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The fast-track procedure for skilled workers

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 German Residence Act (AufenthG) is intended to remedy 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 professional worker. Additional documents will also be required during the procedure:

  • A copy of your passport
  • Proof of professional qualifications 

You can find a sample power of attorney in the "Downloads & Links" section.

Step 2: Contact with the Foreigners Authority in Germany

You apply for the fast-track procedure for skilled workers at the Foreigners Authority. This is usually the "central Foreigners Authority" of your federal state. If there is no central authority, contact the local Foreigners Authority and ask for a consultation

The Foreigners Authority will advise you on the steps of the procedure and the necessary involvement of other authorities.

Step 3: Conclusion of an agreement between employer and Foreigners Authority

Have you decided to apply for the Fast-track procedure for skilled workers for your qualified worker? The Foreigners’ Authority concludes an agreement with you which includes, among other things, the authorisation by the international professional as well as your obligations as an employer, the professional and the authorities involved (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.

Step 4: Recognition of the foreign qualification

For the issuing 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 the complete application documents. In the case of documents being missing, the Foreigners Authority will immediately forward the subsequent demand to the employer.

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

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

In addition to the recognition of your professionas 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: Granting of the preliminary approval to the visa

If all requirements (including, if applicable, approval by the BA and recognition of the foreign qualification and, if applicable, 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 thus receives an earlier appointment to apply for the visa. It 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 note: Carrying out an 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.

At a glance: the fast-track procedure for skilled workers (PDF)

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Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community

Questions and answers about the Skilled Immigration Act (German)

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