As with most information regarding the bureaucracy in Germany, this information can only be used as a guide for obtaining a work permit.
Always double check!
What is required to get a German work permit?
You’re not truly living in Germany until the paperwork is done. Germans are punctual, ignore the paperwork at your own peril!
Here’s an overview on exactly what you’ll need.
Everyone who stays in Germany for longer than three months must have a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis).
There are two types of permit. You can apply for one of them at your local Auslaenderbehoerde.
The rules for what you need to get a residence permit vary somewhat from place to place and according to your status.
You’ll need a valid passport, proof that you have a place to live and proof that you can support yourself. Other things you may need include proof that you have a critical skill, proof that you are married, proof that you have independent means or a pension, and proof of health insurance.
One person can handle the work on a residence permit for an entire family. Once the permit has been approved an appropriate stamp is placed in the individual’s passport.
If you decide that you are going to stay in Germany for a longer period you must have a registration certificate (Meldeschein).
You get it at the Registry Office (Einwohnermeldeamt) that is responsible for your community or your city neighborhood.
It’s often located at a precinct police station. Registering is a simple matter of going there and filling out a form. They may want to see your passport and lease, so have them with you. There is no charge for this registration.
Every time you change your residence within Germany, whether you move next door or across the country, you must report this to the registry offices at both the old and new place of residence. This isn’t an action directed at foreigners. Germans, too, must keep the police posted when they move.
The two types of residence permit are limited and unlimited. People with limited permits must leave the country after a certain period, though they can apply for an extension.
Which of these permits you get, and indeed whether you get a permit at all, depends on your circumstances. If you come from a member state of the European Union you can have an unlimited permit to stay in Germany.
You might want to join a family member who is already in Germany. Or you might want to study in Germany. Or perhaps you qualify for asylum. If you qualify for one of the above you usually get a permit unless there is a good reason not to grant it, such as a criminal record or no visible means of support.
Work in Germany
If you want to work in Germany things get more complicated. Again, people from EU countries have the same status as Germans when it comes to working, however there is a transition period for countries who recently joined the EU: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
If you are from a non-EU country, a category that includes the USA and Canada, you will need a work permit (Arbeitserlaubnis), and it might be difficult to get. Unemployment is high in Germany and they don’t want outsiders competing for those scarce jobs.
If you have a critical skill your chances of getting a work permit are greatly enhanced. You may very well get a work permit and a well paying job. Germany’s immigration laws are geared to making a move to the country attractive to the highly qualified.
Even if they don’t have critical skills there are certain cases under which a non-EU citizen is allowed to seek work. Family members of persons with critical skills can also seek work even if they don’t share those critical skills. This is a measure aimed at attracting those sought after employees.
The issuing of work permits to non-Germans is now handled by the Auslaenderbehoerde, the same office that issued your residence permit. To get the work permit you will need a Meldebescheinigung, an Auftenthaltserlaubnis and a certificate from an employer saying they are willing to take you on.
If a work permit can be issued it will be for the duration of the residence permit and must be renewed when it expires. Work permits are for a particular job only, not employment in general. If you change jobs, you’ll need to apply for a new work permit.
How to apply for permanent residence
As of the 1 January 2005 introduction of the new German Immigration Act, foreigners need only obtain a German residence permit, which gives them the right to work, rather than separate residence and work permits. Citizens of the US, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland may apply for their residence and work permit while remaining in Germany as visitors.
Citizens of these countries, however, are not allowed to work in Germany until after their work and residence permit application is
Citizens of most other countries are required to apply for and obtain a residence and work permit prior to entering Germany at their German consulate.
The procedure is as follows:
Phase 1: The residence permit application (which also provides access to the labour market) for the candidate is received by the German embassy in the country where the candidate lives.
Phase 2: The Embassy passes the application to the immigration office (the Auslaenderbehoerde) in the place where the job is to take place for initial approval. The immigration office, in cooperation with the local employment office (the Arbeitsamt) that issues the permission, makes its decision.
Phase 3: If the candidate’s application has been approved, the Embassy provides an entry visa to the candidate.
Phase 4: On arriving in Germany, the foreign national and any accompanying family members must apply for their work and residence permits at the local foreigners authority.
For an EU or EEA citizen, getting a work permit is a relatively easy procedure, in keeping with the process of creating a borderless Europe. You first have to arrange a residence permit and apply for an income tax card (‘Lohnsteuerkarte’) if you are going to be employed by a company on a contract.
For those planning to work freelance, all you need is a tax number, which you can get from your local tax office (‘Finanzamt’).
But a non-EU citizen must clear more hurdles. Having gone through the same steps as EU and EEA citizens, he or she must then apply for a work permit (‘Arbeitserlaubnis’) at the labour office (‘Arbeitsamt’) in the area where his or her prospective employer is based. It is also possible to obtain work permits at some German diplomatic missions in other nations.
Germany Working Holiday Visa Information Citizens of full European (EFTA, EEA) Member Countries are able to live and work in Germany without a visa or work permit.
Germany has working holiday agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan. Under the working holiday programme visa holders will be able to stay in Germany for up to 12 months. Holiday jobs can be taken up to help finance their stay.
To be eligible applicants must:
* Be 18 and 30 years
* Not accompanied by children
* Posses A Valid Passport
* Have Proof of sufficient fund
* Posses return air tickets or equivalent funds
* Show proof of health insurance valid in Germany for the duration of the stay.
Canadian applicants must also:
* Be enrolled at a post-secondary institution
* Have a written job offer from an employer in Germany before leaving Canada.
* Be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of German.
If you intend to visit Germany, on holiday, a business trip, to study, work, volunteer or as an emigrant you should get up to date and accurate information from the official website of the German Foreign Office.