Ausbildung in Germany: Can You Apply as a Non-EU Citizen?

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Ausbildung is also known as vocational training or apprenticeship and is a great way to start your career in Germany. It’s a profession-related education that includes theory and practice lessons simultaneously. Germany has more than 300 vocational occupations, and for each of these, there is a training program! The question is, however, can a non-EU citizen apply for an Ausbildung in Germany?

All nationalities can apply for an Ausbildung (vocational training) in Germany. However, for some occupations, you will need to receive approval from the Federal Employment Agency (Vorranprüfung). They determine if a foreign candidate gets a work visa or not.

Therefore, as a non-EU citizen, you better choose a profession that doesn’t require such approval, e.g., is on the “white list.” It will increase the chances of receiving a visa for vocational training in Germany. In this post, you will learn which Ausbildung programs are on the list and how you can apply for one as a non-EU national.

Ausbildung in Germany for non-EU citizens

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Ausbildung is a dual professional training, a combination of theory and practice. It’s a common way to receive a qualification in Germany without attending a university. However, vocational jobs usually trade and craft orientated.

The program is available for all nationalities, whether German, EU, or non-EU citizens. Europeans and Germans are prioritized by German employers and especially by the government since they have freedom of movement and can undertake employment without any restrictions.

As a non-EU citizen, you will only need a school-leaving diploma and German language skills to apply for an Ausbilding.

There is no legal requirement for a specific school and language certificate. The company, not the state, decides if your educational background and language are sufficient for a program.

Many businesses in Germany are having a hard time finding trade professionals with special qualifications. Consequently, you have excellent chances of receiving an Ausbildung place.

Which trades are especially suffering? Nursing is among them. It’s a field where the demand is much higher than the availability, and it’s an excellent opportunity for even non-EU citizens to take advantage of.

Some programs will even take people with relatively weak German and concentrate and their language skills at first. But keep in mind there is no Ausbildung training that teaches in English.

Germany also needs many craft workers; you can see the entire list here. Therefore, by choosing one of these occupations for your Ausbildung program, you will have the best opportunities in Germany and a high chance of getting a visa.

Other programs might demand higher qualifications and to have you already a pretty good German, especially clerk jobs and other costumers orientated occupations.

However, it’s advisable to be confident in the local language before starting vocational training, as you might experience difficulties in professional school because of the lack of German.

There is no Ausbildung program without theory, reading, written exams, and lectures. Consequently, an applicant will need some German to cope with the training! B1 is a good level to start, but you surely will improve it with time.

By the end of the program, students pass the final exam and receive a certificate that allows them to be employed only in the concrete occupation they were trained for. This certificate is also recognized in many other countries, including the EU, so you won’t be limited to working only in Germany.

German Ausbildung allows foreigners from non-EU countries to obtain a high-quality vocational education, enabling them to work internationally.

Wondering how much you can earn as a trainee in Germany? Read about the best paid Ausbildung programs in Germany.

How to Get a Place for Ausbildung as a Non-EU Citizen?

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So you are determined to go through vocational training in Germany? What will you need to do for it, and what is a plan to action?

Firstly good news, after changes in the immigration law of Germany in March 2020, people from non-EU countries have higher chances in Germany if they want to complete Ausbildung.

Foreigners from all countries can start vocational training in Germany. Ausbildung graduates have outstanding career opportunities in Germany based on the current legislation: after the vocational training, foreigners can stay in Germany in order to work in this profession.

After 2 years of work, they will be able to receive a permanent residency for Germany.

How to apply for Ausbildung in Germany

As a foreigner, you need to plan ahead when applying for Ausbildung in Germany. Some companies look for trainees as early as one year before the program starts.

  • Prepare your application documents

Since you have a different school-leaving diploma, and it is in another language, you need to get it recognized and translated into the German language.

The recognition process happens in Germany; you will be required to send your documents to one of the departments in the region you want to live in. Read more about it here.

  • Find and apply for Ausbildung place

There are two main ways to find a place for Ausbildung in Germany.

  1. To apply from the home country and pass the interviews via Skype
  2. Or come to Germany on a special visa to seek an Ausbildung and find a desirable place (read more below)
  • Apply for an Ausbildung visa

The last step is to finally apply for your visa for vocational training. This can be done from your home country at the nearest German embassy or in Germany if you are already there. The visa costs 60 EUR.

We will explain some steps in more detail later in the article.

Read the full guide about Ausbildung in Germany!

