Germany Visas and Work Permit 

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Germany Visas and Work Permits Guide

As the world’s fourth largest economy and a base for countless corporations and multinationals, Germany is an attractive option for expansion by foreign companies and internationally minded entrepreneurs and workers.

German visa and work permit regulations are complicated and require expert guidance as they vary for nationals from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and countries outside these zones.

Companies expanding into a fresh international market such as Germany find work permits and visas a major issue. Organizing these, along with moving staff across the world, or recruiting within the new territory, would require an in-house specialist department. And every new country presents new demands.

Few companies have these resources or the time. Bradford Jacobs, as a global payroll provider through our Employer of Record (EOR) services and a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), have the resources and the time. We are experts in hiring staff, applying for work visas and permits in Germany and ensuring employees meet German work and business visa requirements with the correct documentation.

What Types of Work Permits are there in Germany?

Eligibility to work in Germany requires a work/residence permit and a work visa, excluding EU and EEA (Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland plus Switzerland) citizens. However they are required to register at their local residents’ registration office with a passport or valid ID.

Citizens of the following countries can apply for residence permits for work purposes after entering Germany without a visa.

  • United States of America
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • the Republic of Korea

Residents of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand or the USA, need neither a work visa nor job offer prior to entering Germany, but must apply for a residence permit at the Foreigners’ Office on arrival. Residents of other countries must apply for a work visa to enter Germany and commence work. They must also apply for a residence permit for work purposes upon arrival.

Those needing a work visa to enter Germany should already have a job offer or contract in order to be issued a work visa. They should apply with a German visa application form, a copy of their employment contract and a compulsory health insurance certificate (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) from their German employer valid from date of employment.

Business visa: This is a short-stay Schengen visa, permitting its holder to enter and remain in Germany up to 90 days within a six-month period unless specified differently on the visa. It is issued for business trips, attending meetings etc. This does allow the applicant to take up employment.

NB: Until the end of the transition phase British citizens were treated as EU citizens enjoying freedom of movement. British citizens residing in Germany before the end of the transition phase will be granted residence and employment privileges subject to Brexit withdrawal agreement conditions.

Work permits for non-EU nationals: Non-EU and EEA nationals need a residence title to work in Germany and approval from the Federal Employment Agency (BA). Approval can be granted from the German embassy/consulate in their home country or the local immigration authorities in Germany. After approval, they will get a temporary residence permit for employment purposes.

Main types of work/residence permits.

  1. Temporary residence permit for employment purposes
  2. The EU Blue Card
  3. Permanent residence permit

Temporary residence permit for employment purposes: Having work in Germany entitles employees to a temporary residence permit for employment purposes. They will not be allowed to start work without first obtaining this document after receiving employment approval from the Federal Employment Agency (BA). The duration of the residence permit is determined by the employment contract, e.g. a two-year contract has a two-year residence permit. Permits can be extended for as long as the employment status does not change.

The EU Blue Card: The EU Blue Card is similar to the temporary residence permit but is available only for a specific group of people such as highly skilled foreign nationals from non-EU countries. EU Blue Card requirements include having a higher education qualification such as a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree. Individuals must have a minimum yearly income of €55,200, or €43,056 if working in an occupation with labour shortages, such as mathematics, natural sciences, informatics, technology or medicine. This card is valid for four years and can lead to permanent residence after 33 months if the employees maintain their jobs.

Permanent residence permit: The permanent residence permit, also known as the ‘settlement permit’, allows holders to stay indefinitely. However, applicants must prove they have worked for at least five years in a job approved by the Federal Employment Agency (BA) and speak and understand advanced-level German.

https://www.germany-visa.org/immigration-residence-permit/working-germany-getting-german-work-permit/

ICT-Card: The ICT Card (Intra-Corporate Transfer) is a temporary residence permit for managers, specialists or trainees employed in companies based outside the EU, so that these employees can be transferred to subsidiaries within the EU. This transfer may only last up to three years, for trainees only one year.

Single permit directive covering work and residence permit: A single permit authorizes non-EU nationals to work and reside in EU countries through a single application procedure to a single authority.

