Visa and Entry Requirements
Before coming to FrankfurtRheinMain (FRM) from abroad, you need to clarify whether you need a visa to enter the country, and if so, which type. This depends on the country you are coming from, as well as your qualifications or profession. The same regulations apply all over Germany.
European Union and EEA Countries
As a European Union (EU) citizen, you do not need a visa to enter Germany. The right to freedom of movement allows EU citizens to come to work and live here. Under certain conditions you may be able to stay for a longer period of time, even if you are still looking for work. The same applies to citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway - countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland.
Citizens of other countries, so-called third country nationals, generally need a visa to enter Germany. You should apply for this in person at the German diplomatic mission in your country of origin. Please contact your local consulate or embassy for more details on the documents required. The standard time for processing German visa applications for short stays is around ten days. For longer stays in Germany, it will take several months. The visa fee is around 80 euros, with some exceptions.
Due to special agreements, residents of the following countries do not need a visa: Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, U.K. and the U.S.A. In practice, this means that citizens of these countries may travel to Germany and stay for up to 90 days without a visa. However, if they plan to stay longer, they must apply for a residence permit within the 90 days.
In addition, there are a few more exceptions to the rule, allowing entry without a visa. However, these do not include the right to work. You will find a list of visa requirements for all countries on the website of the Foreign Office, the Auswärtiges Amt. This is updated regularly.
There you will also find more details as well as visa application forms. The EU Immigration Portal from the European Commission and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) both provide information in various languages on their websites.
With the introduction of the Skilled Labour Immigration Act in March 2020, it is much easier for skilled workers from third countries to enter Germany, for example, if they have a concrete job offer, as a job-seeker or to search for vocational training.
Entering as a Job Seeker
Skilled workers of all professions may enter Germany for a maximum of six months to look for a job. To do so, they must meet three conditions:
- They must have a good knowledge of German. The minimum requirement is B1.
- Their qualification is recognized in Germany or is equivalent to a German qualification.
- They can prove that they are financially self-sufficient in Germany.
While looking for work, they are allowed to work for up to ten hours per week on probation or on an internship. This has the advantage that the skilled worker and their potential employer can get to know each other better.
Entering in Search of Vocational Training
Those who would like to do vocational training can enter Germany to search for a suitable course. To do so, they must meet four requirements:
- They have a good knowledge of German. The minimum requirement is B2.
- They are in possession of a school-leaving certificate that entitles them to enter university.
- They are not older than 25 years.
- They can provide proof that they are financially self-sufficient in Germany.
In this case they will receive a residence permit for qualified vocational training (Aufenthaltserlaubnis für eine qualifizierte Berufsausbildung). This enables them to attend a German course. During their course, they are allowed to work for up to ten hours per week on probation or on an internship. This has the advantage that the skilled worker and their potential employer can get to know each other better.