Skilled workers from all over the world working in Germany

The fast-track procedure for skilled workers

The fast-track procedure for skilled workers can greatly shorten the administrative procedure in the period between the skilled worker's commitment and the first working day. Find out here what steps you need to take.

You have decided to recruit an international professional and would like to speed up the administrative procedure until the visa is issued? In some countries, there are shortages in the allocation of appointments and visas due to increasing numbers of applications at the responsible German embassies. The so-called fast-track procedure for skilled workers according to Section 81a of the Residence Act (AufenthG) is intended to provide a solution to this situation. To find out how to do so, follow these steps:

Step 1: authorisation of the employer

To apply for the fast-track procedure for skilled workers, you need a power of attorney from your future employee. The following additional documents will also be required during the procedure:

  • A copy of foreign skilled worker's passport
  • Proof of his or her professional qualifications 

You can find a template for the power of attorney in the "Downloads" section.


Inform your skilled worker of the necessary documents and organise the dispatch process beforehand.

Step 2: contact with the foreigners authority in Germany

The foreigners authority is where you have to apply to for the fast-track procedure for skilled workers. This is usually the central contact point or the "main foreigners authority" of your federal State. If there is no central point of contact, get in touch with the local foreigners authority and ask for a consultation.

The foreigners authority will advise you on the steps of the procedure and the required involvement of other authorities.  The overview "Central foreigners authorities at a glance" shows you the points of contact in the respective federal states.

Explainer video: fast-track procedure for skilled workers

Step 3: conclusion of an agreement between employer and foreigners authority

Did you decide to apply for the fast-track procedure for skilled workers for your qualified worker? The foreigners authority concludes an agreement with you which includes i. a. the employee's authorisation as well as your obligations as an employer and the employee's and authorities' duties (foreigners authority, BA, recognition offices, German embassy). In addition, you will receive a description of the procedures to follow, including the names of the parties involved, the evidence to be provided and the relevant deadlines.

When concluding the agreement with the foreigners authority, a processing fee of €411 is charged for the execution of the fast-track procedure.

Step 4: recognition of the foreign qualification

For the issuance of a visa for qualified professionals from third countries, the comparability of the foreign qualification with a German educational qualification is generally a prerequisite. The foreigners authority initiates the recognition procedure or the equivalence assessment of the foreign qualification.

The competent offices are to decide on the recognition within two months after submitting all application documents. In the case of missing documents, the foreigners authority will immediately forward the subsequent demand to the employer.


Find out about the recognition of foreign qualifications in advance. In addition to the advisory services offered by the Network IQ, you can also get an overview on the Recognition in Germany portal.

Step 5: approval procedure of the Federal Employment Agency (BA)

In addition to the recognition of your professional's qualification, the approval of the BA is required for taking up the intended employment. It depends on the result of the equivalence assessment whether you can end or continue the fast-track procedure for skilled workers. If it is to be continued, the foreigners authority obtains the approval of the BA. The employment office checks whether the working conditions correspond to those agreed upon in collective agreements or to those customary in the region. If the BA does not give any feedback within one week, the approval is considered to be granted.

Step 6: grant of the preliminary approval to the visa

If all requirements (including the recognition of the foreign qualification and, if need be, approval by the BA and confirmation of the professional license) are met, the foreigners authority issues a so-called preliminary approval to the visa and hands it over to you in order to forward it to the international professional abroad.

Step 7: application for a visa at the German mission abroad

The international professional must submit the preliminary approval to the German mission abroad and will thus receive an earlier appointment to apply for the visa, which must take place within three weeks. Once the visa application has been completed on the date scheduled, a decision on the application will be made within three weeks.

Please beware

Carrying out the fast-track procedure for skilled workers does not guarantee for a visa to be granted by the German mission abroad. If no preliminary approval of the visa is given or if the mission subsequently denies the entry visa, there is no right to a refund of the fee.

Fast-track procedure for skilled workers (§ 81a AufenthG) - at a glance

You would like to recruit a skilled worker from abroad? With the fast-track procedure for skilled workers, you can speed up the procedure for issuing the visa for your future skilled worker. This guide will show you step by step how it works. 

Information on the web

  1. Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community Questions and answers about the Skilled Immigration Act

Do you have any questions?

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