Single permit applies for two categories of foreign nationals:

  • Non-EU nationals intending to enter Germany for work and residence
  • Non-EU nationals, already residing in Germany with access to German jobs

Single permit covers:

  • Single application procedure for working and residing in Germany
  • Rights for non-EU workers, equal to German citizens

https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/germany-visa/employment-visa/

https://www.germany-visa.org/work-employment-visa/

Bradford Jacobs will make sure your employees are onboarded with the correct visa and permits to avoid complications and delays that could prove costly and waste time for your expansion plans.

What are the Requirements to obtain a German Work Visa?

EU/EEA nationals do not require a work visa to enter Germany. With some exceptions, all non-EU/EEA nationals needing a work visa should already have a job offer/contract. They should apply for a German work visa at the relevant German authority in their country of residence.

Highly qualified foreigners, in particular:

  • Researchers with special technical knowledge
  • Teaching or scientific personnel in prominent positions

Intra-corporate transferees, in particular:

  • Managers
  • Specialists

Third-world nationals with a university degree or a non-academic vocational qualification when:

  • There is a shortage of skilled workers in the profession applicants are seeking employment
  • There is a concrete job offer
  • Have education equivalent to a German degree

In order to prove to the German embassy/consulate in their country of residence that they fulfil the conditions, documentation and a visa interview will be required. Necessary documents include:

  • Two fully completed application forms, printed and signed
  • Two passport photographs, with strict guidelines
  • Valid national passport
  • Proof of residence. A driver’s licence and/or utility bill with name as proof of residence in the territory of the embassy or consulate where application to be submitted
  • Health insurance. Compulsory certificate from German employer, valid from date of employment. If not already included in compulsory health insurance, a separate travel insurance must be presented for the time frame from arrival in Germany until beginning of employment
  • Employment contract/binding job offer detailing gross annual salary and description of employment in Germany
  • Approval by the Federal Employment Agency(If applicable)
  • Updated CV, detailing academic qualifications and job experience
  • Proof of qualifications – diplomas, certificates
  • Personal covering letter explaining exact purpose and duration of stay
  • Proof of a clean criminal record
  • Proof of paid visa fee of €75 for a long-stay German visa
  • Declaration of Accuracy of Information

They must also apply for a residence/work permit for work purposes on arrival in Germany.

The procedure to apply for work and residence permit has been simplified through a European Union directive. Becoming a work permit holder depends mainly on the country of origin and its special agreements with the hosting country, i.e. Germany. Check for details:

https://www.germany-visa.org/immigration-residence-permit/working-germany-getting-german-work-permit/

Bradford Jacobs will make sure your employees are onboarded with the correct visa and permits to avoid complications and delays that could prove costly and waste time for your expansion plans.

Applying for work visa work permit in Germany

Eligibility to work in Germany requires a work/residence permit and a work visa, excluding EU/EEA citizens. However EU/EEA citizens are required to register at their local residents’ registration office.

Application process for Non-EU Nationals needing a work visa:

  • Obtain a job offer in Germany
  • Check if a visa is needed for long-stays
  • Locate where application must be made
  • Collect all of the required documents according to the instructions
  • Make appointment for a visa interview
  • Pay the German employment work visa fee
  • Attend interview
  • Await response on application

https://www.germany-visa.org/application-process/

Applying for a work/residency permit: Non-European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) residents need a residence title to work in Germany and approval from the Federal Employment Agency (BA). This can be granted from the German embassy/consulate in their home country or local immigration authorities in Germany. After approval, they will obtain a temporary residence permit for employment purposes.

The framework for this process includes:

  • Enter Germany with the correct visa. It is not possible to apply for a residence permit under a tourist, business, medical or cultural visa
  • Register German address
  • Obtain health insurance in Germany for the whole period of the planned stay
  • Open a bank account, which is compulsory for a German residence permit application
  • Complete the correct application form, depending on type of residence, and schedule appointment at closest immigration centre and be prepared to pay fees

https://visaguide.world/europe/germany-visa/residence-permit/

Working Visa / Permit for Germany

Those needing a work visa to enter Germany should already have a job offer or contract. They should apply with a German visa application form, with a copy of their employment contract and certificate for compulsory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) from their German employer valid from date of employment.

