Access to the labour market in Germany

Do I need a work and resident permit to work in Germany? What conditions apply to me? This is the first question many people ask themselves. In a nutshell, the visa regulations for working in Germany depend on which country you come from and which qualifications you‘ve got. Here we explain to you the main aspects.

Visa: Your ticket to a job

Citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

Citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

As citizens of the EU with the right to Freedom of movement, you have unrestricted access to the German labour market. You do not need a visa or a Residence permit either to enter or work in Germany. The same applies if you come from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. All you need to enter Germany is a valid passport or identity card. When you change your permanent address to one in Germany, you must register your new address in line with the legal requirements on registration that apply in the federal state where you are going to live.

Citizens of other states

Citizens of other states

As a citizen of countries outside the EU you usually need a visa which entitles you to enter Germany. Depending on the purpose of your stay the visa will be changed into the appropriate Residence permit locally. An exception applies to nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand or the USA may enter Germany even without a visa and apply for a Residence permit giving entitlement to work before taking up employment. Only nationals of these countries can directly apply after the arrival to their local foreign nationals’ registration authority for a Residence permit.

In your Residence permit is noted, whether and in what form an employment is permitted. Since 2016 citizens of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have facilitated access to the German labor market. Information in the national language can be found here.

According to the WHO a shortage of health professionals exists in 57 countries (PDF, 21KB). Health professionals from these countries may take up employment in Germany, as long as they have found employment themselves. Recruitment and private placement service of health professionals from these countries are excluded.

To learn more about the conditions to recieve a visa or Residence permit in Germany click our section „visa“.

Complete Guide to "Working in Germany"

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Information on this portal

Arranging to have your spouse and children join you

Skills that are especially sought after (German, English, Spanish)

Experts like you are needed

Here you can find the German missions in your country

Information on the World Wide Web

Federal Foreign Office

FAQs on Working and Living in Germany (German, English, Spanish, Arabic, French, Portuguese)

Information on the procedure for obtaining a visa (German, English, Spanish, Arabic, French, Portuguese)

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees

Conditions for being employed in Germany (German, English, Russian, Turkish)

Information on residence in Germany (German, English, Russian, Turkish)