If you want to learn a trade in Germany, there are certain requirements you have to meet. For example, you may need a long-term visa in order to stay in Germany for the entire duration of your vocational training. Which specific requirements apply to you depends on the country you come from. In addition, you should have adequate German language skills.
You are welcome to start vocational training in Germany any time. You do not require a visa for entering Germany or starting a vocational training programme. If you would like to live in Germany, all you need to do is register as a resident at a local registry office (called Einwohnermeldeamt or Bürgeramt). Further information on this subject can be found in our guide to "Living in Germany".
You are welcome to start vocational training in Germany any time. In order to do so you will need a visa. You can apply for a visa at the German mission in your country. To be granted a visa, you have to meet the following criteria:
When applying for a visa you have to prove that you are capable of paying for your living, no matter if you are pursuing a dual or school-based vocational training course. This is particularly important when you start a school-based training programme, because on most of the programmes you won’t be earning money.
For further information on visa requirements and the documents you need for visa applications, please contact the German mission in your country of residence. The addresses of the German missions abroad can be found on our interactive “local contacts” world map.
You would like to work in another job while pursuing vocational training? You are allowed to work up to ten hours per week in a job that is not related to your vocational training. For example, you may work at a restaurant while training as a mechatronics engineer.
What kind of school-leaving certificate you need for taking up vocational training in Germany depends on the occupation and programme you’re interested in:
In order to find out whether you meet the requirements for a specific vocational training course, you should have your school-leaving certificate recognised. The recognition process establishes which German qualification your school-leaving certificate corresponds to, e.g. whether it is equivalent to a certificate from a Realschule or a German university entrance qualification. This will also make it easier for German companies to assess your qualifications. Click here (German) to find out who is responsible for recognising your school certificates in Germany. If you merely want to translate proof of your school education or work experience and present it in a clear and understandable form, you may want to try the europass.
You are not required to provide proof of your German language skills if you want to pursue vocational training in Germany. However, you should be aware that communication at your vocational school and the company where training takes place will be in German. Thus, your German language skills will need to be quite good or even advanced to be able to train in Germany. Use our interactive world map “local contacts” to locate a German language course in your country of origin. Further information on language courses in Germany can be found in our guide to "Living in Germany".
Requirements for working in Germany (English, German)
Summary of German school qualifications (English, German)