Most foreign nationals will require a residence permit for employment if they want to live and work in Germany. Citizens of the member states of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) enjoy unlimited freedom of movement in Germany and do not need to apply for a residence permit.
In order to be granted a residence permit for employment, the consent of the Federal Employment Agency is required. The residence permit will only be issued if a specific job offer can be presented.
Alternative residence titles include the ICT Card, the EU Blue Card or the Residence Permit for Research. If you want to work as a freelancer or start your own business, you'll need a Residence Permit for Self-Employment.
You can only start working after you have been granted the appropriate residence permit. If your employment ends before your residence permit expires, you must inform the Foreigners Office without delay. This obligation ends after you have been legally employed and subject to compulsory insurance for two years, latest after three years of residence in Germany. After five years, you may apply for a permanent residence permit.
- Entry with a German visa for the purpose of employment. The German mission abroad in your home country is responsible for issuing visas.
Exception: Nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United States of America can enter without a visa.
- You can also be granted a residence permit for employment, when you have completed studies or a vocational training in Germany.
- Employment offer
- Workplace and job description from the employer
- Sufficient health insurance (Annex 1)
Nationals of the member states of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA) do not need a residence permit for an employment in Germany. They enjoy unlimited freedom of movement.
You can apply for a residence permit for the purpose of employment at your relevant immigration authority or the Hamburg Welcome Center (Note: For an application at the Hamburg Welcome Center, your gross annual income must exceed the minimum of EUR 43,992). You can either contact the relevant authority directly or use the online tool of the Serviceportal Hamburg to submit your documents.
You can find information about the necessary documents on our page Forms.