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Residency permit for the purposes of employment 

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    Are you a foreign national and want to work in Germany? Then you’ll need

    - a residency permit for the purposes of employment and, before that,

    - in most cases a national visa to enter Germany.

    Exception: Citizens of EU member states have access to the labour market based on their right to freedom of movement. In the context of the right to permanent residency or to the free movement of workers, they may undertake employment or self-employment in Germany. The same applies to other citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as Swiss citizens.

     Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and the USA can also obtain the required residency permit after entering Germany. The foreigners’ registration authorities in the place where the foreign national is to reside in Germany is responsible.

    A residency permit for the purposes of employment is limited in time. It can be extended upon application.

     National visa (entering Germany)

    Who do I have to contact?

    - Please contact the German overseas representation (embassy/ consulate) for the issue of a visa before travelling to Germany.

    - after entering Germany: the foreigners’ registration office in the district in which you normally reside.
    The foreigners’ registration authorities in Hesse are the district administrators and mayors of independent towns and of municipal towns with more than 50,000 inhabitants.

    Tip: The Foreign Office has a list on its website of the representations of the Federal Republic of Germany abroad.

    - List of representations of the Federal Republic of Germany abroad.



    Before entering Germany, you must apply for a national visa in your home country. The German consulate or embassy will involve the foreigners’ registration authorities responsible. For the processing of the visa, you will be required to provide information on your job in Germany. This allows the authorities to check whether or not the Federal Employment Agency must give approval or not.

    After entering Germany, you must apply for the residency permit in writing to the foreigners’ registration office before your visa expires. The foreigners’ registrations authority is, depending on the location, either the town administration or the district administration.

    Note: The foreigners’ registration authorities will seek agreement from the Federal Employment Agency if this is required.

    Please note that you must apply to the foreigners’ registration authorities for an extension before your residency permit expires.

    Since 01.09.2011, residency permits have been issued in the form of a card with additional electronic functions. You will find more information under “Apply for electronic residency document (eAT)”.


    Requirements for the issue of the residency permit are:

    - that you fulfil the passport and via obligations.
      For the passport obligation, it is sufficient if you possess ID documents in lieu of a passport.

    - that you can provide for yourself without having to claim social means.
      You are considered able to provide for yourself if your

    - income is in an amount consistent with the simple social assistance rate plus

    - costs for accommodation and heating as well as

    - any health insurance premiums.

    - that there are no grounds for your deportation.

    - that your residency poses no threat nor risk to the interests of the Federal republic of Germany.

    - that you fulfil the personal and factual requirements for labour migration.

    - that you have a job or a firm offer of a job.

    - that the Federal Employment Agency approves the issue of the residency permit.

    Note: You will only be issued with a residency permit if you have a firm offer of a job. Your permission to work depends on the requirements of the German economy and the conditions of the labour market. For certain professions or in the case of foreign nationals from certain countries, the permission to work is at the discretion of the authorities. In justified, individual cases, permission may be given if the work is in the public interest.

    For both those newly arrived in Germany as well as those citizens of a foreign country who already live or usually reside in Germany, approval by the central employment services of the Job Agency is generally required for working in Germany. This will be obtained through an internal procedure by the responsible foreigners’ registration authorities. This means that you are only required to make an application with the responsible foreigners’ registration authorities.

    Approval is generally granted if

    - legal provisions guarantee access to the German labour market,

    - employment will not have any disadvantageous effects on the labour market,

    - priority employees (Germans, EU citizens, citizens of EEA countries) are unavailable (so-called priority check),

    - the foreigners are not employed under less favourable conditions than comparable German employees.

    Approval may be given subject to restrictions regarding the professional activity, the employer, the Employment Agency district, the location and the distribution of working hours, which can be found in the residency permit.

    In accordance with the new integration law, the priority check is suspended for a limited period of three years in the case of asylum seekers and tolerated persons, thus making temporary employment possible. In order to avoid negative effects in regions with strained labour markets, the federal states themselves should decide in which Employment Agency districts the regulations take effect.


    - Evidence of the fulfilment of passport and visa obligations

    - Evidence of a secure means of subsistence

    - Evidence that you fulfil the personal and factual requirements for labour migration

    - Evidence of a job or offer of a job

    - Evidence that there are no grounds for your deportation.

    - Evidence that your residency poses no threat nor risk to the interests of the Federal republic of Germany.


    - Validity of up to one year: €100

    - Validity of more than one year: €110

    - Extensions of up to three months: €65

    - Extensions of more than three months: €80

    Note: Fees are waived only in exceptional circumstances.

    Legal foundations

    - Section 5 Residence act (AufenthG) (General preconditions of issue)

    - Section 7 Residence act (AufenthG) (Residency permit)

    - Section 8 Residency act (AufenthG) (Extension of residency permit)

    - Section 18, Section 18a Residency act (AufenthG) (Employment)

    - Section 19 Residence act (AufenthG) (Permanent residency permit for highly qualified persons)

    - Section 21 Residency act (AufenthG) (Self-employment)

    - Section 39 Residence act (AufenthG) (Approval by the Federal Employment Agency)

    - Employment Regulation


    - Your spouse and minor children are entitled to accompany you. They may also seek employment.

    - Highly-qualified persons may in special cases be issued with a permanent residency permit immediately after entry.

    - If you want to undertake self-employment, you may obtain a residency permit under certain requirements.

    Processing time

    4 – 6 weeks

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