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Working-Holiday Visa for Germany

When one is young the world is open to them. Availing of life’s opportunities and adventures is incredibly important at this time in life. The experiences and journeys that one embarks on will shape their lives forever afterwards. For many young people, such adventure includes travelling to other countries. Some will travel for a holiday whereas others will seek to work in distant lands. While living and working in another country, young people will be able to improve their language skills, become accustomed to other cultures, and experience another country’s working environment. However, it is worth also knowing the legal requirements to engage in such programmes. In this article we will provide advice to those young people who wish to enjoy the benefits of the Working-Holiday Visa.

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Who Can Be Issued With a Working-Holiday Visa

Due to the Free-Movement of People within the European Union it is not necessary for European Union Citizens to avail of such a visa to live and work in Germany. Similarly, young Germans do not need such visas to engage in such a working-holiday in other EU countries. The Working-Holiday Visa applies to citizens of certain “third”-countries (non-EU countries) for which Germany has a bilateral relationship. These countries are the following:

  • Canada (Youth Mobility Visa)
  • Australien
  • New Zealand
  • Japan
  • Hong Kong
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Uruguay
  • Israel

The Working-Holiday Visa is open to young people aged between 18 – 30 and thus can be applied for up until a person’s 31st birthday. There is an exception for Canadians, due to the nature of their visa, as they can apply up until their 36th birthday. In some cases further residence visas can be applied for following the conclusion of this visa.

Areas of Work

There are many working avenues open to those applying for the Working-Holiday Visa as they will have the opportunity to work in the area of tourism, hospitality, customer service and in agriculture among others. These opportunities will allow the participant to improve their language skills while experiencing what Germany has to offer. Depending on the nationality of the applicant, their working conditions can be different. In the case of applicants from Argentina, Israel, Taiwan and Hong Kong, there are time limits about how long they can work with one employer. In some cases, they can only work with employers for a period of three months at a time, whereas for others, there may be a six-month limit with which they can work with an employer. In the case of Argentinians, they can work in Germany for a maximum of 6 months. Although there is no set requirement that an applicant has a certain level of fluency when it comes to German, it does help in searching for a job if an applicant has some level of German. Having even a basic knowledge of German will help you settle and get set up in Germany.

Requirements for an Applicant and the Application Process

When one applies for a Working-Holiday Visa in Germany, they should be aware that they should have enough finances to support themselves for a period of three months. This means in practice that the applicant should be able to display bank records showing a balance of at least €2000. As well as having the required bank funds, one also requires a valid passport, foreign travel health insurance for the year in Germany, and the completed application form. There is a small fee involved in the cases of some states (Japanese citizens do not have to pay a fee in their application), and this fee is between €56-€100.

Applicants can seek a Working-Holiday Visa in their country’s German embassy or, in some cases, by applying to any German embassy or by applying at their country’s embassy in Berlin. In Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea, they can only apply to their home country’s embassy for citizens. Some states issue a fixed amount of Working-Holiday-Visas per year, so it is worth applying early and checking the German embassy requirements in your home country. If one is applying from their country’s embassy in Berlin, it is worth noting that proof of a German address must be valid. This involves a process by which the applicant’s landlord, in Germany, fills in a Wohnungsbestätigung form (a proof of residence form) to prove that the applicant has a German residence.

Following the Working-Holiday Visa conclusion, the possibility is open to visa-holders from Canada, New Zealand and Australia to increase the duration of their stay in Germany. For a person to extend their stay, they will need to have the possibility of continuing their work in Germany with that work based on their qualification. When it comes to applying for further visas, it is advisable to obtain further legal assistance.

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Practice Group: German Immigration Law

Practice Group:
German Immigration Law

Aykut Elseven

Lawyer | Managing Partner

Nora Nolan