Applying for a residence permit for employment purposes
You are a foreign citizen and would like to work in Germany? If so, you will need
- a residence permit for employment purposes. Before this, you must obtain
- a national visa for entry to Germany (in most cases).
Exception: Citizens of EU member states have access to the labour market on the basis of their right to freedom of movement. They may become employees or self-employed on the basis of their right of establishment or the principle of freedom of movement for workers. The same applies to citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) and of Switzerland. Transitional regulations relating to the freedom of movement for workers and freedom to provide services apply to citizens of Croatia. They must apply for a work permit from the competent employment agency before beginning work.
Residence permits for employment purposes are only issued for a limited period of time. You can apply to have your residence permit extended.
- for issuing a national visa before entering German territory: the German diplomatic mission abroad (embassy, consulate)
- after entering Germany: the authority for foreign nationals responsible for the district in which you will ordinarily be residing; depending on the area, this will be the city council (Stadtverwaltung) or the rural district office (Landratsamt).
Tip: The Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) provides a Verzeichnis der Vertretungen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland im Ausland (list of addresses of German diplomatic missions abroad) on its website.
The prerequisites for obtaining a residence permit are:
- You satisfy the passport and visa obligation.
You are deemed to satisfy the passport obligation if you present an alternative form of identification.
- You have sufficient income to subsist without drawing on state funds.
Your income is deemed sufficient if you earn
- an amount equivalent to the standard rate of social assistance plus
- enough to cover accommodation, heating and
- any health insurance contributions.
- There are no grounds for you being expelled from the country.
- Your stay does not endanger or influence the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.
- You satisfy the functional and personal requirements for work migration.
- You have a job or a firm job offer.
- The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) consents to the award of a residence permit.
Note: You will only be granted a residence permit if you already have a firm job offer. Whether or not you are granted a permit depends on the needs of the German economy and the conditions on the labour market. For certain professions and for citizens of certain countries, the competent authority may use its discretion in deciding whether or not to grant a permit. It may grant you a permit if your employment is a matter of public interest.
You must apply for a national visa in your own country before coming to Germany. The German diplomatic mission abroad will liaise with the competent authority for foreign nationals. During the visa process, you will be required to provide information about your job in Germany. This will enable the authority to check whether the Federal Employment Agency has to consent to your employment.
After entering Germany, you must send a written residence permit application to the authority for foreign nationals before your visa expires.
Note: The authority for foreign nationals will obtain the Federal Employment Agency’s consent if necessary.
Please note that you must apply for an extension before your residence permit expires.
You will receive the residence permit in the format of a bank card incorporating additional electronic functions. You will find further information at “Application for electronic residence permit (eAT)".
- Evidence that you satisfy the passport and visa application
- Evidence of sufficient income
- Evidence that you satisfy the functional and personal requirements for work migration
- Evidence that you have a job or firm job offer
- Evidence that there are no grounds for your expulsion
- Evidence that you do not endanger or influence the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Your spouse and minor children are entitled to rejoin you in Germany. They too may take up gainful employment.
- In special cases, highly-skilled persons may be granted a settlement permit immediately after they enter the country.
- If you wish to be self-employed, you may be granted a residence permit provided you fulfil certain conditions.
- § 5 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Allgemeine Erteilungsvoraussetzungen)
- § 7 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Aufenthaltserlaubnis)
- § 8 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Verlängerung der Aufenthaltserlaubnis)
- § 18 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Beschäftigung)
- § 19 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Niederlassungserlaubnis für Hochqualifizierte)
- § 21 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Selbständige Tätigkeit)
- § 39 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Zustimmung der Bundesagentur für Arbeit)
- Beschäftigungsverordnung des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Arbeit
- Valid for up to one year: EUR 100.00
- Valid for more than one year: EUR 110.00
- Extension by up to three months: EUR 65.00
- Extension by more than three months: EUR 80.00
Note: Fees may only be waived in exceptional circumstances.
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Innenministerium released the full description on 18.02.2015. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.