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German Visa for Job Seekers: Guidance and Procedure

German Visa for Job Seekers: Guidance and Procedure

Are you an international student who dreams of staying in Germany after completing your Bachelor's or Master's studies? Do you want to find a job that aligns with your degree? Finding such a job immediately after graduation can be quite challenging, and many students struggle to achieve it.

But here's the good news: even if you can't secure a relevant job right away, you can still stay in Germany by obtaining a job seeker visa! Curious to know how? This article is tailored just for you, as we delve into the most critical aspects of obtaining a job seeker visa after graduating from a German university.

What exactly is Germany job seeker visa?

The job seeker visa, also known as Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Arbeitsplatzsuche, is a temporary residence permit that allows international students studying in Germany to apply for it upon graduation. This visa permits graduates from German universities to remain in the country for up to 18 months with the sole purpose of seeking employment related to their acquired degree. During this period, the objective is to secure a job that aligns, at least partially, with your educational background and offers a corresponding salary. For instance, if you hold a degree in physics, working as a grocery store security guard would not qualify you for a job visa.

It's essential to note that the 18-month timeframe starts immediately after your official graduation. Moreover, if you delay applying for a job search permit, your application may be rejected. Therefore, it's crucial to apply for a job seeker visa as soon as you have proof of completing your studies.

Entitlement to a job seeker visa is guaranteed, provided you successfully completed your studies at a German university and submitted all the necessary documents accurately and within the specified timeframe.

Who is eligible for a German job seeker visa?

Any student who has completed their studies in Germany with a valid residence permit for study purposes, regardless of their country of origin, is eligible for a German job seeker visa. It's worth noting that students from EU member states, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland don't require a job seeker visa since they enjoy the same rights as German citizens.

Can I work with a job seeker visa?

You may already be aware that most international students pursuing a degree in Germany need a specific type of residence permit for studying, which grants them the right to work in the country, albeit with certain limitations. Generally, international students can work part-time for up to 240 days per year (e.g., 20 hours per week) or full-time for up to 120 days per year (e.g., more than 20 hours per week) during their studies.

Upon completing your studies, you can convert your student residence permit or student visa into a job seeker visa. Interestingly, the job seeker visa also allows you to work in Germany, offering more employment rights compared to the student visa. With a job search residence permit, you can work full-time without limitations and engage in any type of employment, even if it doesn't directly relate to your qualifications. For example, as an engineering graduate, you can work as a cook at McDonald's with your job seeker visa.

Job Seeker Visa Germany: Requirements

Applying for a job seeker visa for Germany is generally easier than applying for a student visa. You should submit your job search visa application immediately after receiving proof of your successful completion of studies at a German university. While specific requirements may vary slightly depending on your city or town of residence, we have compiled a general checklist based on the common documents needed for a job seeker visa application:

Completed application form: Find the application forms on the website of the relevant Foreigners' Authority office. The form is usually self-explanatory and straightforward, requiring personal details such as name, date of birth, email, address, and marital status.

Valid passport: Ensure that your passport has sufficient validity and available pages.

Address registration (Meldebescheinigung): Within two weeks of arriving in Germany, register your new address at the local citizens' office (B├╝rgeramt) and obtain a confirmation document, which is required for your job seeker visa application.

Proof of graduation from a German university: While you may not need to wait for your diploma, provide transcripts of records, along with proof from your academic supervisor or head of the study program, confirming the successful completion of all subjects, including the thesis.

Proof of valid health insurance: Request a document from your German health insurance provider affirming your coverage.

Proof of sufficient funds: Demonstrate that you can support yourself financially during your job search. Bank statements for the past 3-6 months, a blocked account, a declaration of commitment, or an employment contract can be used as proof.

Current biometric passport photo: Follow the specifications for the photo size, facial visibility, and background color provided by the authorities.

Please note that specific job seeker visa requirements may differ across German cities, so it's essential to visit the websites of the relevant Foreigners' Authority offices. For example, in Berlin-Charlottenburg, you must provide proof of applying for at least three jobs, while Bremen does not require such documentation.

How to apply for a job seeker visa in Germany?

