Working in Germany: the official website
for qualified professionals

Work visa


All academics with a recognised university degree or one which is comparable with a German university degree are entitled to the “EU Blue Card” single residence and work permit. To obtain it, you need to prove that you have a job in Germany which corresponds to your qualification. The only condition is that you must earn an annual gross salary of at least 53,600 euros.

Specialists in the fields of mathematics, IT, life sciences and engineering as well as doctors may be entitled to an EU Blue Card if they earn the same amount as comparable German workers, but no less than 41,808 euros gross per year. In this case, the BA (Federal Employment Agency) must approve your being employed. This approval is not required if you earned your university degree in Germany.

EU Blue Card holders are entitled to a permanent residence permit after 33 months. This is a residence permit with no time limit. If you can prove before this time that your required language skills comply with level B1 of the Common European Reference Framework for Languages (CEFR), you can obtain your permanent residence permit after just 21 months.

You don’t meet the conditions for an EU Blue Card? No need to panic. If you are an academic there are other possibilities besides the EU Blue Card for working and living in Germany. If you have a job corresponding to your qualifications, under section 18 (4) of the Residence Act you are on principle entitled to a “residence title for the purpose of taking up employment” if the Federal Employment Agency has approved your employment. You do not need to apply for approval yourself. As soon as you have a job offer, just talk with the Germany embassy which is responsible for you if you are still abroad. In Germany you can get further help from the foreign nationals' registration authority or the welcome Centre in the town where you live.

Graduates of German universities

Did you successfully complete your studies at a German university? In that case, you are entitled to take up a job in Germany which is in line with your studies. You will receive the necessary residence permit from the foreign nationals' registration authority which is responsible for you. 

Following your studies, if you have not yet found a suitable job, the foreign nationals’ registration authority can issue you a residence permit for 18 months for the purpose of seeking employment corresponding to your degree. During this period, you can take any job as a means of supporting yourself. You can find out what opportunities are available to you after completing your studies in Germany in the section Chances after your studies.

Graduates of vocational training courses

Have you completed non-academic vocational training outside Germany? Then you will be able to take up employment on the basis of the qualifications you have obtained abroad, provided you meet the following criteria:

  • There is a shortage of skilled workers in your profession. A whitelist of such professions is available here.
  • You have received a binding job offer. A list of vacancies is available here.
  • Your qualification has been recognised as being equivalent to a German qualification. Further information on the recognition of vocational credentials is available here. You will have to apply to have your qualifications recognised while you’re still in your home country.

If the authority responsible for qualification recognition relevant to you concludes that you need to do further training to get full recognition (for example practical work as part of an adaptation period), you can get a permit allowing you to reside for up to 18 months in Germany (Section 17a of the Residence Act). While doing your additional training you can take up employment in line with your professional profile without any time restrictions.

With the pointbased model project for foreign professionals (PuMa) high-skilled workers from non EU-countries get the chance to work in the state Baden-Württemberg in a profession, which is not on the whitelist of The Federal Employment Agency. For this, they must meet certain criteria. Learn more about PuMa.

Information on the internet

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

Important information about residence and settlement permits in Germany (German, English, Turkish)

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

Flyer "The EU Blue Card" (German, English)

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