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Who needs a visa?

Do I need a visa to work in Germany? And which visa regulations apply to me if I want to study or train in Germany? For many, these questions top the list of enquiries when considering looking for a job in Germany and planning the next stage in their career. The answer in a nutshell is: whether or not you need to apply for a visa, and which one, depends on which country you come from and what professional qualifications you have.

EU/EFTA nationals

As citizens of the EU with the right to Freedom of movement, you have unrestricted access to the German labour market. You do not need a visa or a Residence permit either to enter or work in Germany. The same applies if you come from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

Nationals of non-EU/non-EFTA states

Nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand or the USA may enter Germany even without a visa and apply for a Residence permit giving entitlement to work before taking up employment. Only nationals of these countries can apply to their local foreign nationals’ registration authority after having already entered Germany. If you want to take up employment shortly after entering Germany, you are recommended to apply for the right kind of visa before doing so. Nationals of all other third-party states must apply for a visa from their local German mission abroad before travelling to Germany.
 

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