British citizens may apply to the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) for their residence permits after arrival in Germany and without having obtained a visa prior to travelling to Germany. Please note that you need to register your new residence (Anmeldung) with the authorities (Meldebehörde) within 2 weeks of having moved in and apply to the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) for your residence permit within the first 90 days of your stay in Germany. This privilege is also extended to citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Korea (Republic) and the United States of America. We strongly recommend contacting the local immigration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany in order to secure a timely appointment.
Please note that you may only take up employment once you have been issued a residence permit explicitly authorising such employment. You may also choose to apply for a visa prior to travel, effectively permitting employment from the first day of visa validity.
All other nationalities require a visa prior to travel to Germany.
British citizens enjoy preferred access to the German labour market and may be seconded to Germany without the formalities of an ICT card. This also applies to citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Korea (Republic) and the United States of America.
All other nationals may apply for an ICT card. Under the European Union ICT scheme, businesses or undertakings established outside the EU may second managers, specialists and trainees to subsidiaries/ branches within the EU. The ICT Card is a non-permanent residence permit. In Germany, the maximum stay is limited to three years (managers and specialists) or one year in the case of trainees. The ICT Card also facilitates intra-corporate transfers and mobility within Europe.
Your employer can facilitate visa processing by applying for pre-approval from the Federal Employment Agency (information for your employer is available here - in German).
Under German law, all residents must have sufficient health insurance cover. Please read our additional information on health insurance requirements.
How to apply for your visa:
1. Complete the VIDEX online application form, print one copy of the form including the barcode page (page 7) and sign the form on pages 5 and 6. Separate application forms are required for each applicant; all children also require separate forms.
2. Compile your supporting documentation to bring to your appointment:
- Printout of the online application form including barcodes (as under #1)
Valid passport signed by the holder, issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least six months. The passport needs to have at least 2 consecutive blank pages (i.e. a blank double spread).
Plus 1 photocopy of the passport biodata page.
Current UK residence permit (BRP)/ visa (non-British applicants only).
Plus 1 photocopy of the permit/ visa
- 2 fully biometric passport photos, size 35 x 45 mm. Consult our FAQs for detailed requirements.
- Employer’s declaration (“Erklärung zum Beschäftigungsverhältnis”)
(download form here and Annex B (Zusatzblatt B) (download form here) to be completed by your employer
- For ICT cards: copies of relevant academic or vocational qualifications
- Confirmation of health insurance cover equivalent to the level of statutory German public health insurance (gesetzliche Kankenversicherung).
Professional curriculum vitae
- Prepaid, self-addressed Royal Mail Special Delivery return envelope (up to 500g) in order to return your passport after processing (not applicable for applications submitted to a Visa Application Centre run by our external service provider, TLScontact).
- Visa fees apply
Processing time: For some visa categories, we will require approval from other German government agencies, such as the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) or the local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde). If you have previously lived in Germany this will add to processing times, as the immigration office may need to look into your previous immigration record. Once a decision has been made on your application, we will contact you.
In this visa category, most applications are typically processed within 4 weeks. This also applies to accompanying family members.
Although we will provide you with a file number, please understand that we cannot respond to questions regarding the status of your visa application. Should we have any questions or should we require additional documentation to process your application, we will contact you.
3. Book an appointment to apply for your visa.
Where to book your appointment/ apply for your visa:
Should you hold a confirmation of pre-approval (Vorabzustimmung) by the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) naming both you and your prospective employer you need to apply for your visa with a Visa Application Centre run by our external service provider, TLScontact. Visa applications for family members accompanying you will also be accepted by TLScontact.
TLScontact operates from London and Manchester (serving the German Embassy in London) as well as Edinburgh (serving the German Consulate General in Edinburgh) with two distinct jurisdictions and your place of residence determines which Visa Application Centre you will need to contact to apply for your visa. Please refer to our consular district map for additional details.
If you do not hold any confirmation by the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) please apply directly with the German Mission having jurisdiction for your place of residence.
Accompanying spouses of ICT Card holders are usually exempt from the requirement regarding basic German language proficiency.
If your application is successful, you will be issued a limited-validity entry visa - similar to a UK entry clearance. Once you have arrived in Germany please register your new residence with the local authorities (Meldebehörde) within 2 weeks of having moved in and apply to your local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde) for your Electronic Residence Permit. We strongly recommend contacting the local immigration office as soon as possible after your arrival in Germany in order to secure a timely appointment.
Further information on living and working in Germany is available here.