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Prospects after graduation

Have you graduated or are you about to graduate from university in Germany? Here are some suggestions for what to do after you graduate.

Take up qualified employment

Germany is an attractive country to work in. The economy is stable, working conditions are good and the social security system offers protection for you and your family. German companies are always looking for skilled workers and well-educated professionals like you.

Are you about to graduate and have not yet found a suitable job?

If you want to stay in Germany, you can look for a job related to your studies after you graduate. To be successful in your job search, you need to put together an attractive application portfolio to present yourself in the best possible light to potential employers. You can find out how to write applications and other tips for jobseekers in the "Looking for a job" section. You can also search and apply for jobs directly from our job listings.

If you are 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 is not renewable. 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, find out from the competent foreigners authority what documents you need to submit. Some foreigners authorities also offer relevant information on the internet.

Have you already found a suitable job?

If you are from a third country and have an offer of a qualified job, you can apply for a residence permit for qualified employment or an EU Blue Card. Note that your job does not necessarily have to be related to your professional qualifications (with the exception of the EU Blue Card). However, you will need a licence to practise if you want to work in a regulated profession. You will need to present the following supporting documents:

  • Proof of successfully completed studies
  • Proof of health insurance cover
  • Proof of being able to secure your livelihood (employment contract)

As the choice of residence title depends largely on your personal situation, you should seek advice from your foreigners authority when applying. You can also obtain a residence permit if you have been offered a part-time job, as long as the expected salary is sufficient to cover your living costs. The foreigners authority is the sole decision-making body in this matter.

Info box

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

Become self-employed

There are many reasons to become self-employed in Germany. If you are interested, you might want to contact 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 doctorate

Another option for university graduates is to do a doctorate. Germany’s universities, research institutions and research companies welcome international researchers – and the German doctorate is highly regarded around the world.

The Research in Germany portal provides key information on doing a doctorate in Germany, including funding and support opportunities. In Germany, most doctoral students either work at a university or receive a grant for their research.

If you are from a third country and want to do a doctorate in Germany, you will need either a residence permit for study purposes, a residence title for research purposes or an EU Blue Card, depending on how much you work and earn during your doctorate. You can apply for a residence permit at your local foreigners authority. Before you apply, find out from them what documents you need to submit.

Complete vocational training

Do you want to continue learning while gaining more practical experience in a company? Then vocational education and training could be an option for you. Germany has an excellent vocational education and training system. Dual training involves learning a specific trade in a company and attending vocational school. Read more about this in the “Vocational training in Germany” section.

If you are from a third country, you must apply for a residence permit to complete vocational training. The foreigners authority will decide on your application. Before you apply, find out from the foreigners authority what documents you need to submit.

Please beware

If you wish to continue living in Germany after your studies, you must apply for the appropriate residence title before your study permit 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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