12:09

      Hey there. It’s hard for me to tell on such little details but if this one document is satisfying requirements for the application, then i think it’d be fine.

  • Reply MFK 03/06/2019 at 19:44

    Hi, first of all thanks for creating and maintaining such a great website, it is really helpful for this community.

    To my question: I have a work contract starting in November this year. I applied for a Blue Card visa, I suppose that will work out. However the company wants me to participate in language classes (which they pay for) in Germany two months before the contract starts. I am fine with that, but I don’t know whether I will be allowed to enter the country already two months before the work contract starts.
    Do you know how this works? How far in advance (before the contract starts) may I enter the country with a work visa?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/06/2019 at 20:58

      Hey there. Can you not enter and stay for that period on a tourist visa or entry visa maybe on a typical 3 months period? You can ask the hotline mentioned at the end of the article too. If nothing else helps, you might need to apply for a language course visa for that period, as detailed here.

      • Reply MFK 04/06/2019 at 11:03

        Hi, thanks for your quick response!
        No that would not work. I would need to leave the Schengen area the latest after the 3 months period, then return to my home country (which would cost a lot since i’m from South America) and then go to the embassy, get the work visa and return.
        Hence my question how long in advance I could travel to Germany with a work visa. Or do you think there is another way?

  • Reply vivek 29/05/2019 at 14:52

    its very unfortunate to write here the story of a German National Visa Rejection and at the same time my prerogative to do so. well, the rejection letter simply says about the Degree Certificate is not being recognized. I carried the Anabin list on the interview date and the interviewer was reluctant to accept it by saying since i have had the BA (Berlin Federal Agency Approval Letter) and the Work Contract from the employer, there was no need to accept it. on the contrary, the verdict has come on the basis of not providing the proof. I am baffled, is it because i am a Management Grad and not with a STEM Background. My joining date in Berlin is on June 15th. I dont know if i can make it to the date.
    what should i do? can someone guide me please.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/06/2019 at 14:55

      Hey Vivek. Thanks for submitting your case. You can decide to appeal for the decision on those grounds, as mentioned in the post or here. In this case, using a lawyer would probably be the best option. Hope this helps.

    • Reply Anudeep Reddy Gopu 12/06/2019 at 13:16

      Hey. Any updates on your case? I’ve applied today for work visa and I have carried the ANABIN database printout and the person said it wasn’t necessary. I just came across your post. Am I in trouble now?

  • Reply AB 28/05/2019 at 13:59

    Hi, I have a Masters degree from Germany & have been employed in Bayern for the past two years (on a valid work permit). Last month I received a new job offer from Berlin and am planning to start from June 15th. My documents (current visa, job description) have been forwarded to the BfA by my company. My salary is above 50k & have already completed B1 integrations course. How long does it take to get approval? Under what circumstances can my application be rejected ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/06/2019 at 14:38

      Hey AB, it’s extremely tricky to assess processing times. Common causes for rejection are listed the post but since we are talking about a renewal, i guess it depends if your new job is also part of the list of occupation/profile pool shortages in Germany/Berlin.

  • Reply mukesh 27/05/2019 at 19:06

    Hi ,

    I got my pre approval letter on 26-0ct-2018 and I finished my intervw and got the visa on march 2019 . Unfortunately I could not travel till now and visa is valid for another 4 months.. is there is any problem in travelling or working because my preapproval letter is alreay passed 6 months ,, do i need to apply visa again ? or is there any visa to get preapproval letter again ?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/05/2019 at 11:00

      Hey Mukesh. Not sure i understand the question?

  • Reply falafelfan 23/05/2019 at 22:39

    Hey Bastien- thanks for the informative writeup! I have a question about the paperwork involved in converting a Job Seeker Visa to a Work Permit. For my Job Seeker Visa, I only needed the Anmeldung, I didn’t need an official lease stating the cost of rent. I still have the Anmeldung, but I’m in a sublet and have no official paperwork from the landlord. I have a job contract and my company is trying to schedule me an appointment with the BIS, but it might not happen in time before my start date, so I offered to go to the Ausländerbehörde to sort things out on my own. I didn’t know I needed an official lease, and now I’m worried that if I turn up and try to do it on my own, I’ll be rejected. Any thoughts on my situation would be helpful 🙂 thanks!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/05/2019 at 10:48

      Hey there. Yes, it’s a difficult situation indeed. There is no magical solution i’m afraid. You need an official contract to present to the authorities. It could also be in a WG as well, maybe start there?

