Whether you are considering getting your degree in Germany, you are currently getting your degree in Germany, or you are just about to graduate, then you have probably wondered: What comes next?

German job search visa / Aufenthaltstitel zur Arbeitsplatzsuche

Good news! Foreigners who receive a degree from a German university are allowed to stay in the country after graduation in order to to work. However, if you are not lucky enough to have a job lined up directly after graduation, and your student visa is running out at the end of the semester, then you are eligible for the job search visa (Aufenthaltserlaubnich zur Arbeitsplatzsuche).

To understand the rules regarding German residency permits, it is best to refer to the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz). The job search visa is covered in §16(4):

Nach erfolgreichem Abschluss des Studiums kann die Aufenthaltserlaubnis bis zu 18 Monaten zur Suche eines diesem Abschluss angemessenen Arbeitsplatzes, sofern er nach den Bestimmungen der §§ 18, 19, 19a und 21 von Ausländern besetzt werden darf, verlängert werden. Die Aufenthaltserlaubnis berechtigt während dieses Zeitraums zur Ausübung einer Erwerbstätigkeit. § 9 findet keine Anwendung.

In case you can’t understand German law vocabulary, this says that foreign graduates can receive a residence permit for up to 18 months after graduation to look for a job. Not bad, huh? If this sounds like something for you, then take a look at the facts listed below.


Who the job search visa is for:
Foreigners who have successfully completed their Bachelor’s/ Master’s/PhD at a German university and want to stay in Germany to look for a job.

To apply for this permit, you need:
• University degree
• Proof of finances
• Health insurance

Things to consider:
• You may not have your official diploma before your student visa expires
I didn’t receive my official diploma until about three weeks after the oral defense of my thesis. So, if your student visa is expiring shortly after your final exam(s), then you may need to get a letter from the registrar’s office confirming that you have completed all of the necessary requirements for your degree.

• You won’t qualify for student health insurance anymore
You no longer qualify for the student rate for German public health insurance once you exmatriculate from your university after completion of your degree. So, make sure to consider your options before graduation.

• You can work while you search for a job
While you are looking for a job, you can work in a non-qualifying position (i.e. a position that wouldn’t qualify you for a work visa such as a mini- or midi-job). Thanks to Lynnae for this info!

Once you do find a job that (1) aligns with your degree qualifications and (2) pays enough to support you (as calculated by your local foreigner’s office), you will then have to get a new residency permit – either a German residency permit or an EU Blue Card. But more about that later! Good luck!

P.S. I am currently on the job search myself, so wish me luck as I look for a job that aligns with my new qualifications and pays enough to support me in the comments below! 😉