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Work visa for qualified professionals

You have found a job in Germany and need a visa? These are the requirements you have to meet.

If you have completed qualified vocational training or a course of study outside Germany, you can obtain a residence permit under Section 18a of the Residence Act (AufenthG)  or Section 18b of the Residence Act (AufenthG)  in order to take up qualified employment in Germany as a skilled worker.

To find out if you need a visa to enter Germany, see the “Do I need a visa?” section.

What are the requirements for a work visa?

  • Your qualification must be recognised in Germany or comparable to a German degree. If you want to work in a regulated profession, such as a healthcare profession, you will need a licence to practise. For more information on the recognition procedure, see the “Recognition” section.
  • You have a specific job offer from an employer in Germany. It is important that the job you are offered is a qualified position. This means that you will usually need a degree or qualified vocational training to do the job. Auxiliary tasks will not be sufficient for this purpose.
  • Your job does not have to be related to your professional qualifications. However, you will need a licence to practise if you want to work in a regulated profession.
  • Are you over the age of 45 and coming to work in Germany for the first time? In this case, the job you intend to take in Germany must enable you to earn a gross annual salary of at least €49,830 (as of 2024) or you must be able to prove that you have adequate pension provision.


Do you have a recognised degree? If so, check to see whether you meet the criteria for obtaining an EU Blue Card. This type of residence title offers particularly attractive opportunities to qualified professionals.

Do you meet the above requirements? Then find out about the entry and visa proces.

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As a rule, the Federal Employment Agency (BA) must first approve your employment. As part of this process, the Federal Employment Agency will assess whether your conditions of employment (salary, working hours, etc.) correspond to those of domestic employees.

What opportunities does a work visa offer?

Residence permits for qualified employment are issued for a maximum of four years. If your employment contract is for a shorter period, you will be issued with a residence permit for the duration of the contract, plus an additional three months.

If you have held a residence permit for the purpose of employment for at least three years, you may, under certain circumstances, be eligible for a settlement permit. This is essentially a permanent residence title. For more information, see the “Living permanently in Germany” section.

Do you want to live in Germany with your family? This residence permit enables you to do so. To find out what you need to consider and what the requirements are, please see the “Family reunification” section.

At a glance: Work visa for qualified professionals

From the preparations to the application forms: This step-by-step guide shows you how to obtain a work visa for qualified professionals.

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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