The Job Seeker Visa is a perfect opportunity for non-EU citizens to travel to Germany and search for a job. I admit it’s much easier to find a job when a candidate is already in the country as they will apply from abroad. However, one needs to be eligible to get this type of visa.
An applicant for Germany Job Seeker Visa must fulfill the requirements and meet eligibility criteria, such as having a university degree or vocational training and funds in the banking account (approx. 5,200 EUR). Candidates without a university degree must speak German (level B1).
Requirements and application process
The statistics demonstrate that foreign professionals have higher chances of getting a job or even a response from employers if they are in Germany instead of their home country.
For this reason, if you are planning to work in Germany but don’t know where to start, applying for Job Seeker Visa will most probably save you time on job search and nerves.
Nevertheless, the process of getting a Job Seeker Visa isn’t meant to be easy but worth it.
Job Seeker Visa has its requirements as any other visa, and the candidate must meet all of them to apply. The application takes place in any German embassy of your home country or in Germany if you are already here.
Below are the main requirements for the Germany Job Seeker Visa in 2023.
- Bachelor’s degree from a recognized in Germany university or vocation qualification (min. duration of 2 years)
- Sufficient funds to prove that you can stay in Germany without any financial dependency on the government*
*853 EUR per month or 5,118 EUR in total for academics and 600-700 EUR per month or 3,600-4,200 EUR for vocational specialists.
Applicants without a degree but vocational qualifications must have at least a B1 German language.
If you meet all requirements and criteria, the next step in getting a Job Seeker Visa will be a visa application.
Make sure your documents are ready and complete, bring them to your appointment in the German embassy, and yes, of course, don’t forget to make an appointment before. Incomplete documentation may result in the rejection of your application.
List of the documents which must be attached to your Job Seeker Visa application:
- Valid passport – issued within the past 10 years, providing a minimum of 2 blank pages.
- Application form
- Declaration of the accuracy of information
- Passport-sized photos – no older than 3 months, must meet biometric standards
- Copies of the passport’s data page
- Curriculum vitae
- Motivation letter
- University degree, original and copy, and if applicable: official translation into German or English
- Proof of sufficient financial means
- Proof of housing in Germany
- Proof of travel health insurance
- There are no limitations in terms of the age of the applicants
1. University degree
A candidate must possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, which is recognized in Germany. Therefore, you have to get recognition before the visa application. This can be done through the Anabin database or the office for foreign education – ZAB.
Additional documents, such as transcripts, are required if your degree certificate doesn’t provide information on your course of study. Bring your original diploma and copy for the visa application.
2. Vocational training certificate
A candidate without a high degree must prove a completed vocational training for at least two years. It also has to be recognized in Germany. Apply for recognition before visa application via ZAB.
3. German language certificate – *only applies to candidates with vocational training
You should prove at least a level B1 of German language proficiency. This can be done by providing one of the several language certificates: Goethe, Telc, TestDAF, and DSH.
4. Proof of sufficient financial means
You must have enough funds for the entire six months in Germany. Although Job Seeker Visa holders can work 10 hours per week, it’s not enough to sustain them.
For high degree holders, it is 853 EUR per month or 5,118 EUR in total for academics and 600-700 EUR per month or 3,600 – 4,200 EUR for vocational specialists.
The proof can be provided as one of the following:
- Bank statements
- “Verpflichtungserklärung” – Letter of commitment/declaration by someone proving your expenses will be covered
- Blocked bank account
4. Proof of housing in Germany
This should include a full address. The proof can contain a rental agreement, hotel reservation, or an invitation letter from the person you know. In the case of private accommodation, the name, full address, and passport copy of the inviting person must also be provided.
5. Health insurance
Everyone in Germany needs health insurance; for now, tourist insurance is enough; for the long term, you should conduct a better insurance policy.
A CV should show your expertise in a particular field that can demonstrate your ability to find work in Germany.
There is a different style for CVs in Germany, so check some examples online to get a better idea of the differences. The CV doesn’t have to look good, but it must be informative.
You can include your professional career, the certificates, and diplomas that you have obtained, and also add some of your hobbies and interests.
7. Motivation letter/cover letter
A motivation letter is a typical German document you need to submit when applying for a job in Germany. Employers want to see it all the time you apply for a position.
It must include your plans, why you choosed Germany/city, why you want to work there, what your goals are for the future, your career plans, and why you are a good candidate for the job in Germany.
You should also include details about how you’ll find a job, which job titles you’ve already applied to, and which interviews you’re scheduling/completing, if possible.
At the end of the letter, state what you’ll do if you don’t find work in Germany. The best way to explain is that you will fly back home in this case.
Other helpful documents
These documents don’t directly influence your approval or rejection but positively affect the decision-makers and add to your case.
8. Letters of recommendation
A standard recommendation letter from your former employer/coworkers can add to your application. Have the author sign and date the letter if possible.
9. Printed interview confirmations/correspondence with companies and recruiters
This shows that you’re proactive about getting a job in Germany and already have a plan (and you should!).
The visa fee amounts to 75 EUR and is payable in USD in cash only. Conversion into USD is made based on the exchange rate at the time of application.
