9 types of visa to live in Germany

Are you considering moving to Germany? Whether it’s for work, study, family reunification, or other purposes, you’ll likely need a visa to live in this vibrant and culturally diverse country. Germany offers various types of residence permits, each tailored to specific purposes of stay.

In this guide, we will explore 8 common types of visas that allow you to live and stay in Germany legally. Understanding these different visa options will help you determine which one suits your situation best and pave the way for a smooth transition to life in Germany.

Let’s delve into the world of German visas and discover the possibilities that await you in this exciting European nation. Whether you dream of working in its bustling cities, studying at world-renowned universities, or joining your loved ones, there’s a visa that fits your aspirations. Let’s get started on your journey to living in Germany!

#1 Preparatory student visa in Germany

Are you considering studying at a German university and need time to prepare your application? The Preparatory Student Visa allows you to do just that. With this residence permit, you can immerse yourself in learning the German language, work part-time in a field related to your future studies, and get ready for your academic journey.

This visa is typically granted for a maximum of two years, giving you ample time to meet all the requirements for pursuing higher education in Germany. During this period, you can engage in intensive German language courses, study colleges, and preparatory courses to enhance your language skills and adapt to the German culture.

However, it’s important to note that this residence permit is not valid for intensive language courses to learn foreign languages like English, even if your desired course of study is offered solely in a foreign language. The Preparatory Student Visa is tailored specifically to help you make the most of your academic preparation in Germany.

Visa Germany
With a work visa, you can live and work freely in Germany for the duration of your contract

#2 Regular work visa in Germany

To obtain this visa, you need to have an employment contract in Germany. With this visa, you can live and work freely in Germany for the duration of your contract. However, it’s crucial to promptly find a new job or extend your contract if it is set to expire. Typically, you are allowed to stay for one month after your official contract has ended, after which you must leave the country.

This type of visa is officially known as the ‘German residence permit for the purpose of employment’! If you are ready to apply for the German work visa, take the first step now!

#3 Apply for a student visa in Germany

Congratulations on being admitted to a German university! Now it’s time to apply for a study visa to fulfill your dream of studying in Germany. To begin the application process, make sure you have completed all the necessary steps and obtained an official confirmation of your place at the university.

To apply for a student visa in Germany, you’ll need to:

  • Fill out all the required visa application forms.
  • Attend a personal interview at the German embassy in your country or the foreigners office in Germany.
  • Present an official confirmation of your enrollment at the German university. You must be enrolled or have conditional approval for studying to be eligible for a residence permit.
  • Show proof of health insurance.
  • Provide evidence of a secure livelihood, as outlined on the official website. This could include an blocked bank account at a German bank like Fintiba or Deutsche Bank. In 2023, a blocked account for students in Germany must contain 11,208 euros. This amount is required to prove financial stability and cover living expenses during their studies. The money in the blocked account cannot be withdrawn all at once and is released in monthly installments to support the student throughout their stay in Germany.

Once you’ve obtained your student visa, immerse yourself in your studies and enjoy your time in Germany. Remember, after completing your degree, you may have the opportunity to extend your stay in this vibrant and academically rich country. Best of luck in your academic journey!

Visa Germany
EU blue card offers a faster and simpler path to German residency

#4 Get the EU Blue Card to work in Germany

If you have an academic or equivalent background and meet the minimum salary criteria (earning at least 58,400 Euros gross per year in 2023), you are eligible to apply for an EU Blue Card.

This card offers a faster and simpler path to German residency, allowing you to work not only in Germany but also in other EU countries. It provides flexibility in terms of job switching and relocating within the EU. To apply, you must have at least a Bachelor’s degree or proven professional skills and a valid work contract.

#5 Apply for a job-seeking visa in Germany

If you have a university degree, you can stay in Germany as a resident for up to 6 months to search for employment. This visa, officially known as the ‘residence permit for qualified workers,’ is perfect for those looking to find a job in Germany. Being in Germany while job hunting makes the process much easier, allowing you to attend interviews in person and improve your language skills.

Please note that the residence permit is valid for six months and does not grant the right to work during this period. You can apply for this visa only once. Once you have secured a job, you must apply for a different type of visa, such as the EU Blue Card or a regular work visa, depending on your situation.