  • Reply T Lim 22/05/2019 at 16:18

    I am applying for work permit to work in Germany through an agent. The agent sent me a quienaire in regarding to the immigration. One of the questions is if I have any contagious disease. I am diagnosed with Hepatitis B but was told that the chance of me infecting anyone is low.

    My question is

    1)Should I declare my diagnosis of Hepatitis B?
    2)Will the diagnosis affecting my application of work permit?
    3) Do I require to provide any medical evidence or attend any health screening as part of application of work permit?

    I am very worried about this. I hope to hear from you.



    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 28/05/2019 at 10:44

      Hey Lim. You should trust your agent and ask him the question directly. I believe that contagious diseases would be pandemic and difficult to cure ones, not “common” infections like Hepatitis B.

  • Reply Amy 19/05/2019 at 18:28

    Hi Bastien, thanks for another great informative post.
    On the Service Portal, it states that as a prerequisite for the issuance of a residence permit for the purpose of employment you must have your main residence in Berlin, and in required documentation it states you need to provide your lease. How is that possible for non-EU citizens that are applying from outside Germany? Does it mean they would need to have an apartment already organised before even applying?
    Many thanks.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/05/2019 at 09:54

      Hey Amy, the logic is that you can apply for temporary permit to enter the country from abroad, and apply for a residency permit once you are here.

  • Reply Willie 19/05/2019 at 06:09

    My son is a professional soccer and has been offered a contract to play for lower level team in Germany for very little money (less that $10,000 annually) . Initially I was going to have him apply for a work visa but didnt know if work permits would be issued for athletes. I saw your article and got to thinking that maybe he should apply for a freelance visa. Do you think he would quality for a freelance visa an athlete with small contract offer?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/05/2019 at 09:50

      Hey Willie, you might want to talk to a professional but it depends on the conditions put in the contract. If it fits the definition of an employment contract, then a work visa is probably best suited. However, one might question the chances of getting the visa granted, when the total annual income is so low. It doesn’t satisfy minimum permit requirements.

  • Reply Pratik 25/04/2019 at 15:38

    hi,the mentioned information is really helpful.
    my question is i am from india with bachelors of engineering degree and its regarding employment contract.
    if i received the contract from german employer for 12 months in my software filed job and based on this contract i got stamped employment visa.
    i will travel next month and suppose i got another job from german employer with unlimed/3 year contract and i wish to join these employer.
    please let me know what process should be done.
    1) should i reapply for the employment visa with new contract?
    2) can i travel on my existing stamped visa and directly join 2nd employer?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/04/2019 at 21:27

      Hey Pratik. I’m not sure i understand the situation properly. If your visa is tied to your employer/job, you’d need to get a new permit if you changed jobs yes. 2) your work visa allows you to enter Germany.

  • Reply Indu 17/04/2019 at 13:17

    I am from india and i have applied for work visa in germany and its been 2 week. i dont have zav approval as said by my german employer it will be done by embassy and my gross salary is 24000€ because i am a nurse and not recognised in germany after recognition they said my salary would be as equivalent to other nursing professional till then i will work as elderly care nurse. So do what are the chances for visa approval will i get approval?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 09:28

      Hey Indu. That’s really hard for me to say but elder care professional are in high demand, so that could play in your favor.

  • Reply Dave 11/04/2019 at 13:29

    If I am starting the process with my tourist visa running out, how do I go about getting a visa extension to stay in country while application is being processed? Thanks!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:24

      Hey Dave. Tricky situation. I think you’d be best calling the hotline to ask.

  • Reply Taner 11/04/2019 at 06:34

    Hi. I must first say that you have great content and support here. I’m hoping that you can enlighten me. Well, my question: Can the Job Seeker Visa transitioned to an Artist or a Self-Employment Visa after entry to Germany? I am a Turkish citizen living in the US and want to go to Berlin to further my career. I am graduated from an art school in Germany but I also work commercially as a photographer and video producer. I just can’t decide what would be the most suitable way to take. I would really appreciate your support.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/04/2019 at 10:31

      Hey Taner. The job seeker visa is designed so it can only lead to an employment visa. If you come here to be self-employed, you need to apply for a German freelance visa.

