Studying in Germany – and Afterwards? – Part I

Visa for working abroad

Germany offers a stable and diverse labor market, embedded in a strong economy, which makes the country attractive for people around the world. For EU citizen, there will not legal barriers: They can easily look for and accept employment in Germany. But even for students or postgraduates from non-EU states, there are just a few important things to go through.

There are two types of visa that are relevant in this case: The Residence document while looking for a job (A) or the one for taking up employment (B).

Visa while looking for a job

(A) After passing the final exams, it is possible to get an 18-month residence permit during the job search from the responsible local foreign nationals’ registration office. The passport, the university degree or a document from the university stating that the studies are successfully completed, a health insurance certificate and a proof of financial coverage (e. g. bank statement, declaration of commitment, letter of award) complement the application. Immediately upon receiving the visa, taking up any kind of employment is allowed that supports and funds the job hunting in this period of 18 months.

If a person decided to go back to her/his country of origin after finishing the studies, she or he is entitled to a six-month visa to be able to look for an appropriate job. In this case, it is necessary to apply for the visa to the German mission abroad in the respective area. They will know exactly which conditions must be fulfilled to be able to apply.

If a job that corresponds to the person’s qualifications has already been found before graduating, this first step (A) can be skipped.

Visa for taking up employment

(B) As soon as a job offer exists, it is time to apply for a visa for taking up employment. Basically, it is possible to choose between a German residence permit or an EU Blue Card. Both are connected to various conditions and advantages and issued for limited period first of all. If an employment relationship still exists, it will no problem to extend the permit. As early as two years after receiving the German or EU Blue Card residence permit, an application for a permanent, unlimited residence permit is possible.

The decision which visa fits better depends on the person’s future and personal situation. The intention of also living and working in another EU state suggests to apply for the EU Blue Card, of course. With this card, staying abroad for up to twelve months without the Blue Card’s becoming invalid is not a problem. With a German residence permit, staying abroad for up to six months without the permit’s becoming invalid is possible. For full details (documentation required, several possibilities etc.), it is advisable to contact the responsible foreign residents’ registration office.

Job hunting

Not only large enterprises but also a great number of mid-size companies in very different sectors like the automobile industry, mechanical engineering, the chemical-pharmaceutical industry or food characterize the German economy. To keep an overview of the wide variety of occupational fields, local employment agencies and the HHL Career Service are good first points of contact.

Help of the authorities

Local employment agencies will provide a first orientation and give answers to questions like: “What kind of information about the world of work are essential?” “How to register on the Federal Employment Agency’s Job Exchange?” or “Which documents are required for an application in Germany?” Besides the employment agency, also job listings, online job portals, company websites or the own custom network may help to get interesting and exciting job vacancies in Germany. Moreover, also internships or trainees are a good opportunity to get to know an enterprise better, to acquire a first professional experience and thus to get a foot on the career ladder.

HHL Career Service

Another way to make orientating easier relating the labor market, the HHL Career Service offers a wide range of good advises. On the one hand, it is important to consider career prospects when already starting to study. This is even more important for career switchers because the program offers students ideal opportunities, such as field projects, to build a new profile. Internships are also considered to serve as a gateway to a successful career entry in Germany.

Additionally, it can be useful to make a list of the ideal target companies, ranking them by various aspects such as the motivation for working there, the degree of responsibility, etc. Moreover, students should establish contact with employees and alumni who already work for the desired company before applying for a job there. The career development team can, in a smart way, support them in initiating contact with companies, developing a conversations strategy and finding suitable contacts among the alumni.

Furthermore, on-campus recruiting events provide an opportunity to experience inspiring elevator pitches and get-togethers with HR professionals. The goal is to use the internal information obtained to make a small but decisive difference compared to other candidates.


» Studying in Germany – and Afterwards? – Part II

  (Self-employment, Doctoral studies, Organizations)

» Studying in Germany – and Afterwards? – Part III


About the Author

HHL author
This is a general article written by one of our HHL supporters.