Welcome

Work permits for Non-EU nationals

In order to work in Germany, you will need a residence permit before you enter Germany (you can download the application form on the bottom right). There are two categories for work permits - general employment and self-employed.

  • If you are a citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway you have the same freedom of movement as EU nationals.
  • If you are a citizen of Australia, Canada, Israel, Korea (Republic), Japan, New Zealand or the United States of America, you can apply for your residence and work permit after arriving in Germany.

Please note that unless the work permit has been issued you will not be able to work yet. If you want to start working immediately when arriving in Germany, you should apply from the country of your current residence.

Please book an appointment for “residence permit” online with the relevant German mission directly. Please apply well in advance but no more than 3 months prior to departure.

Processing time is approximately 4-6 weeks and may take up to 12 weeks (6-12 weeks for self-employment).

You will be informed automatically when the residence permit has been authorised. After your arrival in Germany having found a place to stay you must register with the local registry office (Einwohnermeldeamt) first and then with the Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde) in order to get your permit status approved.

The visa must be collected in person since it can be issued in the UK only. It cannot be forwarded to Germany and it cannot be issued in Germany after arrival. Below you will find the requirements for the three different residence permit categories.

General employment

Acceptance for foreign nationals in general employment is based on the economic needs of the Federal Republic of Germany. Basic conditions are:

  • vocational qualification (apprenticeship, degree etc certificates),
  • a detailed offer of employment (contract).

You will need the following documentation:

  • completed application form for a residence permit in duplicate,
  • two passport size colour photos,
  • original passport plus 2 photocopies,
  • two photocopies of your vocational qualification,
  • letter of intent or contract offered to you by a company in Germany including a detailed description of the position offered (2 copies),
  • proof of employment or student status in the UK

Self-employed

To work on a self-employed basis your proposed business must:

  • suggest a beneficial economical impact,
  • satisfy the needs of the Federal Republic of Germany or specific regional or local needs,
  • be fully covered by your own capital or bank loan providing proof/confirmation in writing.

These requirements will be met, if your investment amounts to €1 million or more and generates at least 10 new jobs.

To ensure sustainability of your business project the following criteria will also be taken into consideration:

  • viability of business plan,
  • relevant business experience,
  • amount to be invested in Germany,
  • impact of business proposal on German labour market and economy,
  • anticipated contribution to innovation and research in Germany.

You will need the following documentation:

  • completed application form for a residence permit in duplicate,
  • two passport size colour photos,
  • original passport plus 2 photocopies,
  • detailed business plan including your written anticipation of meeting the a.m. criteria,
  • proof of financial investment.

If you are over 45 years of age you must also provide evidence of an existing pension plan. A residence permit on the grounds of self-employment is valid for a maximum of three years. It may be extended indefinitely if your project is successful.