Visa for Jobseekers
Can I come to Germany and search for a job?
Many companies in Germany are looking for skilled workers. With a sought-after professional qualification, you can come to Germany to work and live here. But finding a job from abroad is often a challenge. That is why according to section 20 of the Residence Act, you can obtain a visa or a residence permit for job hunting in Germany. This way, you can enter Germany legally and then look for a suitable job on site.
What do I need to know?
You can apply for a residence permit if you are a "skilled worker" who wants to find a qualified job in Germany. Skilled workers are professionals with a qualified vocational training or an academic degree recognised in Germany. The term "qualified job "refers to the occupations for which one requires qualified vocational training or a university degree. Check out our chapters „Dual Vocational Training“ and „School-based Vocational Training” for more information.
If you need a visa to enter Germany, you must first apply at the German embassy/consulate in your home country or a neighbouring country.
Please note that it can take several months to process your visa application.
If you do not require an entry visa to come to Germany, report to the local Immigration Office at your new place of residence after entering Germany and apply for a visa for job hunting. Whether you need a visa depends on your country of origin. On auswaertiges-amt.de, you will find a list of countries whose citizens need a visa to enter Germany.
In our chapter "National Visa", you will find a list of all documents that third-country nationals need to obtain a national visa.
For a visa for job hunting, you will also need the following documents:
- Evidence of accomplishing a qualified vocational training programme or an academic degree recognised in Germany
- Proof of sufficient German language skills for the job you seek. The required level depends on the type of job you are trying to find.
- Proof that you can secure a livelihood while you are looking for a job. In case you cannot present such proof, a third person can submit a so-called “Declaration of Commitment” for you. You can learn more about this document in our chapter “Declaration of Commitment for a National Visa”.
After entering the country, you must report to the local Immigration Office at your new place of residence within three months and apply for a residence permit there. To do so, you must submit the documents mentioned above and, in principle, a police registration document and a rental agreement. The authorities will check your papers and then decide whether you can get a residence permit.
You can stay in Germany for six months. While job hunting, you can work for potential employers for a maximum of 10 hours per week on a trial basis. Once you have found a suitable job, you must apply for a residence permit for employment. It is after obtaining this residence permit that you are allowed to start working in Germany. You can learn more in our chapter „Visa for Skilled Workers”.
If you do not manage to find a job within six months, you will have to leave the country. You can, however, apply for a new visa for job hunting at the German embassy to try again after a six-month interval.
You can learn more about employment in Germany in our chapter “Job Hunting & Application”.