Germany Post Study Work Visa: A Complete Guide

Germany, the largest economy of Europe and an affluent country best known for its innovations in the engineering and automobile industries, undoubtedly a much sought-after destination to settle down post studies. It is at the forefront of the global economy and boasts of offering immensely high standards of living for its residents. Settling in Germany is a dream for many across the world and its great job market with job opportunities galore, breath-taking natural beauty, stunning architecture and a rich culture put the country on top of the lists for those seeking to migrate abroad. It has an unrivalled reputation of being the world’s leader in exporting machinery, auto-mobile components, and engineering equipment. The giants like BMW, Volkswagen, Bosch, and Siemens all find their home in this great country. Besides these sectors, Germany also exports a substantial volume of pharmaceuticals and food to the world. So it’s only natural that students very often aspire to settle and find work in Germany after they graduate. The country welcomes immigrants through various government structured programs each year and has brilliant scope for finding the job of your dreams after completion of the studies in the country.

Here we will discuss all areas involved in attaining a Germany post study work visa.

Types of post-study visas: There are two major categories of visas that the German government grants to immigrants. They further branch out into several sub-categories which are specific to the purpose of your stay and the nature of your employment. Let us take a look at all the types of post-study visas in Germany that apply to professionals seeking work. 

Temporary/Limited Residence Permit

Temporary Residence Permit (while seeking a job): If you graduate from a German university, you enjoy a better status of acquiring a work visa compared to citizens of other non-EU nations.

Once you finish your academic program your student visa will expire, and you will have 18 months to obtain a work visa to remain in the country. It is important that you apply for this permit while you are still at university else you will be forced to return to your country. You are allowed to work any part-time or full-time job you wish to do without any added formalities and use this time to look for a desirable position in the field of your choice. 

Here are the conditions you must fulfill to qualify for this visa:

  • Proof of completion of academic course (transcript/university degree).
  • Proof that you hold an active health insurance policy.
  • Proof of funds to support your cost of living while you look for a job.

Job seeker visa:

This is for all those who have returned to their countries once they have finished their graduation and wish to go back to Germany to check out different avenues of work suitable for them. This visa is granted for a short period of time up to six months during which time, you can explore different possibilities, schedule informative interviews, and gain general insight about your area of work. However, it is important you note that this is a temporary visa, and you must apply for a permanent one the moment you have a notification of employment. 

Below we have listed the requirements for qualifying for this visa:

  • Academic qualification from an established institution.
  • Resolve all financial issues such as a blocked bank account and secure a declaration of commitment. 
  • Certificate proving your competency in the German language, the minimum requirement being Level B1.
  • You are required to apply for this visa while you are in your own country.

Temporary Residence Permit (after you have got a job):

Once you receive an appointment letter from your employer you will immediately be required to apply for this visa. There are two kinds of this permit. 

German Residence Permit – This allows foreign nationals who have secured a job in Germany to stay and work in the country for the time period stipulated in the contract of employment. You may renew this permit as many times as you want and as long as you maintain your employment status. This is beneficial to all those who wish to stay-on in Germany for a long period of time.

EU Blue Card – This is more advantageous to those who wish to work in other EU countries as well as it allows you to stay and work in Germany and the 25 other nations which are a member of the EU. This Permit favors those who have technical skills and have qualifications in the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) field. 

You will have to prepare the following documents in order to get this permit:

  • Your university degree or an equivalent document. 
  • Valid health Insurance documents
  • German work contract stating that your pay can cover your cost of living in Germany. 
  • EU card holders are required to have a minimum gross annual salary of € 43,056 to 55,200.

Temporary Residence Permit (self-employment)

Once you graduate from a university in Germany you may even consider working as a freelance professional or set up your own independent business. Most commonly you can find freelance work as an independent professional and there are regulated professions such as medicine where you need specific qualification and certification to practice your skill. 

Set up your business – You will need a residence permit if you wish to set up your own business or practice self-employed commercial activity. 

Work as a freelancer or an independent professional – You must apply for a residence permit allowing you to practice self-employed activities and will be required to usually submit your CV, the final examination transcript, and a detailed description of your plans when you are a freelancer. 

