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The Job Seeker Visa in Germany

The Job Seeker Visa allows people who are looking for work in Germany to do so. It is a relatively new form of visa. The Job Seeker Visa reflects Germany’s current status as one of the most popular countries in the world for inward migration. Situated at the heart of Europe, with a strong economy, an extensive education system and a country full of opportunities, it is no surprise that Germany is proving to be so popular as a migration destination.

In this article, we will outline the requirements for the Job Seeker Visa as well as answer some of the frequently asked questions we have received about it. However, the information provided here is as a general overview and is not a substitute for professional legal advice. Should you require more specialised assistance, please contact our German visa lawyers directly using the contact details below this article.

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Who Needs a Job Seeker Visa?

The Job Seeker Visa is designed for people coming to Germany from non-European Union or EFTA countries looking for a job there. The EFTA countries include Switzerland, Iceland and Norway. For EU and EFTA countries citizens, do not require a visa as they have freedom of movement within the European bloc. However, this does not mean that everyone from these countries needs a Job Seeker Visa as some countries have visa-waiver agreements with the European bloc. This means that they also do not need to apply for Schengen Visas or Business Visas when coming short stays in the bloc. Short stay, in this case, means that they only seek to be in Germany for a period of fewer than 90 days in a 180 day period. The list of these countries is quite extensive, including the USA, South Korea, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Should a person arrive in Germany without needing the Job Seeker Visa, they would be best advised to start looking for a job as early as possible and look for a residence permit to remain in Germany. The visa-waiver agreements allow people to come in the front door into Germany with ease, but from there, they do not have a right to remain as long as they want.

What Documents do I Need For a Job Seeker Visa?

Applying for a Job Seeker Visa does involve quite a lot of paperwork and can be a very bureaucratic process. Here is a list of the documents one requires when applying for the visa. Please bear in mind that the following documents must be submitted as originals and as two photocopies:

  • Finished application form,
  • Recent passport sized photograph,
  • Passport or travel document that are valid, that have been issued within the last ten years and that will still be valid post-duration of six month visa,
  • The applicant’s personal CV with their educational and professional career history as well as certificates and diplomas,
  • A university degree from an institution recognized as equivalent to a German university
  • A Letter of Motivation outlining information concerning the applicant’s intended job search,
  • Proof that the applicant is able to financially support themselves for the duration of their stay in Germany (bank statements, payslips from the last three months or other form of financial proof ),
  • Proof of sufficient health insurance for the duration of the stay in Germany,
  • Proof of accommodation in Germany showing that the applicant has somewhere to stay while on the job hunt.

Is there an Interview with the Application for the Job Seeker Visa?

Yes, there is also an interview as part of the process for the Job Seeker Visa. It is important that the applicant presents themselves appropriately and professionally, arrives on time, and outlines why they wish to work in Germany. They should have a copy of the documents that they submitted as part of their application. Furthermore, the applicant should be aware of the contents of these documents as they may be asked questions relating to them.

Do I Need Work Experience to get the Job Seeker Visa

It is vital to have a degree recognised in Germany. This can be a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree. Still, the primary requirement is that it is a university degree from an institute that is properly recognised as equivalent to a German university. If you are not sure how to assess this, there is a useful tool to aid applicants when it comes to establishing whether their degree is equivalent to a German one. Work experience in and of itself is not a specific requirement for applying for the visa. However, relevant work experience in your field of interest will help enormously with your application and, of course, with your job hunt in Germany. The more impressive your CV is, the better chance you will have of getting a better job in Germany.

What are the Language Requirements for the Job Seeker Visa?

Like work experience, there is no specific mention of certain language levels being required. However, candidates with strong German language skills will have a better chance of finding work in Germany and demonstrating a willingness to learn the language can be seen as important for letters of motivation and the interview. Furthermore, proof of German language skills will have a greater chance of settling into everyday life. However, Germany is a very diverse country, and this is reflected in the workplace. Some jobs in Germany do not require German at all! On this front, it is important to show any language qualifications you do have in English. This will demonstrate your ability to work in the English language if not yet in German. Once again, it is not a requirement, but showing language abilities can help with an application.

How Long is the Visa Valid for?

The Job Seeker Visa is valid for a period of six months. It is expected that during this time the visa holder will be able to find work in Germany. Should they not do so it is highly unlikely that the visa will be renewed as we will see in the next point. Once the visa holder has received a job in Germany they will need to change to a work permit/residence permit as the Job Seeker Visa is not designed to be used once starting the job.

Can I Renew the Job Seekers Visa?

In theory, it is possible to extend a Job Seekers Visa, but this does not happen in the vast majority of cases. The visa itself lasts for 6 months, and it is expected that the visa holder should be able to find a job in Germany within that time. Should the visa holder find a job in Germany, they would have to change from this type of visa to a more settled work permit/residence permit. The Job Seeker Visa is a short term aid to achieving the goal of getting a job, and once this goal has been achieved, it should be replaced. A residence permit provides the holder with more comfort and can lead to them gaining permanent settled status in the future. For higher-earning individuals or those who work in areas of need within Germany, there is the chance to apply for the EU Blue Card.

What Should I do Once I Start Working in Germany?

Once the Job Seeker Visa holder has a job in Germany tied down, they should start the process of gaining a resi