To access the German labour market, they need approval from the Federal Employment Agency (BA). This can be granted from the German embassy/consulate in their home country or the local immigration authorities in Germany. After approval, they will get a temporary residence permit for employment purposes.

European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) nationals do not require work visa/permits to work in Germany, except in some circumstances. Non-EU nationals must have a work visa/permit in order to be legally entitled to work in the country.

Types of Work/Residence Permit:

  • Temporary Residence Permit for Employment Purposes
  • The EU Blue Card
  • Permanent Residence Permit

Temporary residence permit for employment purposes: Employees will not be allowed to start work without first obtaining this document after obtaining employment approval from the Federal Employment Agency (BA). The duration of the permit is the same as the employment contract. Permits can be extended as long as the employment status does not change.

The EU Blue Card: The EU Blue Card is available only for a specific group, such as highly-skilled foreign nationals from non-EU countries. Requirements include having a higher education qualification such as a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree with a minimum yearly income of €55,200, or €43,056 if the applicant will be working in an occupation with labour shortages. This card is valid for four years and can lead to permanent residence after 33 months if the employees maintain their jobs, or 21 months if they prove their German language proficiency.

Permanent residence permit: Also known as the settlement permit, this allows holders to stay indefinitely. However, applicants must prove they have worked for at least five years in a job approved by the Federal Employment Agency (BA) and speak and understand advanced-level German.

Single permit directive covering work and residence permit: Holding a single permit legally authorises non-EU nationals to work and reside in EU countries through a single application procedure to a single authority.

How much is a German Work Visa/Work Permit

The fee is €75 for non-EU or EEA nationals who need a German working visa to enter the country for employment, though lower fees may apply depending on country of residence.

German temporary residence/work permit

  • Valid for up to 1 year – €50
  • Valid for more than 1 year – €80
  • For up to 3 additional months – €15
  • Extension for more than 3 additional months – €30
  • Change of residence title, including extension – €40

EU Blue Card

  • The initial application – €100
  • Extension for up to 3 months – €96
  • Extension for more than 3 months – €93
  • Turkish nationals – up to €28

German permanent residence permit fee:

  • The costs depend on the situation, although most applicants will need to pay a fee of €135, there are others:
  • Self-employed persons – €200
  • Highly qualified people – €250

https://visaguide.world/europe/germany-visa/residence-permit/

Working Visa Permit for Germany

Those needing a work visa to enter Germany should already have a job offer or contract. They should apply with a German visa application form, with a copy of their employment contract and certificate for compulsory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) from their German employer valid from date of employment.

To access the German labour market, they need approval from the Federal Employment Agency (BA). This can be granted from the German embassy/consulate in their home country or the local immigration authorities in Germany. After approval, they will get a temporary residence permit for employment purposes.

European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) nationals do not require work visa/permits to work in Germany, except in some circumstances. Non-EU nationals must have a work visa/permit in order to be legally entitled to work in the country.

Types of Work/Residence Permit:

  • Temporary Residence Permit for Employment Purposes
  • The EU Blue Card
  • Permanent Residence Permit

Temporary residence permit for employment purposes: Employees will not be allowed to start work without first obtaining this document after obtaining employment approval from the Federal Employment Agency (BA). The duration of the permit is the same as the employment contract. Permits can be extended as long as the employment status does not change.

The EU Blue Card: The EU Blue Card is available only for a specific group, such as highly-skilled foreign nationals from non-EU countries. Requirements include having a higher education qualification such as a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree with a minimum yearly income of €55,200, or €43,056 if the applicant will be working in an occupation with labour shortages. This card is valid for four years and can lead to permanent residence after 33 months if the employees maintain their jobs, or 21 months if they prove their German language proficiency.

