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Prospects after graduation

Did you graduate from university in Germany or are you about to? Here you can find several suggestions on how to move on after your studies.

Take up qualified employment

Germany is an attractive place for work. The economy is stable, working conditions are good and thanks to the social security system you and your family are well protected. German companies are always looking for qualified professionals and well-trained skilled workers.

You will soon be completing your studies and have not found a suitable job yet?

If you want to stay in Germany, you can look for a job matching your studies after you graduate. To successfully look for a job, you should put together an attractive collection of application documents to present yourself in the best way possible to potential employers. You can find out how to write an application letter and other tips on job research in the Looking for a Job section. In our job listings you can also directly look for vacancies and apply.

If you come from a third country, you have the possibility of obtaining a residence permit (valid for up to 18 months) to look for a job. During these 18 months, you are allowed to take up any type of job. Please note that this type of residence permit cannot be extended. The following requirements must be met in order to obtain a residence permit for 18 months:

  • Proof of successfully completed studies
  • Proof of health insurance cover
  • Proof of being able to secure your livelihood

Before submitting your application, check which documents you need to bring to the competent Foreigners' Authority. Some Foreigners' Authorities also offer relevant information on the internet.

You have already found a suitable job?

If you come from a third country, with a job offer that matches your qualifications, you can apply either for a residence permit to take up qualified employment or an EU Blue Card. The following requirements must be met in order to obtain this residence permit or the EU Blue Card:

  • Proof of successfully completed studies
  • Proof of health insurance cover
  • Proof of being able to secure your livelihood (employment contract)
  • EU Blue Card: Gross annual salary of at least €58,400 or €45,552 in STEM professions (as of 2023)

Since the type of residence title you receive is largely determined by your personal situation, you should seek advice from your Foreigners' Authority when applying. You can also obtain a residence permit even if you have a part-time job offer. It is important that the anticipated salary is sufficient to cover your living expenses. The Foreigners' Authority is the only decision-making body for this matter.

Info box

If you come from the EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland, you can live and work in Germany without any restrictions. You can find out more about this topic in the Information for EU citizens section.

Become self-employed

There are many reasons for becoming self-employed in Germany. If you are interested, you can get in touch with a start-up advisory service.

If you come from a third country, you will need the appropriate residence permit, according to your business venture. Read more about this topic in the Visa for Self-Employment section.

Do a PhD (doctorate)

Another option for university graduates is a doctorate. International researchers are welcome at German universities, research institutions and research-based companies – and the German doctorate has a good standing around the world.

The Research in Germany portal offers important information on the topic of obtaining a PhD in Germany and presents financing and funding opportunities. In Germany, most doctoral students either work at a university or receive a scholarship for their research.

If you come from a third country and would like to obtain a PhD in Germany, you will either need a residence permit for studying purposes, a residence title for research purposes or an EU Blue Card – depending on how much you work during your doctorate and how much you earn. You can apply for this residence permit at your competent Foreigners' Authority. They will provide you with information on what documents you need to submit before you apply.

Complete vocational training

Would you like to learn even more, but simultaneously gain more practical experience in a company? Then vocational education and training could be interesting for you. Germany has an excellent vocational training system. In dual training, you learn a specific profession in a company and additionally attend vocational school. Read more about this topic in the Vocational Training section.

If you come from a third country, you must apply for a residence permit to complete qualified vocational training. The Foreigners' Authority is the decision-making body in regard to the application. Before submitting your application, make sure to inform yourself on which documents need to be submitted at the Foreigners' Authority.

Please beware

If you wish to continue living in Germany after your studies, you must apply for the corresponding residence title before your residence permit for studying expires.

Do you have any questions?

Let us advise you on your opportunities to work and live in Germany. Our experts will support you with questions regarding job search, visa, recognition and learning German. 

You can find out more about the various contact options by clicking on one of the icons in the bar below.

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