Processing time for a Germany Job Seeker Visa is 4 to 6 weeks, but it can take as long as 12 weeks. However, don’t underestimate the time you need to collect all documents; it can even take several months. Your application won’t proceed until all documents are presented at the embassy.
How to apply for a Job Seeker Visa?
You must apply at the German embassy in your home country or residence. If you are already in Germany, you should make an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde in your city/municipality.
The steps will be as follows:
- Complete the Germany Job Seeker Visa application form
- Make the visa appointment
- Collect the required documents
- Attend the interview at the German Embassy/Consulate
- Pay visa fees
- Wait till your visa is ready
- Pick up the visa
What is a Job Seeker Visa?
The Job Seeker Visa is a short-term visa for qualified applicants who want to come to Germany and look for a job. The duration of the visa is six months without the possibility of an extension, but the working visa can be obtained within Germany if a job offer is provided.
By obtaining this visa, a skilled worker can access the German job market. Both academic and non-academic professionals can apply for a Job Seeker Visa.
Holders of the visa can also travel outside of Germany for 90 days; all countries in Schengen are vise free for you. Nevertheless, foreigners can only travel there, and job search and work are not permitted.
After you have found the job, it can be converted into a working residence permit within Germany. To apply for the Job Seeker Visa, you need to have a degree or complete vocational training, as well as have some funds in the banking account to support yourself.
Since 2020, holders of Germany Job Seeker Visa can also work up to 10 hours per week.
Before coming to Germany and spending money, applicants must understand their chances of getting a job. The best chances to receive a job in Germany with a degree can be found in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-based (STEM) professions.
Last year German companies were unable to fill 337,900 STEM vacancies and more than 1.2 million open vacancies in total.
Nursing, electricians, metalworkers, hospitality, and gastronomy workers offer the best opportunities for people with vocational qualifications.
Also read “How to get a job in Germany as an American?“
Who can apply for Germany Job Seeker Visa?
Job Seeker Visa was made for non-EU citizens who need a visa to enter Germany. Also, only people with certified qualifications can obtain this visa.
Some non-EU countries also have residents who are exempt from obtaining a Job Seeker Visa. These include Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Canada, and the USA.
Citizens of mentioned countries can enter Germany without a visa and stay up to 90 days if they wish to stay longer; the application for a resident permit for work and job search can be made within Germany.
Eligibility criteria are very same as the main requirements for a Job Seeker Visa:
- Provide proof of academic (degree) or vocational training
- Qualifications must be recognized in Germany and be equivalent to a German degree or certificate
- Applicants with vocational training must provide proof of German language skills (min. level B1)
Found yourself fulfilling the criteria? Great, check the entire list of requirements mentioned in the beginning and start with the document’s preparation.
By now, you have received a Job Seeker Visa and found the job, but what comes next?
After visa holders have received the job offer, they can convert this visa into a residence permit for work. There are two possibilities for employment in Germany:
- They can either apply for an EU Blue Card, or
- Employment residence permit (Germany Employment visa)
EU Blue Card
EU Blue card is the most popular way for qualified professionals to move to Germany. It has been around since 2012 and has helped thousands of people to live and work in the country.
Although, the EU Blue card is suitable only for people with a high degree and good earnings. To get the EU Blue Card, one must have an employment offer in Germany with at least 58,400 EUR annual gross salary (2023).
If future employment falls into the STEM category (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), the annual gross salary must be at least 45,552 EUR.
This visa will allow you to stay up to 4 years. After just 33 months of working on the EU Blue Card, you can obtain a Permanent Residence Permit in Germany. In case you prove sufficient German Language level (B1) – you can get this permit just after 21 months. Read more about Permanent Residence Permit in Germany.
Consequently, EU Blue Card is the ticket to the PR in Germany.
The main requirement is a university degree, which can be a bachelor’s, master’s, and further. The second is the minimum salary – you can see above.
The last crucial condition for the EU Blue Card is that the job offered to the applicant must be in their field of study or expertise. This should not be just an offer but a signed work contract. Otherwise, your application won’t be accepted.
Regular German employment visa
This round is offered to professionals with vocational training since they can’t pretend on EU Blue Card. A German employment visa is a regular residence permit with permission to work.
University degree holders can likewise apply for this visa if their annual salary isn’t high enough for the EU-Blue Card.
The length of this visa usually aligns with the length of your contract but has a maximum of 4 years, the same as the EU Blue Card. If your contract is for two years, your visa will also be for two years, although renewal is possible.
Holders of German employment visas can get the Permanent Residence Permit after 4 years of residing in Germany.
The downside of the regular residence permit FOR DEGREE HOLDERS is that the federal employment agency will prove if there are other applicants from EU countries or Germany.
However, if the job you apply for belongs to the shortage list, the employer can offer the position to a non-EU national without approval.
For vocational professionals, no approval is needed; consequently, they have a higher chance of receiving this type of visa.
The main requirement is your qualifications, whether it’s a high degree or a vocational certificate. Luckily, there is no minimum salary requirement, which makes it simpler for an employer to find workers from abroad and simpler for you to find a job.
Same as for the EU Blue card, the candidate must present a signed work contract with the German company. Application for both visas is made from Germany in the Immigration office of your town if you are still here or from abroad in the German embassy.