February 2015

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 any 180 day period during the visa validity.

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 in any 180 day period during the visa validity. 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 principle visa category for temporary employment in Germany is the Residence Permit with Work Permission for employees under the International Personnel Exchange protocols. This is a category for employers to sponsor approved skilled workers to work in Germany on a temporary basis.

Note that there are several different specific categories of employment authorization in Germany including International Personnel Exchange for temporary assignments on expatriate contracts and local hires for long-term personnel who will be on a local contract.

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

1. Work Authorization application – filed with responsible local German Labor Office/local Alien office depending on type of application;
2. Long Stay Visa application – for visa nationals only. Filed with the Germany Consulate General with jurisdiction over the employee’s place of residence.
3. Entry into Germany;
4. Town Hall Registration;
5. Biometric Data Submission and Residence Permit application – upon finalization of the Town Hall Registration, the Residence Permit with Work Authorization application can be filed.

Estimated Processing Time – 4-8 weeks for visa nationals, or 2-4 weeks for “preferred nationals.”

Validity periods – Residence Permits with Work Permission are valid for up to three (3) years under the exchange program and depending on length of assignment. Any renewals after three years would have to be applied for at the local Ausländeramt responsible for their address und each case would need to be examined to see if a renewal is possible.  Normally a local contract is required at this point, however there are exceptions.

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

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