#6 Get a freelance visa

If you enjoy being your own boss, the freelance visa, also known as the residence permit for self-employment, is perfect for you.

Germany offers this visa for individuals with language, communication, writing, computer, or editing skills, making it easier than you might think to become a freelancer here. While there is some bureaucratic work involved, our comprehensive guide will walk you through each step to obtain the freelance visa.

The official name of this visa is the ‘German residence permit for the purpose of freelance or self-employment.’ It is initially valid for up to three years, with the possibility of indefinite extensions if your freelance project is successful.

To apply for the German freelance visa, you should prepare the following documents:

  • Personal Interview: Either at the German embassy or the foreigner’s registration office (Ausländerbehörde) if you are already in Germany.
  • Statement of Economic Interest: Justify why your freelance service is unique and beneficial for the German economy.
  • Business Plan: Provide evidence of business clients in Germany and relevant experience in your field.
  • Proof of Financial Means: Show a bank statement demonstrating sufficient funds to support yourself.
  • Pension Coverage (for applicants over 45): Provide evidence of a private pension insurance plan covering your maintenance costs in old age.

With the freelance visa, you can pursue your entrepreneurial dreams and enjoy the flexibility of being a self-employed professional in Germany.

Visa Germany
To apply for an au pair visa, you must first find a German host family

#7 Apply for an au pair visa in Germany

Ever considered being an Au Pair in Germany? Living with a German family, taking care of their children, and improving your German skills can be an enriching experience. It’s an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in German culture and gain a deeper understanding of the country. Plus, after your Au Pair program, you can explore other visa options like study or work visas.

To apply for an au pair visa, you must first find a German host family. You’ll need official proof of the host family’s acceptance, which can be obtained through various websites and agencies dedicated to matching au pairs with trustworthy families.

For more information and a step-by-step guide on how to become an Au Pair in Germany, explore our Blog and check out our blog post titled “How to become an Aupair in Germany” Start your journey as an Au Pair and embark on a fulfilling adventure in Germany!

#8 Get a visa for an internship in Germany

If you’re seeking valuable work experience, consider applying for a paid or unpaid internship in Germany. Apart from gaining practical skills, you can obtain a residence permit for the duration of your internship.

The internship visa is specifically for the internship period and doesn’t extend beyond it.

To apply for this visa, you’ll need:

  • Proof of health insurance coverage for the internship duration in Germany.
  • An internship contract outlining your assigned tasks and responsibilities.

Securing an internship in Germany can be a fantastic opportunity to enhance your professional development and immerse yourself in the German work culture. Take the leap and pave the way for a rewarding experience!

Visa Germany
Get a visa to learn German

#9 Visa for a language course in Germany

If you dream of learning German in Germany, you can apply for a visa tailored for this purpose. Once you’ve completed the language course, you can explore other visa options available for your future plans.

In the category of language course visas, there are three distinct differentiations:

  • Study preparatory language course – for those who have already obtained admission (full-time studies) with the condition of attending a language course.
  • Training preparatory language course – for those who already have a training contract following the language course; participation eligibility (BAMF) and prior approval from the Federal Employment Agency are necessary.
  • Recognition measure – Part of recognizing a foreign professional qualification (see corresponding page).
  • Intensive language course – initially only the language course.

Language courses must comprise a minimum of 18 weekly hours and are time-limited. It is crucial to thoroughly explain your motivation in the application.

Please note that you must personally submit the application for a language course visa at the embassy. For this, registration for an appointment through the embassy’s appointment system (Category: National Visas) is required. Apply for your visa well in advance of the course start, at least two months before the planned departure.

How much does my visa cost?

The visa fee is 75€ and must be paid in cash at the time of application. The exchange rate of the German foreign mission’s cash office on the respective day applies.

What requirements must your passport meet?

  • The passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the anticipated date of departure from Germany. If the date of departure is not determined, the passport must be valid for at least 3 months longer than the visa requested at the embassy.
  • The passport must have at least two blank pages available for visa issuance.
  • The passport must have been issued within the last 10 years before applying for the visa.