An offer from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training


Do you want to work in Germany? If so, then you require a visa for your entry. This depends on the country you come from.

Answers to the following questions are provided here:

  • Do I need a visa for Germany?
  • What role does recognition play in this?
  • What steps does immigration involve for me?
  • Where can I get more detailed information?

Citizens from the EU/EEA/Switzerland

If you are a citizen of the EU/EEA/Switzerland then you do not need a visa. You are able to enter Germany and work here. For entry, you simply need a valid proof of identity. Following entry, you do not need a residence permit for long-term residence. Exception: Swiss citizens need a ‘Swiss residency permit’. These are available from the competent immigration office. The link is available below.

Do you want to work in Germany in a regulated profession? If so, you almost always need recognition of your foreign professional qualification. Are you resident in another EU-country? If so, then you are sometimes permitted work without recognition in Germany. However, before this, you must report the fact you are resident in another EU country to the German competent authority.

Citizens of third countries

Are you a citizen of a Third country? And do you want to come to Germany for employment as a skilled worker? If so, you need a visa for entry. Prerequisites for a visa are a firm job offer and recognition of the training you have completed abroad. Or: Your higher education qualification is recognised as comparable in Germany. Third countries are all countries outside of the EU/EEA/Switzerland.

Have you already completed a recognition procedure? And did the competent authority identify substantial differences? If so, you can also apply for a visa for a training measure in Germany. Your competent authority or the recognition counselling service will advise you on selecting the correct training measure. You will find your counselling centre on this website in the Recognition Finder under counselling. The link is available below.

The recognition procedure and the visa procedure are separate procedures. You have to apply for both procedures.

Entry of skilled workers from third countries

Prerequisites for a visa for skilled workers from third countries are a firm job offer and recognition of the training you have completed abroad.

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Your route to Germany - information for citizens of third countries

Check entry

You can check the requirements for your entry and your visa using the Quick-Check from “Make it in Germany”. The links are available below.


Apply for recognition

Apply for the recognition procedure. You need recognition for the entry visa. You will find the key information and contact details for a counselling centre using the Recognition Finder. Make use of the counselling before you apply for recognition.


Look for a job in Germany

For the entry visa you need a job offer from an employer in Germany. You must therefore find a job in Germany first. The job must be appropriate for your professional qualification. Do you already have recognition of your professional qualification? If so, you may be able to enter Germany to search for a job. You are able to remain in Germany for up to six months to search for a job. Your German mission abroad can advise you on this.


Apply for a visa

Make an appointment with the relevant German mission abroad. You apply for a visa for employment at the appointment. This is the latest point at which you must submit the recognition and a firm offer of a job. In certain cases you must also be able to demonstrate specific knowledge of German. You also need health insurance. This is a legal requirement in Germany. Following the successful check of your application, you receive the visa.


Enter Germany

When you have received your visa, you can use it to enter Germany. You may then already be able to start your job.


Receive residence permit

You must have your visa changed into a so-called residence permit within the validity period. The competent immigration office does this. With a residence permit, you are then permitted to live and work in Germany for an extended period. The link to the immigration office is available below.


Note for IT workers from third countries

Subject to specific conditions, you may immigrate to Germany for work without recognition and without a formal qualification. However, in this case you do need professional experience. Do you have practical professional experience in the area of IT? If so, then seek information on the website of your German mission abroad. Information is also provided here about necessary documents. You can find your German mission abroad on the “Make it in Germany” website. The link is available below.


Information from “Make it in Germany”

The skilled worker portal “Make it in Germany” provides information about the requirements for entry to Germany. The portal has a Quick-Check tool: You can use this to quickly find out about the requirements for your visa. The hotline “Working and Living in Germany” will also answer questions about immigration.