Updated June 2023
The prospect of living and working in Germany is one that is enticing to many. Conversely, Germany recognizes the importance and advantages of labor migration into the country in boosting its competitiveness and economic growth.
Keep reading to find out more about the Germany work visa, its eligibility, requirements, validity, application process, cost and more
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Germany work visa latest news
Germany is aiming to address its skilled labor shortage by introducing an innovative ‘opportunity card’. Known as the ‘chancenkarte‘, this initiative employs a points-based system to facilitate the entry of skilled workers into the country.
The strategy, proposed by Labour Minister Hubertus Heil, seeks to tackle Germany’s labor deficiencies and targets individuals who have yet to secure a work contract in the country. The points system takes various factors into consideration, including qualifications, professional experience, age, proficiency in the German language, and connections to Germany.
To cater to industry-specific labor demands, annual quotas will be established. Additionally, applicants must fulfill at least three out of the following four criteria:
- Possession of a degree or vocational training
- Three years of professional experience
- Language proficiency or previous residency in Germany
- 35 years old or younger
Presently, the majority of individuals from non-EU countries must secure a job offer in order to move to Germany. Although a visa designed for job seekers is already in place, the introduction of the ‘chancenkarte‘ is anticipated to enhance the accessibility and expediency of the job search process for individuals seeking employment opportunities within Germany.
Germany work visa
An EU Blue Card for Germany is a German work visa or work and residence permit that allows highly skilled individuals to work in professions where there is a shortage or opportunities for advancement. The holders can use their German EU Blue Card to live and work in Germany for four (4) years. Nevertheless, they can extend the validity, provided they meet all the requirements.
However, to get a German EU Blue Card, applicants need to apply for a German Employment Visa or a Job Seeker Visa from a German Embassy or Consulate. These long-stay visas cannot be used to work in Germany. They simply serve to show the Immigration Authorities that you have entered the country legally and with the intention of working.
Within three months of entering the country, applicants must mandatorily for the EU Blue Card at the German Immigration Office.
Please note that citizens of the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, Israel, South Korea, and New Zealand can apply for an EU Blue Card in Germany without the need to apply for a visa beforehand.
Germany work visa validity
The German EU Blue Card has a validity of four (4) years and holders can use it to live and work in Germany for four (4) years. Nevertheless, they can extend the validity, provided they meet all the requirements.
Please note that if the duration of the applicant’s employment contract is shorter than four years, the EU Blue Card is issued for the duration of the employment contract, plus three (3) months.
Germany work visa eligibility
Applicants who fulfil the following conditions will be eligible to apply for a German EU Blue Card:
- They have a German degree or a degree recognized by Germany.
- They already have a job offer from an employer in Germany.
- They have relevant work experience of at least five years.
- They meet the minimum salary threshold requirement of €56,400 per year and €43,992 per year for professions in shortage.
Please note that in case you find a job before entering Germany, you can immediately apply for the EU Blue Card while in your home country with the help of your employer.
Germany work visa requirements
The following are some of the documents required to apply for the German EU Blue Card:
- The passport of the applicant
- A recent biometric picture of the applicant. The applicants must make sure that the biometric picture meets the requirements set out by the Federal Printing Office.
- Since the EU Blue Card is a residence permit, the applicants must fill out the application for a residence permit (Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels)
- The employer of the applicant must fill out the Declaration on the Employment Relationship (Erklärung zum Beschäftigungsverhältnis)
- The applicant must submit their original employment contract or job offer.
- Proof of your residence in Germany
- The Certificate of Registration, or
- The lease and a written confirmation of residency from the applicant’s landlord.
- Original University or college diploma
- The Certificate of Evaluation (Zeugnisbewertung), if required.
- Occupation practice permit. If required.
- In case the applicant has statutory health insurance:
- The electronic health card
- The recent confirmation of health insurance
- In case the applicant has private health insurance:
- A certificate from the health insurance company, stating the details of the applicant’s insurance.
- Proof that the applicant has paid their contributions.
How to apply for a Germany work visa?
To apply for a Germany EU Blue Card, the following steps have to be followed:
Step 1: Find a job in Germany
Applicants will only be eligible to apply for a German Blue Card provided they have a qualifying job offer in Germany. The job offer must further meet the following requirements:
- must be for at least one year
- must have a salary meeting the threshold requirement (€56,400 per year and €43,992 per year for professions in shortage).
Once the applicant has a job, their employer must provide them with a work contract, stating their position, the duration of their employment, and their salary.
Please note that if you do not have a job, offer you can apply for a Job Seeker Visa to travel to Germany in search of work. Furthermore, you can also search for job vacancies for the EU Blue Card through EURES, the European Job Mobility Portal.
Step 2: Apply for an employment visa
To apply for an EU Blue Card to Germany, applicants must first obtain an Employment Visa. To apply for the Employment Visa, you must contact the nearest German Diplomatic Mission and make an appointment.
The authorities will let you know the documents you will be required to submit. Applicants might also have to go through a visa interview on the date of their appointment.
After receiving the Employment Visa, applicants can travel to Germany and start preparing for their Blue Card application at the Immigration Authorities.
Step 3: Get work authorization
In case the applicants have a job offer in one of the shortage occupations, including in the fields of mathematics, IT, natural sciences, engineering, or human medicine, and they will earn an annual salary of €43,992, they need to apply for an Approval from the German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit), after arriving in Germany.
However, if they need it for the visa application, their employer can do this on their behalf, before the applicant’s arrival.
Please note that in case you have an annual salary of €56,400 in non-shortage occupations you do not need work authorization.
Step 4: Make sure to register the living address in Germany
Within 14 days of moving to Germany applicants must register their living address. The registration will take place at a local Resident’s Registration Office (Bürgeramt), by following the process given below:
- find the local Resident’s Registration Office (Bürgeramt) and make an appointment.
- gather the following documents:
- your passport.
- the rental agreement and a confirmation of moving in from your landlord.
- registration form. You can get this at the office or download it, if available.
- submit them at the Bürgeramt on the date of your appointment.
- wait for your Residence Registration Document (Meldebescheinigung). You will usually receive this within the same day.
Step 5: Get health insurance
Before getting the EU Blue Card, applicants need to be registered with a German health insurance provider. This can be either public (statutory) or private health insurance. However, travel insurance or a health insurance plan applicants have from their country of origin will not be accepted.
Please note that in some cases statutory insurers may not agree to enrol you before you officially get the EU Blue Card, proving you are legally a resident of Germany. In these cases, you will have to register with a private insurer first and then switch to public.
Step 6: Collect the documents required & apply for the German EU Blue Card
Applicants will be required to collect all the documents mentioned above to apply for the German EU Blue Card.
Once you have the relevant documents, you can then apply for the EU Blue Card at the local German Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde), by following the steps given below
- make an appointment at Ausländerbehörde. There is a different one in each German state.
- complete your application file, including your documents, application forms, and any required fees.
- on the date of your appointment, submit everything at the Ausländerbehörde.
- wait for your application to be processed. Please note that you cannot start working until you receive your German EU Blue Card.
Germany work visa processing time
The local German Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde) usually take around 5 to 6 weeks to process the German EU Blue Card application.
However, since applicants also need to register their addresses, get work authorization, and register for health insurance, the overall application process will take a much longer period of time to be completed.
Germany work visa cost
The price for the German EU Blue Card are as follows:
- first-time issuance – €100
- extension up to three months – €96
- extension for more than three months – €93
- for Turkish citizens – €28.80
Please note that an additional fee for the Employment Visa, the qualification evaluation, and other administrative matters might be required.