Work permits for Non-EU nationals

In order to work in Germany, you will need a residence permit before you enter Germany. Visa types available fall into two categories - general employment and self-employed.

  • If you are a citizen of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway you are entitled to the same freedom of movement as EU nationals. Swiss nationals are only entitled to the freedom of movbement as defined by the EU-Swiss Agreement on Freedom of Movement (Official Journal L 114 , 30/04/2002 P. 0006 – 0072).
  • Until the end of the transition phase British citizens will be treated as Union citizens enjoying freedom of movement. British citizens having taken up residence in Germany before the end of the transition phase will be granted residence and employment privileges subject to the conditions to the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

  • If you are a citizen of Australia, Canada, Israel, Korea (Republic), Japan, New Zealand or the United States of America, you may apply for your residence and work permit with the local immigration office (“Ausländerbehörde”) 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.

New procedures for national visas for the purpose of employment in Germany:

All visa applications for employment where the Federal Employment Agency (“Bundesanstalt für Arbeit”)

  • has issued a letter confirming pre-approval (“Vorabzustimmung”) for employment of a named individual with a named company,
  • has issued a letter confirming agreement (“Einvernehmen”) with a named student undertaking an internship with a named company,
  • has issued a letter confirming that the employment of a named individual with a named company does not require their approval (“zustimmungsfrei”)

will now only be accepted by our external service provider, Visametric. This streamlined procedure will ensure that most visas can be issued with ten days. An appointment in order to submit the application can be booked through Visametric’s website.

Visa applications for family members accompanying the named individual will also be accepted by Visametric.

All other types of visas require an application with the Embassy directly. Appointments may be made through our booking system. However, please do not arrange for an appointment at the Embassy if you already hold a letter as indicated above. We will not be able to process your application and you will have to rebook your appointment with Visametric.

Applications should be submitted well in advance. For some categories of employment and depending on the complexity of the individual application processing may require 4 to 12 weeks. Applications for Blue Cards are usually processed within 2 weeks. (6-12 weeks for self-employment). Visas may only be issued three months prior to the intended date of arrival.

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 two 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:

  • original 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


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.

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