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Guide for non-EU citizens:
Steps to obtain visa & residence title in Germany

If you're a non-EU citizen planning to work in Germany, securing your visa and residence title is essential. Explore our guide for a comprehensive walkthrough.

Steps to get visa and residence title

In principle, a visa is required in order to enter Germany to take up employment. Only a few nationalities are exempt from the visa requirement for entering. Check in advance whether you need a visa to enter Germany: Do I need a visa? ( Information on the visa procedure as well as the visa itself can be obtained from the German Mission Abroad in your home country (embassy or consulate). The responsible German Missions Abroad can be found here: German Missions Abroad - Federal Foreign Office (

The application for a long-term stay visa must be submitted by you personally. Applying for a long-term stay visa can take several months. There may also be waiting times when applying for an appointment at the German Mission Abroad. Therefore, inform yourself in time at the responsible German Mission Abroad about requirements and necessary documents. You can find more information about the visa process here: Visa procedure (

After entering Germany, you must promptly apply for a residence title at the Foreigners' Registration Office at your place of residence. Please note that the application must take place before the visa expires. If you enter the country without a visa, you must apply for the residence title at the responsible Foreigners' Registration Office within 90 days after the entry.

young man standing on a rooftop in Berlin

Types of residence titles for the Federal Republic of Germany

In the Federal Republic of Germany there are different residence titles depending on the purpose and duration of the stay:

  • Residence Permit
  • EU Blue Card
  • ICT Card
  • Settlement Permit
  • Permit for permanent residence EU

On the following pages you can check which residence title is the right one for you and how you can apply for it:

Visa-Navigator (

Quick-Check (

Recognition of qualifications


Depending on your country of origin and occupational field, a recognition of your professional qualification may be required. The recognition of foreign professional qualifications or the comparability of a university degree is usually a prerequisite for the issuance of a visa to citizens of non-EU countries. You can find detailed information on recognition here: 

Who needs recognition? (

Recognition Portal (

Recognition of Qualifications | Bundesagentur für Arbeit (

Helpful general information for your start in Germany

Coming to Germany from a non-EU country: First steps in Germany


In order to start working for us, you will need further documents or proof in addition to your residence title. You should complete the following steps after your arrival in Germany:

  • Registration at the Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt) within 2 weeks. After successful registration you will receive a tax identification number (Steueridentifikationsnummer) by mail.
  • Registration with a health insurance company. After registration you will receive a social security number (Sozialversicherungsnummer) from the German Pension Insurance (Deutsche Rentenversicherung).
  • Recommendation: Opening a German bank account because it makes life in Germany easier
  • Application for a residence title at the Foreigners' Registration Office
Overview of important contacts for immigration to Germany

Where do I do what?

FAQ and helpful links

Do I need private or statutory health insurance? What is the difference?
What is a social security number and where do I get it?
What is a tax identification number and where do I get it?
What is the difference between social security contributions and taxes?
Which further insurances should I take out in Germany
How do I open a bank account in Germany?
How and where can I learn German?