Work permits for European Union nationals

Visa/Work Permit

If you are a European Union citizen and wish to do paid or self-employed work in Germany, you do not need a visa nor a work permit in accordance with European Union Regulations.

Spouse/ Children

You may be accompanied by your spouse and children under 21 years of age. For other Non-EU family members to accompany you, please apply for a family reunion visa if eligible.

Current Passport

You will need a current passport (“European Community”) in order to register in Germany.

Registration of Residence

In Germany by law you must register with the local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) usually located in the town hall. Please contact them within a week after finding permanent accommodation, i.e. not hotel accommodation. Each subsequent change of address must also be indicated with the above mentioned authority. This rule applies to everyone including German nationals. In order to register you need to present your valid passport, a photo copy of the lease or rental agreement and a completed registration form usually available at the registry office.

Application/Request for a residence card EU, i.e. certificate of right of residence

Depending on the local law of the “Länder” the application will be processed either by the Einwohnermeldeamt (Residence Registration Office) or the Ausländerbehörde (Foreign Nationals Authority) to be found in the town/city of residence taken. People working in Germany but residing outside the country (“frontier workers”) must contact the local authority in the town/city of employment please.

The local town hall will be able to assist. Failure to comply may result in a fine.

This residence card EU is solely declaratory and not constitutive. As a UK / EU citizen you already have the right of residence by EU law. Nonetheless you are obliged to apply for this certificate within the first three months.

When applying for a residence card EU you must provide the following:

  • valid Identity Card or passport
  • 2 passport photos
  • depending on the Laender, you may be asked for a medical certificate in Addition.

According to your occupational status while staying in Germany e.g. employee, job-seeker, self-employed, student, pensioner, you may also be required to provide one or more of the following documents:

  • Employees must provide proof of employment or job offer
  • Applicants setting as self-employed must provide evidence of status, such as membership of a professional or trade body, VAT number or company/trade registration
  • Students must provide proof of registration at university
  • Service providers must submit supporting evidence
  • Frontier workers (i.e. working in Germany but residing in another EU Member State returning there at least once a week) must provide proof of residence along with employment confirmation
  • Non-working residents have to prove sufficient health insurance coverage and evidence of financial means.

The application for a residence card EU will usually be processed within a couple of weeks and is free of charge. During processing you will be covered by a temporary certificate. The certificate may be restricted according to your employment contract but can be extended at a later point in time. The residence card EU is only valid in conjunction with your national identity document.

If you initially obtained a residence status as an employee, you may still change your status within its validity, i.e. if you wishto set up as self-employed.

The Einwohnermeldeamt and Ausländerbehörde are generally to be found in the local town hall and will be listed in the local telephone directory as Stadtverwaltung (local municipal authority). For further general information on immigration and registration please contact:

Bundesverwaltungsamt (Federal Administration Office)
50728 Köln
Tel.: 0049-18 88-83 58 0
Fax: 0049-18 88-83 58 28 23

Help in finding employment

If you need help in finding suitable employment, you can call your nearest UK Department of Employment, which has contacts with German employment offices.

Write in German to:

Zentralstelle für Arbeitsvermittlung (ZfA)
Villemombler Strasse 76
53123 Bonn

Look for work in Germany yourself (you can stay for three months).

On arrival, call the nearest Employment Office (Arbeitsamt) which will provide the same facilities as for German citizens.

You may lose your right to a residence permit if you have not commenced work within a reasonable period of time.

Do you speak German?

To find work in Germany, it is essential to be able to speak German. If you write to the ZfA (see above), write in German and indicate your proficiency in German.


If you would like to work on a self-employed basis in Germany, you can contact the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce for further advice and information:

German Chamber of Industry and Commerce
Legal Department
16 Buckingham Gate
Tel.: 020 7976 4100

Top of page