Visa for seeking the Ausbildung in Germany

It’s not necessary to seek a training place in your home country. If you want to come to Germany to find an Ausbildung, you can do it!

No more months-long searches for a place and Skype interviews; get to know your future employer and school personally. Furthermore, you can also work up to 10 hours per week during this time. 

Requirements for an apprenticeship Seeker visa:

  • School leaving diploma
  • German language level B2
  • Maximum age 25
  • Financial proof of 600-700 EUR for a month
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of accommodation

*if you are already residing in Germany, it’s not necessary to provide proof of German language proficiency. It is not a requirement for the Ausbildung program but might be a requirement for the Ausbildung visa.

With the Ausbildung Seeker visa, you are allowed to stay in Germany for up to 6 months, look for vocational training, and, if needed, do internships in potential companies of employment. Although, this permit prohibits foreign applicants from undertaking any work.

After successfully finding a spot in a professional school, you can apply for an Ausbildung visa from Germany.

Are there any age restrictions you need to be aware of? Read in this article.

Apply for an Ausbildung visa

After you have received a place for vocational training, you will need to apply for a visa to be able to come to Germany and do your training.

However, citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, and the United States of America can travel to Germany without a visa and apply for a residency permit after arrival.

The visa or residence permit application can be made either from your home country or from Germany if an applicant is already residing here. Therefore, you need to have some prior German visa besides the tourist one.

This can be all types of visas (residence permits), with exceptions for only tourism purposes and learning German.

You should submit your application with all the required documents. Including:

  • Passport
  • Ausbildung contract
  • *Language certificate for nurses

As I mentioned before, it’s an employer who is responsible for checking your language sufficiency. There is no language requirement for the Ausbildung visa. Nevertheless, applicants for nursing Ausbildung are obligated to have at least a B2 German language certificate.

This rule was introduced on 1 January 2020 and took place in March 2020. All foreigners who want to do vocational training in the healthcare field will need to prove their language skills in order to get a visa.

There are also conditions that must be met when you apply for an Ausbildung visa, some of them similar to the Ausbildung Seeker visa:

  • To have a signed contract with a vocational school or the employer
  • To provide financial proof: salary during the Ausbildung, funds on the banking account, or a letter of commitment from a German resident

The visa costs 100 EUR.

With a residence permit for Ausbildung, foreign trainees can work an additional 10 hours per week; this can be a student part-time job or such.

Furthermore, all your documents must be translated into German by the official interpreter. You can order online all kinds of translations by using this platform.

Although non-EU citizens will face another obstacle when applying for a German visa for Ausbildung. Applicants for some occupations/programs will go through the approval of the Federal Employment Agency. If they don’t approve it, one won’t receive a visa.

What are the most demanded jobs in Germany in 2023? Read in this article.

Approval of the Federal Employment Agency

Before granting approval, the Federal Employment Agency will check whether the Ausbilding place has other potential candidates from Germany and the EU.

In Germany, it is called Vorranprüfung. Consequently, people from the EU don’t need to undergo such approval, and they also don’t need a visa.

However, the proof is only necessary for dual Ausbildung programs and not educational ones. During the dual Ausbildung, a student will get paid, and during the latter, not.

Dual programs include most of the practice-orientated professions, including salesperson, mechatronic technician, clerk, and industrial clerk.

The educational programs are all medical professions, including nurses, educators, speech therapists, physical therapists as well as machine operators, technical assistants for computer science, and others.

Although nurses and senior care belong to the educational Ausbildung programs, they are the exceptions; such occupations don’t require proof from the Federal Employment Agency.

This is because they fall into a Positive list of professions in high demand and in shortage in Germany. You can see the entire list of occupations for which you can receive a visa without the Federal Employment Agency’s approval.

Read more about Ausbildung in Germany.

There is also an exception for graduates of German schools abroad who wish to complete an Ausbildung in Germany. They may be granted a residence permit without the approval of the Federal Employment Agency.

Can non-EU citizens work in Germany after Ausbildung?

Yes, they can! One can remain in Germany to work in their area of expertise. Upon successfully completing your vocational training, you can extend your residence permit for one more year to find a suitable job in Germany. During this year, you can work full-time to support yourself.

After you receive a job offer, a residence permit for work purposes can be obtained; this will allow you to stay and work in Germany long-term.

Ausbildung’s graduates are also eligible to receive a permanent residence permit after just two years of working and holding a residence permit for employment.

To find the best paid and suitable job, check how much you can earn in Germany with an Ausbildung education.

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