Once you’ve finished your studies in Germany, you may decide you’d like to stay in the country longer and start looking for somewhere to work. First, you will need to consider whether you’re eligible to look for work in Germany - especially if you’re an international student on a German student visa.
(Luckily for you, the job opportunities in Germany after graduation are good and the chances of international students getting employment are pretty high!)
In this guide, we’ll take you through all of your options as a newly-graduated international student and let you know the steps to work in Germany after graduation. This will include how you can get a working visa in Germany if you need one.
Can I stay & work in Germany when I complete my studies?
Yes. If you want to stay in Germany after you’ve graduated, you can.
You’re making a good decision to stay in Germany after your studies as we have the largest economy in Europe - so there’s no better place to start your career!
If you are from non-EU and non-EEA countries and currently hold a residence permit in Germany, you can apply to have it extended for a further 18 months, which should be enough time for you to find a job. During this time, you can also look for temporary jobs to earn money until you find something more permanent.
If you want to start preparing for employment, it’s time to start getting all of your documents (qualifications, residence permits, etc.) ready as you'll be asked to submit these during the interview process. You should also start working on your resume/CV that will showcase your skills, previous experience, and qualifications to prospective employers.
If you already know what company you want to work for, you can look for jobs directly on their website - most companies will have a ‘Careers’ or ‘Jobs’ section where new jobs will be posted.
You can also find jobs on online portals where lots of different companies will post positions they’re recruiting for. These portals are great because you can filter the results to only show positions that are relevant to the field you want to work in and your qualifications. Here are the most popular job portals in Germany:
If you’re studying with us at CBS, we also organise careers fairs on campus so our students can network directly with companies they may be interested in working for. We regularly invite experts from the business world to present their companies and tell their own success stories. First-hand. How often do you get the opportunity to meet a respected founder personality anyway? Career Events are there for you to broaden your horizons, get ideas for your own future and perhaps even find inspiration for a thesis.
In addition, we have our own job portal the CBS Career Center where you can directly apply for part-time and full-time positions in Germany and Europe. Our Career Service advises our students on which internships, companies, and departments at home or abroad best match their qualifications and career goals as well as when and how they should apply. We also assist our students in evaluating offers, optimizing application documents, and giving them plenty of tips to prepare for job interviews.
The time it takes to find a job in Germany will depend on your skills and qualifications, as well as how much demand there is for in your field at the time you’re applying.
Normally jobs like business, marketing, health care practitioners, engineers, and IT specialists are more in-demand, so if you’re applying to these roles you can expect to find a job quicker.
Even if you’re not applying for jobs in these fields, you shouldn’t need to worry too much. In Germany, we have an aging population so there are always plenty of companies looking for recent graduates to recruit.
If you want to make yourself more attractive to employers and get a job quicker as an international student, having a degree from a German university will help increase your chances of employment. If you’re looking to start a degree, you can take a look at the wide range of English-taught undergrad and graduate study programmes that we offer at CBS.
It also helps if you can speak some German. Even though there are many English-speaking jobs in Germany, having some German language skills will set you apart from other applicants and increase your chances of getting employed.
At CBS we focus our study programmes around future employment for our students by integrating language classes into all courses, to help them improve their German skills by the time they graduate. We also integrate business projects where students experience working with big German companies.
We also have a great careers service on campus that gives our students advice and support when trying to find a job.
If you’re planning to get a job in Germany after graduation and you’re from the EU (or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland), you don’t need to obtain a work permit in order to find employment.
You’ll be in the same situation as German graduates when it comes to employment, working conditions, and taxes.
If you want to find employment in Germany after your graduation and you’re not from an EU country, you don’t need to worry as there are a few different options you can choose from.
Your next steps will depend on whether you have a job offer from a German company at the time of your graduation.
We’ll take you through all of the different routes that are open to you, depending on your situation.
If you don’t have a job offer when you graduate, but still want to stay in Germany, you’ll need to extend your German residence permit. You’ll be allowed to extend this for a maximum of 18 months from the date of your final exam, which should give you plenty of time to find a job.
