Working in Germany: the official website
for qualified professionals
 

FAQ

You can contact us in a variety of ways. By email, chat or hotline, in German or in English – our specialists are there to help you.

Contacts

If you have questions about working and living in Germany, the German and English language "Hotline Living and Working in Germany" will help you. It offers information on the topics of job search, work and career, recognition of foreign professional qualifications, entry and residence, and learning German. You can call +49 30 1815 1111 for personal advice. 

The Central Foreign and Specialized Placement Service (ZAV), which is part of the Federal Employment Agency, can help you find a job. Send an e-mail to make-it-in-germany@spam.arbeitsagentur.de or call our "Hotline Living and Working in Germany" at +49 30 1815 1111 for advice.

If you would like to invest in Germany, you can contact Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI). The experts at GTAI will inform you about investment opportunities in Germany as well as the legal framework and funding programmes at the location.

If you want to have your foreign degree recognised in Germany, you can find relevant information at "Recognition in Germany". On the website you will find information on whether you need recognition and how it works. If you have any questions about the recognition of your professional qualification, please use the contact form.

Working in Germany

The conditions and requirements for working in Germany differ depending on your country of origin. You can check which options are open to you with our Quick Check.

You can work in Germany without restrictions and do not need a visa if you come from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland. Everyone else needs a visa to live and work in Germany. The type of visa that is suitable for you depends on your qualifications and the purpose of your stay. Further information on visas can be found here.

The Skilled Immigration Act came into force on 1 March 2020. The Skilled Immigration Act expands the framework for the immigration of skilled workers from countries outside the EU to Germany. Skilled workers with vocational, non-academic training can immigrate to Germany more easily. For more information, click here.

You can have your professional qualification acquired abroad recognised in Germany. In some cases, this is even mandatory in order to be able to work in your profession in Germany or to obtain a work visa. The Recognition Act, which came into force in 2012, has made it easier to have foreign professional qualifications recognised. Accordingly, everyone is entitled to a recognition procedure, regardless of nationality or place of residence.

You can find current job offers in Germany on the "Make it in Germany" job listings or on other well-known job portals on the Internet. Employers have agreed to receive applications from foreign professionals for all job offers on the "Make it in Germany" job listings. You can find further tips on job hunting under "Looking for a Job".

At this point in time, especially technically qualified professionals, such as engineers and IT specialists, have good chances of finding a job in Germany. But German companies are also looking for doctors, nurses, craftspeople and scientists. More information on sought-after occupations can be found in the article "Professions in demand".

Whether you need German language skills in your profession depends on the profession to be practised and the employer. Often, proof of certain German language skills is also necessary for applying for a visa. In any case, it is very helpful for everyday life as well as for active participation in society to acquire a basic knowledge of the German language. Experience shows that the language level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is a good starting point for this. You can find out how and where you can learn German in the section "Learn German".

To apply for a job in Germany, you will usually need a German curriculum vitae (CV), a cover letter and references about your qualifications. You can find tips on how to apply in the "Jobs" section.

In Germany, you will receive a written employment contract from your employer. The employment contract should contain information such as your name, the start date of the contract and the working conditions (salary, holidays, weekly working hours, etc.). You can find more details in the "Employment contract" section.

You can stay in Germany after graduating and work here. If you are from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you have unrestricted access to the labour market. If you are from a third country, you can, for example, obtain a residence permit to work, look for a job or do a doctorate after completing your studies. The article "Prospects after graduation" explains what opportunities are available to you.

Setting up a business in Germany

You can start a business in Germany and do not need a visa if you come from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland. Everyone else needs a visa to live and set up a business in Germany. You can check your options with the Quick Check
You can find detailed information in the section "Setting up a business in Germany" in the article "Visa for a business start-up".

Depending on which self-employed activity you pursue, you can work as a freelancer or register a trade. You can find information on this topic in the "Types of new businesses" article.

There are numerous funding programmes and free advice centres for people who want to become self-employed in Germany. Find out more in the dossier "Starting a business in Germany" in the article "Financing and funding programmes".

Living in Germany

You can find a flat and housing offers mainly on real estate platforms on the Internet. You can also seek assistance from a real estate agent. The section "Living in Germany" offers additional information and links.

Once you have found an accommodation and are planning your move, there are a few things to keep in mind. You can find tips on this in the "Living in Germany" section.

The residents’ registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt or Bürgeramt) in your town is responsible for registering you in your new accommodation. You must make an appointment there within two weeks of moving in. You can find more information under "Looking for Housing".

In principle, yes. If you and your spouse are from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, then moving to Germany is quite simple. No visa is required for this. If your spouse is from a third country, then they need a visa for the purpose of spousal reunification to enter Germany. As a rule, family reunification can only be granted to the nuclear family. Under German law, this applies to spouses and minor, unmarried children as well as the parents of a minor child. You can find detailed information on this in the section "Family Reunification".

Studying and training

If you would like to study at one of the German universities, you will need a university entrance qualification certificate that entitles you to study. You can find more information in the Quick Check and in the section "Study & Training".

If you want to study or do a doctorate at a public university, in most cases there are no tuition fees. Compared to other countries, studying in Germany is therefore inexpensive. You only have to pay a small semester fee. This includes the semester ticket, which allows you to use bus and train services in the region free of charge. You can find out what other costs you should calculate in the section "Study".

You can read about how to obtain a suitable scholarship for a degree or doctorate in the section "Study".

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