Residence for the purpose of employment

If you are not a citizen of a member state of European Union (EU) or EFTA, and want to work and live in Germany, regulations pertaining to entry and residence are particularly important.

To be able to enter Germany, in principle you need a visa for entry. The visa is granted by the responsible agency abroad in your home country (embassy/Consulate General of Germany). You can find a list of agencies abroad at

The visa is usually granted for three months. This means that if you have entered with a visa, you have a short-term residence permit for Germany with this visa, but you do not yet have an employment permit. Before the visa expires, you have to request a residence permit for the purpose of employment from the Aliens Authority responsible for you if you intend to stay for an extended period.

However, citizens of countries specified in § 41 (1) of the Residence Regulation (AufenthV) are exempt from the visa requirement. Citizens of these countries can enter Germany without requesting a visa; however, they then have to apply for a residence permit for the purpose of employment before taking up work. To this end, they must contact the responsible Aliens Authority and request the residence permit that is required or relevant for them:

The residence permit is granted by the Aliens Authority as

Recognition procedure

A recognition procedure is undergone by any foreign national who has acquired his or her professional qualification outside of Germany. This procedure is used to provide evidence of the equivalency of a foreign vocational qualification with a German reference profession. Anyone wishing to work in the relevant reference profession in Germany must investigate whether this profession is regulated in Germany.

A regulated profession is a profession whereby legal regulations or administrative provisions stipulate that access to the profession and the exercise of the profession are restricted to those who can provide evidence of certain qualifications.

If a professional qualification acquired outside Germany is regulated in Germany, then a professional may only practice their profession in Germany if their qualification has been classified as equivalent to the German reference profession. This equivalency can only be determined by a recognition procedure. When and how the equivalency of a professional qualification acquired outside Germany can be obtained in Germany is assessed primarily on the basis of sectoral legislation. Unless more specific regulations are provided for in sectoral legislation, the recognition of the qualification is assessed on the basis of the Federal Recognition Act (BQFG).

European recognition

All nationals of a European Union (EU) member state that wish to exercise a regulated profession in another member state on a freelance or employed basis must also have their professional qualifications recognized.

The entitlement to and the requirement for the recognition of professional qualifications are contained in the Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament.

In the European Union, automatic recognition is in place for the professional qualifications for seven so-called “sectoral” professions. Automatic recognition is a form of recognition which takes place without any examination of the specific content of the training, provided the qualifications listed in the respective annex to the directive for the specific member/contracting state are evidenced.