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Language teachers

Not only doctors and engineers but also the so-called “special occupational groups” have access to the German labour market. Special occupational groups are skilled workers who require a specific qualification profile or have to be part of an essential economic sector in order to work in their profession. Language teachers are part of that specific occupational group.

As a citizen of the EU, the European Economic Area or Switzerland you require neither an entry visa nor a residence permit to work as a language teacher in Germany.

As citizen of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the USA you may enter Germany without a visa and obtain a residence permit after your arrival.

If you are a language teacher for your own mother tongue and come from a foreign country, under certain conditions you are granted access to the German labour market. You will initially require an entry visa which must later be converted into a residence permit allowing you to take up gainful employment (this includes self-employed and non-self-employed activities) in Germany. As a language teacher you can obtain a residence permit for up to 5 years. A renewed employment in this field is only possible after interrupting your stay in Germany for a duration of three years.

As part of the visa procedure, the German mission abroad examines whether the approval of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) is required for the issuance of a visa for teachers to teach in their mother tongue in schools. This includes not only foreign teachers who teach languages, but also teachers who teach other subjects in their mother tongue. Foreign teachers must not be employed under less favourable working conditions than German teachers. As a comparative benchmark, the local wage conditions for teachers at embassy schools are to be used. Usually, the position to be filled is not a civil servant position, so that recognition is not always necessary. More information can be obtained at the school you wish to work at or at the school authority.

Self-employed activities

If you are planning to be a long-term self-employed language teacher of your own mother tongue, you will require a visa for self-employment, that must later be converted into a residence permit for the practice of self-employed activity. The residence permit requires proof of your ability to cover your living expenses through practice of your intended occupation. In this context, suitable proof of income and assets from abroad may also be accepted. In addition, the BA must give its approval. The profession of a language teacher is considered an independent occupation. Some of these independent professions may be practiced without meeting any specified preconditions for admission. Detailed information on requirements, tax issues and the legal forms of freelance professionals can be found on the service webpages of Baden-Württemberg. This information applies throughout Germany.

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