Working in Germany: the official website
for qualified professionals

Work visa for qualified professionals

Did you attend a higher education institution or receive qualified vocational training outside of Germany? If so, you can receive a residence permit in accordance with Sections 18a and 18b (1) AufenthG (German Residence Act) that enables you to obtain employment in Germany as a qualified professional.

To find out whether you require a visa to enter Germany, see Who needs a visa?.
 

What are the requirements to issue a work visa?

  • Your qualifications must be recognised in Germany, or be comparable to those from a German higher education institution. If you are seeking employment in a regulated profession, i.e., health professions, a professional practice permit is required. For more information regarding the recognition process, see Recognition.
     
  • Have you received an actual job offer from an employer in Germany? If so, it is important to ensure that your recognised qualifications enable you to perform the job for which you are being hired. This means that you are able to be employed in related professions.
     
  •  Are you over 45 years old and coming to Germany for the first time for employment purposes? If so, your gross annual salary for the position you intend on taking must be at least EUR 45,540 (in 2020), or you must provide proof of adequate old age pension provisions.

Tip: Do you have a recognised higher education degree? If so, check to see if you fulfil the criteria for an EU Blue Card. This residence permit offers attractive conditions to qualified professionals from abroad.

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Generally, the German Federal Employment Agency (BA) must first approve your request for employment. As part of this process, the Federal Employment Agency will assess whether your employment conditions (salary, working hours, etc.) are equivalent to those of domestic employees.

Do you fulfil these requirements? Find out about the procedure for the entry visa process.
 

What opportunities does a work visa offer?

A visa or a residence permit for the purpose of obtaining qualified employment is issued for a maximum of four years. If a work contract has a shorter duration, a residence permit shall be issued for the duration of the contract.

If you’ve held a residence permit for employment purposes for at least 4 years, you may be entitled to obtain a settlement permit if certain requirements are fulfilled. This is essentially a permanent residence permit. Learn more about this under Living permanently in Germany.

Looking to live in Germany with your family? It’s possible with this residence permit. Everything you need to keep in mind, in addition to the applicable requirements, can be found under Family reunification.


At a glance: Work visa for qualified professionals (PDF)

Information on the internet
Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

Centre of Excellence for Asylum, Migration and Integration in Germany

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