During the 18 months, you can also work any other job you’d like to get you by until you’re able to find permanent employment in the field of your studies.
To apply for an extension of your residence permit, you’ll need the following documents:
The visa extension form
ID and Passport
Proof of graduation from a German university
Proof of your finances
Proof of health insurance
When you get a job offer in the field related to the field of your studies that you would like to accept, you should apply for a German residence permit or EU Blue Card (similar to the US Green Card). You can remain in Germany while your application is pending.
Once you’ve been offered a job, with a minimum of a 1-year contract, you can apply for either an EU Blue Card, or a German residence permit.
The EU Blue Card is similar to the green card in the US. The EU Blue Card is a work- and residence permit for international students and professionals from non-EU/EEA countries.
To be eligible for an EU Blue Card you will need a degree from a German university and an employment contract with a company in Germany that pays at least €56,800 a year. In some fields that have a shortage of skilled workers, this may be €44,304 a year.
EU Blue Cards are normally issued for 4-year periods, but if your work contract is shorter than this, you will be issued a card for just the period of your contract - plus an additional 3 months.
To obtain an EU Blue Card, you need to make an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde (immigration office) in your state and submit the following documents:
Copy of your passport
A recent passport-style photo of yourself
The application form
Declaration of Employment Relationship (which your employer fills out)
Employment contract or job offer
Proof of residence in Germany
The Certificate of Evaluation (Zeugnisbewertung), if required
Occupation practice permit, if required
Proof of health insurance
When your application has been submitted, you have to wait for confirmation of your Blue Card before you start working.
Alternatively, if you find a job with a salary lower than €56,800, you can apply for a German residence permit, which would allow you to live and work only in Germany. Usually, it gets granted for 1 year with the possibility of extension if your situation doesn’t change.
When you apply for a temporary German residence permit, you have to state the reason you would like the permit (e.g. to work) and you will be allowed to do that, but you can’t engage with any activity outside of what your permit was granted for (that means that you can only work for the company stated in your work permit).
Most students will choose the EU Blue Card as it’s for a longer amount of time and will allow them to live and work not only in Germany but also in another EU state.
Once you’ve been a German resident for 33 months, you can then apply for a settlement permit which will let you settle permanently in Germany.
If you’ve decided to go back home after graduation, you can still apply for jobs in Germany if you decide to come back. In this case, you can apply for a job seeker visa.
A job seeker visa is a type of Germany work visa that allows people to stay in Germany for up to 6 months while they try to find employment.
To be eligible for a job seeker visa, you must be over 18, have a degree from a German university, have 5 years of work experience in the field of your studies, proof of your financial stability, and travel or medical insurance for your entire stay in Germany.
Like a student visa, you have to submit an application to the German embassy/consulate in your country with the following documents:
Printed and signed application forms
Copy of a valid passport
3 passport-format photos
Proof of health insurance
Proof of your finances (either in form of a blocked bank account or from a sponsor living in Germany)
Your CV and a cover letter
Diploma of your degree (or any other proof of academic qualification from a German or non-German university) as well as any certificates of previous work experience
Proof of accommodation in Germany
Confirmation of payment of visa fees (€75)
A Job Seeker Visa Germany cannot be extended over the 6 months. If you’re not able to find work within this time, you will, unfortunately, have to return home.
You are also not allowed to take on any employment while on a German Job Seeker Visa. Once you have found a job, you need to apply for a residence permit to gain employment.
Some companies may allow you to apply and go through the interview process without being in Germany. If this is the case, you can just apply for a residence permit or EU Blue Card once you have a job offer.
If you need to be in Germany to find a job, you should apply for a Job Seeker Visa which will allow you to stay in Germany for 6 months while looking for a job.
If you have any questions about your future in Germany after graduating, please get in touch with our international office, career service or schedule an appointment with one of our friendly student advisors.
We hope that you enjoy getting to know more about our school, study programmes and what we stand for. Follow us on Instagram & Facebook, get to know us at one of our Information Events, or Contact our student advisors to get more info.