Permanent residence permit: Also known as the settlement permit, this allows holders to stay indefinitely. However, applicants must prove they have worked for at least five years in a job approved by the Federal Employment Agency (BA) and speak and understand advanced-level German.

Single permit directive covering work and residence permit: Holding a single permit legally authorises non-EU nationals to work and reside in EU countries through a single application procedure to a single authority.

Single permit applies for two categories of foreign nationals:

  • Non-EU nationals who intend to enter Germany for work and residence
  • Non-EU nationals, already residing in Germany with access to German jobs

Single permit covers:

  • Single application procedure for working and residing in Germany
  • Rights for non-EU workers, equal to German citizens

https://www.germany-visa.org/immigration-residence-permit/working-germany-getting-german-work-permit/

Business Visa Germany

A German business visa is a short-stay Schengen visa permitting its holder to enter and remain in Germany for up to 90 days within a six-month period for temporary work or business trips, but does not allow the applicant to take up employment.Corporates and companies that have branches, partners and collaborators in other countries including third-world countries, who often have to travel to Germany for business, to attend meetings etc. and are not from one of the 62 countries under the visa-waiver programme, must obtain a German business visa.The required documents for the application are:

  • Declaration of Accuracy of Information
  • Two identical photographs
  • Valid national passport
  • One copy of passport’s data page (A4 size)
  • Travel visa insurance
  • Flight itinerary
  • Proof of accommodation for entire stay
  • Proof of civil status
  • Proof of financial status
  • Company bank statements from the previous three months
  • Business references
  • Invitation letter from the business partner in Germany, in English or German
  • A detailed schedule of business meetings (for stays over 30 days)
  • Company covering letter with entire itinerary, position, duration of service, the dates and purpose of the trip and if expenses are being covered by the employer or not
  • Certificate of Incorporation of the company

Apply at the German embassy or consulate in home country.

There is a visa fee of €80, which each applicant must pay for their visa application to be processed.

https://www.germany-visa.org/passport-requirements/

German Visa for EU Citizens

Visas for Germany are not required by EU or EEA nationals, regardless of the purpose and/or length of stay, but they must hold a passport or national ID card valid for the duration. However, EU or EEA nationals who plan to live in Germany for an unlimited period must register with the local authorities after three months.

https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/einreiseundaufenthalt/visabestimmungen-node

German Visa for USA Citizens

USA citizens do not need a visa when travelling to Germany for up to 90 days within a 180-day period for tourism, transit or business trips, as well as the other 26 Schengen area member states. Those entering for business or tourism but staying longer than 90 days must apply for a residence permit which is called an “electronic residence title” (eAT). This permits US citizens that enter Germany without a visa to remain for a period set by the German immigration authorities.

https://www.germany-visa.org/us/

German Visa for Canadian Citizens

Canadians do not need a work visa or job offer to enter Germany. They must apply for a residence permit at the Foreigners’ Office on arrival in Germany. Stays of over 90 days will require applying for a visa in Canada. Non-Canadian citizens arriving from Canada, who wish to stay in Germany or transit through, may require a Schengen visa depending on their citizenship.

https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/germany-visa/employment-visa/

German Visa for Chinese Citizens

All Chinese nationals must have a valid visa to enter the Schengen Area, regardless of the duration of their stay and no matter what kind of travel document they have, except if they have a valid residence permit which enables them to stay in the Schengen Area. If Chinese citizens want to find employment, they need to apply for a work visa in order to enter Germany and commence work. They must also apply for a residence permit for work purposes upon arrival in Germany.

https://www.ivisa.com/germany-blog/germany-schengen-visa-for-the-citizens-of-china

Work with Bradford Jacobs’ EOR and PEO Services

Bradford Jacobs are a global authority on work migration requirements and are the vital link to solving complex visa, work permit and residency issues involved with recruiting into Germany. Companies that try to plot their own path through this hazardous area risk making mistakes that will be costly to your business plans and waste valuable time. German authorities apply the rules vigorously with significant penalties for non-compliance. Don’t take the risk. Contact Bradford Jacobs now – we have the answers.