This summary is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered an authoritative guide on how to obtain work authorization in Germany. The intent is to give the reader a general overview of the process only. Procedures and requirements may have changed since the writing of this article. For current and detailed information regarding the topics below, as well as documentary requirements, processing times, post-arrival and departure requirements, penalties for non-compliance, allowances for accompanying family members, and any other information pertaining to your specific needs, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration professional.



Permitted Activities – Business visitors must generally limit their activities to the following:

  • Attending business meetings or discussions;
  • Making sales calls to potential clients provided that the visitor represents a commercial entity outside of Germany;
  • Attending seminars or “fact-finding” meetings.

Type of Business Visas – The Schengen “C” Visa is the typical visa issued to business travelers. Note that many nationalities benefit from a visa waiver arrangement with the Schengen area and are permitted to enter visa free for business visits of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

Basic Requirements

  1. Intention of a genuine visit for business and not for paid employment;
  2. Proof of medical coverage of at least EUR 30,000;
  3. Evidence that there are no restrictions on his or her traveling to Germany;
  4. No intention to permanently reside in Germany;
  5. A ticket for onward travel from Germany;
  6. Proof of funds.

Estimated Processing Times – This varies by diplomatic post and country.

Maximum Time On Visa – This visa allows business people to make a short business visit to Germany for up to 90 days out of 180 days during the visa validity period. Visas cannot be extended in country.

Typical Documents Required – All travelers need to present the following documents to officers in immigration clearance:

  • a valid passport or other acceptable travel document and in some cases;
  • a valid visa or authority to enter Germany.


Basic Requirements – The principal visa category for temporary employment in Germany is the Residence Permit with Work Permission. This is a category for employers to sponsor approved skilled workers to work in Germany on a temporary basis. Note that this permit is for employers who would like to employ overseas workers to fill highly specialized or managerial positions in Germany, and who also send German national employees to fill positions in branches outside Germany.

Process Overview – The process for obtaining a Residence Permit with Work Permission is as follows:

  1. Work Permit application;
  2. National “D” Visa application filed at the Germany Consulate General with jurisdiction over the employee’s place of residence – note this step may be waived for certain “preferred” nationalities;
  3. Town Hall Registration;
  4. Residence Permit with Work Permission application (Biometric Identity Card).

Estimated Processing Time – six to eight weeks (or two to four weeks for “preferred” nationalities)

Validity periods – Work Permits are valid for up to three (3) years under the exchange programme. While renewals after three (3) years are possible, applications for such will be filed through the local Ausländeramt with jurisdiction of the employee’s place of residence in Germany. The authorities will determine if a renewal is possible, and will often require that the employee be placed on local Germany payroll.

Family Members – Dependents of Residence Permit with Work Authorization permits are granted permission to work in Germany.