As mentioned earlier, it's advisable to apply for a job seeker visa immediately after completing your studies. Ideally, submit your application to the Foreigners' office 4-6 weeks before your student visa or student residence permit expires. The typical procedure for obtaining a job seeker visa involves three steps:

A. Sending the application package to the authorities: Submit your application either by email or post.

B. Submission of biometric data and payment: After receiving your application, the authorities will contact you via email to confirm receipt and schedule an appointment for collecting your biometric data. During this appointment, you'll need to sign necessary documents, provide fingerprints, show your passport, submit the biometric photo, and pay the job seeker visa fee (approximately 100 EUR).

C. Receiving the residence permit card: Once your biometric data is collected, and the fee is paid, you'll receive a temporary paper that serves as a substitute for the residence permit card. It will indicate when your card will be ready and that the substitute paper is valid for three months. You'll be notified whether you'll receive the card by mail or if you need to visit the office again to pick it up. The processing time for the German job seeker visa is typically around 4-6 weeks, starting from the submission of biometric data and payment.

Remember that the application procedure for a job seeker visa may vary depending on your location in Germany. Therefore, it's crucial to refer to the websites of the respective Foreigners' Authority offices. For instance, in Bonn, the initial application step is divided into two parts, where you submit only the filled-in application form initially, followed by providing additional documents upon request.

By following these guidelines and preparing the necessary documents, you can embark on your journey to obtaining a job seeker visa in Germany. Remember, persistence and thoroughness are key to securing your future employment opportunities in this vibrant country."

Benefits of a job seeker visa in Germany:

Obtaining a job seeker visa in Germany comes with numerous advantages for international students. Here are some key benefits:

Extended stay: The job seeker visa allows you to extend your stay in Germany for up to 18 months after completing your studies. This timeframe gives you ample opportunity to search for a suitable job that aligns with your qualifications.

Flexibility in employment: With a job seeker visa, you have the freedom to work in any field or occupation, even if it doesn't directly match your degree. This flexibility opens up a wider range of job opportunities, allowing you to explore different industries and gain valuable work experience.

Full-time employment: Unlike the limitations placed on student visas, the job seeker visa allows you to work full-time without any restrictions. This means you can dedicate yourself fully to your job search and potentially secure a higher-paying position.

Path to a long-term residence permit: The job seeker visa serves as a stepping stone towards obtaining a long-term residence permit in Germany. Once you find a job that meets the requirements for a job visa (residence permit for employment), you can transition seamlessly from the job seeker visa to the job visa.

Tips for a successful job search with a job seeker visa:

While holding a job seeker visa, you'll want to make the most of your time in Germany to find a suitable job. Here are some tips to boost your chances of success:

Polish your CV and cover letter: Adapt your application documents to the German job market standards. Highlight your relevant skills, experiences, and qualifications that align with the positions you're applying for. Tailor your cover letter to each job application, showcasing your enthusiasm and explaining why you're a good fit for the role.

Network actively: Take advantage of networking opportunities, both online and offline. Attend job fairs, industry events, and professional networking events to connect with potential employers and industry professionals. Join online platforms and communities relevant to your field to expand your network.

Utilize job search platforms: Make use of popular job search platforms in Germany, such as Indeed, StepStone, XING, and LinkedIn. Regularly update your profile, set job alerts, and actively apply for relevant positions.

Learn German: While many international companies in Germany operate in English, having a strong command of the German language can significantly enhance your job prospects. Consider taking language courses or engaging in language exchange programs to improve your language skills.

Gain practical experience: If you're unable to secure a full-time job immediately, consider internships, part-time positions, or volunteering opportunities in your field. This will not only enhance your skills but also provide you with valuable local work experience and networking opportunities.

Remember, persistence and patience are key when searching for a job with a job seeker visa. It may take time to find the right opportunity, but with determination and a proactive approach, you increase your chances of success.


The job seeker visa in Germany offers a valuable opportunity for international students to stay in the country and search for employment related to their degree. By following the application process, meeting the requirements, and preparing the necessary documents, you can embark on your journey towards securing a job that aligns with your qualifications. Make the most of your time in Germany by actively networking, utilizing job search platforms, and continuously improving your skills. With dedication and perseverance, you can enhance your employment prospects and build a successful career in Germany. Good luck!

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