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Special regulations for professional drivers

Interested in working as a professional driver in Germany? That is also possible without formal training. Read more about it here.

As a professional driver of heavy goods vehicles (HGV) or buses, you have good chances of finding a suitable job in Germany. You can find out whether you need a visa to enter the country or a residence permit for your stay in Germany in the Who needs a visa? section.

Which conditions must be met in order to start working as a professional driver?

  • You must possess the necessary EU or EEA driving licence of class C1, C1E, C, CE, D1, D1E or DE and
  • You must be able to provide evidence of your (accelerated) EU or EEA initial qualification to drive certain vehicles for the carriage of goods or passengers. 

If you possess citizenship of an EU member state, an EEA member state or Switzerland, you may be employed in the fields of freight or passenger transport. You can look for suitable vacancies in the job listings.

Which residence title is required for third-country nationals?

If you do not have citizenship of an EU Member State, an EEA Member State or Switzerland, but you still meet the conditions mentioned above, you can work as a professional driver if the Federal Employment Agency (BA) has approved the granting of the necessary residence title according to Section 19c para. 1 of the Residence Act (AufenthG) for this employment (Section 24a para. 1 of the Ordinance on the Employment of Foreigners (BeschV)). The priority check will also be conducted during the approval process.

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Approval from the BA will be obtained during the visa process in an official internal procedure. As a rule, no action on your part is required.

If you are still in your country of origin, you can find out about how the visa process works or the conditions for entering the country.

When is it permitted to enter the country in order to take part in qualification measures?

If you do not possess either the necessary EU or EEA driving licence or the EU/EEA (accelerated) initial qualification, you can earn both by successfully completing qualification measures in Germany. You must have your driving licence from a third country converted to a German driving licence within six months of entering the country. Usually, this conversion requires you to pass both a theoretical and practical driving test. While taking part in the qualification measures and having your licence converted, you may be employed by a company. Your employment will be approved by the BA if the following conditions, required by Section 24a (2) Ordinance on the Employment of Foreigners (BeschV) are fulfilled:

  • You have an employment contract which obliges you to take part in measures for obtaining the (accelerated) initial qualification and a German driving licence alongside your employment at the company. During this time, you are not permitted to work as a professional driver.
  • The working conditions during the qualification measures are arranged such that you can obtain a German driving licence and the (accelerated) initial qualification within 15 months.
  • After your EU or EEA driving licence has been granted and the initial qualification has been obtained, you have a concrete job offer for employment in the fields of freight transport (truck driver) or in the field of passenger transport with buses (bus driver) at the same employer.
  • You already possess a foreign driving licence as a professional driver in your home country.

If you have already obtained the (accelerated) initial qualification during previous employment in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland and the qualification is still valid, you may also enter the country by way of exception if you do not have an EU/EEA driving licence. In this case, you must have your foreign driving licence converted in Germany within six months of entering the country. Usually, this conversion requires you to pass both a theoretical and practical driving test. You can find out which documents are required for the visa process in such a case from the mission abroad responsible.

If you are aged 45 or over, you must receive a certain gross annual salary for employment in Germany or be able to produce proof of a sufficient level of previously earned pension provision. In 2023, this minimum salary is 48,180 euros.

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Entry into the country in order to participate in qualification measures will be permitted providing that German language skills at a B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) can be attested.

You can find out how to prove fulfilment of these criteria from the competent German embassy or consulate.

What options are offered by the residence title for work as a professional driver?

As long as your employment contract is valid, your residence permit can generally be extended. After five years of employment, you can apply for a permanent residence permit. The general regulations according to Section 9 on the Residence Act - AufenthG apply.

Would you like to live in Germany with your family? This residence permit allows you to do so. You can read up on what you need to bear in mind and which conditions apply in the Family Life in Germany section.

Information on the web

  1. Federal Foreign Office (FFO) You can find out which visa you need in order to come to Germany with the Visa-Navigator.
  2. Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) Centre of Excellence for Asylum, Migration and Integration in Germany
  3. International and Specialized Services (ZAV) Logistics as a future industry in Germany

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 top bar.

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