  • Reply Nene 13/02/2019 at 17:46

    I arrived in Germany 4 years ago, I got a Blue Card, then lost my job for one year…then got a very good job back again. What will happen when I go and ask for a Permanent Resident Permit?!, …

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/02/2019 at 16:58

      Hey Nene. Sorry, i cannot help you on this matter, but this makes me think that i should write a post on it.

  • Reply P U 07/01/2019 at 15:25

    Hey 🙂 Thanks for all the tips!
    I’m from Israel and I came here on a working holiday visa which is valid through May 19. Meanwhile, I got a job and I got working visa.
    If I’m gonna quit my current job, does my initial visa is still valid till May? Or was it cancelled the minute I got the working visa?
    Another one – I’ve got the working visa for 3 years. Does it still valid when I quit? I know i’ll need a new one when getting a new job, but can I stay meanwhile on this one? If not – do I have a specific period after I quit to look for my next job?
    Thanks in advance for everything!

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 08/01/2019 at 14:06

      Hey Pola. Well done on the visa. I don’t know about your first question. Maybe ask the Foreigner’s office directly or your embassy. Second question: you may have to check for your case again but i believe your working visa is tied to a position/company, so if you quit, that’s also it for your residence permit. Again, check with your embassy if your visa has some sort of grace period attached to it.

  • Reply NewApplicant 04/01/2019 at 14:04

    Hi there, I have received an employment contract from a company in Berlin and they will pay a gross salary of 35,000 eur. I have my appointment coming up this month with the German embassy. Is it easy to get work visa if I have all the documents ready, or is there any possibility that my visa will be denied? Also, how long does it usually take approximately?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 05/01/2019 at 12:28

      Hi there. thanks for posting a comment. It’s always hard to answer those questions because it’s almost a case by case basis. If you have all documents ready and fullfill conditions, then it should be fine. Processing times depend on your embassy and how busy they are, can’t answer that precisely either.

  • Reply Sivaram 02/12/2018 at 10:51

    Hi, I am Indian and I finished my Business studies in France recently. I am currently living in France on French student VISA. I did my student Internship for 6 months in Germany. The company arranged me the work permit (ZAV approval). Now, I attended an interview with a Biotech start up company in Berlin, Germany. The company is offering me 47K – 50K € per year gross salary. This time it seems that I have to do the entire VISA procedure. Does my previous German work Visa for my Internship would ease my work permit procedure if I apply on my own? Please guide me. Thank you for your patience.

    Thank you,
    Siva Ram.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 02/12/2018 at 21:04

      Hey Siva. Nice work on getting a job here! Applying on your own doesn’t improve or decrease your chances per say, it’s just that the company which did that for you has the experience and maybe the connections to get it right the first time. It’s hard to tell if your past permits can improve your chances now; definitely wouldn’t hurt to mention it in my opinion.

  • Reply Mahi 21/10/2018 at 09:21

    Hi I applied for work permit in Berlin on 1st October 2018 waiting for labour office approval.
    Iam from India I came on job seeker visa. I got offer in a German company my package is 34000e per year its been 3weeks I didn’t get any mail or call from employment office.
    Should wait for the mail or I can contact them regarding my application process.
    Whom should I contact.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/10/2018 at 18:09

      Hey Mahi. You can always call your contact person at the Arbeitsagentur. They will able to direct you towards the next logical step. Well done on your job offer !

  • Reply Angel 28/09/2018 at 13:11

    If I have my Anmeldung registration in Berlin but my job is in Brandemburg (zone C Berlin), where should I do the VISA Application???

    Thaks a lot

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 30/09/2018 at 19:38

      Hey Angel. Berlin offices are fine.

  • Reply MH 16/09/2018 at 12:25

    >If, however, you live in one of the following countries,

    This is not correct. You need to be a citizen of one of the countries mentioned. A Mexican citizen residing in the USA cannot come on a tourist visa and apply for the residency permit after arrival in Germany. A Mexican or other non-EU citizen on the list of privileged countries residing in the USA needs to go to the German consulate in the USA and apply for the residency permit there.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/09/2018 at 09:12

      Hi MH. Thanks a lot for the correction. The post was amended to be more accurate, i was of course referring to citizenship here.

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