#howtomakeit - Extending your visa after completing your studies
Students from non-EU states
Germany offers attractive residence permits which enable you to accept a job which befits your line and level of studies. You can obtain them in just two steps:
Step 1 – Residence permit while looking for a job: You can apply for an 18-month residence permit from your local foreign nationals’ registration office to look for a job that corresponds to your qualifications. During these 18 months, you may take up any kind of employment to support yourself and fund your job search. If you already found a job that corresponds to your qualifications before graduating, you can jump this step. You can apply for your residence permit as soon as you have passed your final exam. To do so, you usually need:
- Your passport
- Your university degree: As issuing university diplomas can take some time, an official document from your university stating that you have successfully completed your studies will also suffice. The examination office of your department or faculty will issue this "Nachweis". The document must bear an official stamp.
- A document proving that you have health insurance: Contact your health insurance fund and ask them to issue a health insurance certificate for you.
- Proof that you have a means of supporting yourself (for example a bank statement or a document stating that you have been awarded a grant)
If you are not able to proof your ability to secure your livelihood, a declaration of commitment might be an alternative solution. The guarantee covers all living costs that incur during your stay in Germany. The contracting person must be solvent and creditworthy.
We recommend that you ask your local foreign residents’ registration office which documents you need to bring with you before submitting your application. Some local offices provide information about this on the Internet too.
By the way: have you already returned to your country of origin after completing your studies? In that case, you are entitled to a six-month visa to be able to look for a job that corresponds to your qualifications in Germany. The condition is that you have a university degree and are able to support yourself while you stay in Germany. Please note that the visa entitling you to hunt for jobs does not entitle you to work. Once you find a suitable post, you can immediately apply for the appropriate residence permit while, of course, remaining in Germany. You can apply for the visa to the German mission abroad in your area. They will tell you exactly which conditions you have to fulfill to be able to apply. You can find the addresses of the German missions abroad in your country on our “local contacts” world map.
Step 2 – Residence permit for taking up employment: As soon as you have a job offer which corresponds to your qualifications, you can choose whether you want to apply for a German residence permit or an EU Blue Card for the next part of your stay. Various conditions are attached to both these residence permits. Depending on what you are planning to do in the future, either the German residence permit or the EU Blue Card can be advantageous for you. If you intend subsequently to live and work in another EU state, the EU Blue Card may be more advantageous for you than the German residence permit. As the choice of residence permit largely depends on your personal situation, get the advice of your local foreign nationals' registration office when you apply.
Even if you just get a job offer for a part-time employment , a residence permit can be granted to you. It is important that the expected salary secures all means of subsistence. The decision depends entirely on the local immigration authority.
We recommend that you ask the foreign residents’ registration office which documents you need to bring with you before submitting your application. Some local offices provide information about this on the Internet too.
The German residence permit or EU Blue Card allowing you to take up employment is issued for a limited period first of all. If you continue to be employed and wish to have your permit extended, you will be able to do this without any problem. As early as two years after receiving your German or EU Blue Card residence permit, you can apply for a permanent residence permit – that is, a residence permit without a time limit. Again, the condition is that you still have employment in Germany.
Are you planning to stay abroad for a lengthy period? If you have an EU Blue Card, you can usually stay abroad for up to twelve months without your Blue Card’s becoming invalid. If you have a German residence permit, you can usually stay abroad for up to six months without your permit’s becoming invalid.
Whatever the case, you are recommended to talk with your local foreign nationals' registration office before leaving Germany for any length of time. If you are planning to spend more than twelve or six months abroad, you must obtain an authorisation from the foreign nationals' registration authority. Without this authorisation, you will not be able to enter Germany again if you have exceeded the period of twelve or six months.
Students from EU states
As an EU citizen, you can look for and accept employment in Germany without any restrictions.
Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
List of all the foreign nationals’ registration offices in Germany (i.a. German, English, Russian, Turkish)