Here are the following requirements you must fulfill in order to qualify for this permit: 

  • Provide proof of relevant experience in business and present a business proposal. 
  • Prove that you can fund your project or have a valid bank loan. 

Once your business takes off and you are able to show profits in the business, you may get your permit extended for living in Germany for a longer period of time. Initially this permit is granted for up to three years and post that you can apply for a settlement permit allowing you to settle in the country for an unlimited period of time. 

Permanent Residence Permit:

If you are a foreign national wishing to settle indefinitely in Germany, you will be required to apply for a Permanent Residence Permit. Once you are in possession of this permit you are allowed to live and work in the country along with your spouse and family without any restrictions on the subject. You will progress from holding a Temporary Residence Permit to earning a Permanent permit.  

You will have to take care of the following requirements to be considered for this permit:

  • You have been in possession of the temporary residence permit for the purpose of employment for at least two years.
  • You hold a job that corresponds with your academic qualification and suits your skill set. 
  • The statutory pension insurance fund has been paid by you for 24 months.
  • You know the German language well and have completed the B1 Level of the German Language Proficiency exam.
  • You are well aware of the local laws and guidelines to be adhered by all residents of the country. 
  • You can provide living arrangements for yourself.

Who can apply? 

All foreign nationals who have a job appointment in the country and are wishing to seek a job or find professional opportunity in Germany can apply for the visa. However, there are a few countries whose citizens are exempted from getting a visa to work in Germany. These countries are all the members of the EU, USA, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the Republic of Korea. 

Here are some of the categories that are eligible to apply for a work visa in Germany:

  • Foreigners who are highly qualified as researchers and have in-depth technical know-how.
  • Teachers and Professors in distinct positions at recognized institutions.
  • Managers and specialists transferring from corporate background into a new position in Germany.

Application Process:

You can follow these step-by-step instructions to receive a German Visa post study for work:

  • Receive a job appointment letter from an employer in Germany.
  • Understand the type and category of visa you require according to the job you got.
  • Do your research on the official websites of the German immigration department and find out where you can submit your application. 
  • Arrange all the required documents and proofs noted in the instructions on the website.
  • Schedule an appointment with the immigration office/German Embassy
  • Make the fee payment for the German Employment Work visa
  • Appear for the interview and wait for a response.

Here is a list of places where you can apply for your German work visa:

  • German Embassy
  • German Consulate 
  • Visa Application Centre
  • German Embassy/consulate in a neighbouring country in case there isn’t one in your country.

Key points to keep in mind before applying:

  • Learn the local language – Being proficient in the local language will give you an upper hand in acquiring a German visa. It is most often a prerequisite for applying at junior positions. Knowing German will open up a huge window of opportunity in comparison to your peers who do not speak the language. However, you might be able to do without it if you are seeking work in the IT/tech industry or wish to work for globally-oriented start-ups. You must keep in mind that a Level B1 certificate for the German Language is almost always required for getting a residence visa.
  • Internships are assets – If you are a student studying at a German university and have decided to settle in the country after you graduate, it is highly advisable that you engage in as many internships as possible. This will not only introduce you to the way the German workplace works but also fetch you references and recommendations that will prove crucial in your plan to apply for a visa. Interning while studying will help you build a valuable network and accustom you to the local culture and way of life. 
  • Vital Documents to keep handy – You should have all your documents arranged and compiled to ensure that you do not go back and forth and lose valuable time.
  • Here are a few of them that are extremely important when planning a visa application: 
    • Two completed and printed application forms.
    • Two passport size current pictures of yourself.
    • Valid National passport. 
    • Proof of residence.
    • Contract of Employment. 
    • Proof of qualification 
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Qualification Proof
    • Cover Letter 
    • Document stating clean criminal record 
    • Receipt of visa fee payment. 

The visa application process in Germany is a relatively easier one in comparison to the other countries in Europe and if you have all your documents in place, you can expect to obtain a residence permit within one to three months. The country has a number of unique cities and locations and exploring the breath-taking landscapes will be a delight for anyone. Germans are a friendly group of people with an extremely strong sense of work ethics and equal curiosity for modern ways of living. Settling in this beautiful country will elevate your quality of life and the first step in that direction would be to pursue a higher degree from a German university. You can head to upGrad Abroad to read all about studying abroad in Germany and figure out your bright future starting today!

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