Group of international students at university

Study and work

Many students work during their studies to earn some money for themselves. Find out here how to balance your studies and work.

Student jobs and internships

Many students in Germany work in their spare time. Some of them might be research assistants (wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft – HiWi) in universities, research institutes or libraries, while others are waiters or babysitters. Students from abroad can also work in Germany alongside their studies. 

Students from EU/EEA countries are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week during the semester, just like German students are. There is no limit to how much they can earn during semester breaks. Anyone from a country outside the EU can work 120 full days or 240 half-days without the consent of the Federal Employment Agency (BA). Generally, either an internship or working as a self-employed person is an option while pursuing academic studies as an international student. However, it is important to note that any self-employment activity need consent of the competent foreigners authority beforehand. Among other things, the authority will determine whether the occupation will hinder or delay the student in the pursuit of their academic goals.

You will find more information on the website of the Deutsches Studentenwerk and on the Study in Germany website.

Info box

As a foreign student, you need to prove that you have enough means to support yourself in order to extend your residence title in Germany. Do you work as a student assistant in a company in Germany while pursuing your studies? Then you can be your own guarantor. For this, you need a valid employment contract with a monthly salary of at least 861 euros (as of 2022). The employment contract does not necessarily have to be open-ended. However, it must be valid for the entire period of the residence title.

Employment as qualified professional

It is possible to accept an offer of employment as an international qualified professional during residence for study purposes under certain circumstances and with the approval of the Federal Employment Agency (BA). This involves changing to a residence permit for the purpose of obtaining qualified employment, without having to complete a course of study beforehand (Section 16b (4) of the Residence Act [AufenthG]). You can obtain further details from the relevant foreigners authority.

Vocational training instead of studying

International students in Germany have the opportunity to switch to a vocational training programme, if they consider a course of study not suitable for them and would prefer to pursue a vocational training programme with more emphasis on practice (Section 16b (4) of the Residence Act [AufenthG]). The residence permit must be changed accordingly in order to start a vocational training programme. A residence permit for the purpose of vocational training requires the approval of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) and other criteria must also be met. You will find further information on the requirements of this residence permit in the "Visa for vocational training" section .

Before applying, ask the foreigners authority what documents you will need to submit.

Please beware

You need to apply for the relevant residence permit before your residence permit for the purpose of studying expires.

Information on the web

  1. Study in Germany Earning money during your studies

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. 

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