Legal Require­ments

Whether you can work in Germany or not firstly depends on your nationality. If you need a visa and a residence title to live in Germany, then generally you will also require a work permit to take a job.

  • Nationals of EU and EEA countries

    If you are from an EU member state or another country within the European Economic Area (EEA), you do not need to have a permit to work in Germany. You have unrestricted access to the employment market.

  • Third-country nationals

    If you are from a country that is not in the EU or EEA, you will need a residence permit which explicitly permits you to take a job. Only then can you work in Germany. Ask your local immigration authority for information if you are not sure what type of residence title you have.

  • People in the Asylum process
    If you have made an application for international protection in Germany and it is still pending a decision, you can nevertheless still get a work permit subject to certain conditions. You can also ask the responsible immigration authority where you live for information.


A residence title is mostly issued in the form of a chipcard. There are different types of residence titles:

  • Residence Permit → This is a residence title for a set period which can be extended.

  • Settlement Permit → This does not have a time limit. Certain requirements must be met.

  • EU Blue Card → This has a time limit. You must have a specific job offer for a highly-skilled role and have the appropriate qualifications and payment for that role.

  • Permanent residence permit - EU → This does not have a time limit. Certain requirements must be met.


For full information about residence, we recommend the website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

The website Make-it-in-Germany is aimed at academics and professionals from other countries who wish to work in Germany. You can get information in English, Spanish and French. Short versions are available in 10 further languages, among them Arabic and Russian.