Are you a citizen of an EU member state planning to seek employment, study or complete vocational training in Germany? Thanks to the freedom of movement, you can travel to Germany without a visa or a residence permit and stay here for a period of three months. The only documents you will need for entering the country are either a valid passport or an ID card. There are no restrictions regarding access to employment and self-employment in Germany for you or your family.
The same applies if you are a citizen of Switzerland or the European Economic Area – i.e. Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland.
Right to permanent residency
As an EU citizen, you automatically receive the right to permanent residence in another EU country after an uninterrupted legal residence of at least 5 years in that country. You can have this confirmed by requesting the issuance of a permanent residence card. This card can be useful when dealing with the authorities. Additional information on the subject of “permanent residence for EU nationals” can be found here.
Are you currently residing in Germany and would now like to apply for German citizenship? This is an option if you are an EU citizen. Information on which conditions you need to meet for naturalisation is available here.
Depending on what EU member state you are from, you may not need to relinquish your existing citizenship. This means that you will then have “dual citizenship”. Your local naturalisation authority can tell you which countries offer this option.
The principle of freedom of movement for workers within the EU makes it easy for citizens from other member states to access Germany’s labour market. There is a broad range of support available for you to take up if you need it.
Help with finding a job
If you need help with seeking employment, EURES is the right service for you. The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit – BA) is a member of EURES, the network of European Employment Services. EURES offers advice and job placement services for promoting labour mobility within Europe. The services range from pan-European job offers to EU funding programmes, information about living and working conditions abroad as well as contact details of EURES advisers. You will find simple explanations of which services EURES offers in this EURES flyer. On the European Job Days, you have the opportunity to directly obtain information on your job prospects and current job vacancies in Germany and other EU member states. For upcoming events visit the European Job Days website.
Possibilities of support for EU citizens
EURES promotes fair and sustainable occupational mobility across borders. The Targeted Mobility Schemes (TMS) support programme is part of the EURES strategy. The programme aims to match suitable applicants with hard-to-fill job vacancies and to facilitate mobility, job hunting and recruitment within Europe. Several TMS projects are currently being implemented in Germany. Information on the various projects can be found on the EURES website.
Which requirements do I have to meet if I would like to participate in one of the German TMS projects?
- You are at least 18 years old and have not yet reached retirement age
- You have European citizenship and a residence in any of the 27 EU countries, Norway or Iceland and would like to work in Germany
- You are looking for a job, an internship or vocational training subject to social insurance and there are offers which match your qualifications as well as your desired field of training
- The job which you are applying for or in which you wish to start working is not limited to a period of less than six months, covers at least 50% of a normal working week and complies with the legal and collective agreement regulations.
How do the German projects work?
At first, you should seek advice from a consultant. The advisors of the Federal Employment Agency (BA) will inform and support you in the following matters:
- Labour market and working conditions in Germany
- How to search for jobs, vocational training places or internships
- How to write a CV/resumé
- How to prepare for job interviews
The EURES consultation provided by the BA will help you in getting a better overview and is the basic and mandatory initial step before you submit your application. It will provide you with support tailored to your personal situation.
Possible support modules:
- Travel expenses: One-time financial support for travelling to a job interview.
- Relocation expenses: Financial support related to you moving abroad, following a successful referral and before taking up employment.
- Recognition expenses: Incurring costs within the scope of the recognition process of your professional qualifications (e.g. translation costs) can be covered.
- Language course in country of origin: Under certain circumstances, you can receive financial support for a preparatory German course held in your country of origin.
- Language course in Germany: Under certain circumstances, receiving financial support for a language course in Germany in parallel with your employment is an option
- Integration programme: Your future employer may request that you take part in an integration programme to ensure your integration in Germany.
Right to equal treatment
If you work in Germany and feel that you are being discriminated against at work, we recommend contacting the EU Equal Treatment Office. Its duty is to ensure equal treatment of EU workers and dependent members of their household. If necessary, you can be provided with information in several languages about the right to freedom of movement for workers.
In the "Working in Germany" section you can find out more about finding vacancies, job applications, employment contracts, etc.