Non-EU nationals hired from outside Germany

There are many things that candidates outside the EU need to consider as part of their move here, including applying for visas for themselves and their families and arranging for a residence permit.

Visa application

Our new colleagues arriving in Hamburg from a non-EU country will need a visa prior to being able to enter the country in order to take up gainful employment.

It is important to apply for a D Visa/National Visa, as this is the only one which can be converted into a residence permit after your arrival. After receiving your employment contract, please make an appointment at your country's German Embassy for your visa application. The application can only be completed personally at the embassy. Please ensure that you bring all necessary documents with you. Since the issuing of the visa can take up to 3 months, we recommend our new employees get acquainted with the process and submit the application as soon as possible.

We will provide you with a corresponding letter for the embassy which explains, in German, why you fulfil the requirements of the Blue Card (a certain type of residence permit), which makes it easier to enter the German employment market and facilitates the visa issuing process as well.

Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, and the USA do not need a visa to enter Germany for taking up gainful employment. They can apply for a residence permit straight away once they have entered Germany.

Visa application for families

For our new colleagues who will relocate with their family, we usually suggest to first come to Hamburg alone in order to get used to the new environment and to find a suitable home for your entire family.

When applying for a visa, there are two possible options, both with advantages and disadvantages.

1. joint visa application
The easier process is to apply for a visa for your entire family at the same time. However, under this process, the rest of your family would need to follow you to Hamburg within three months. Otherwise, a new visa application has to be submitted.

2. individual visa application
The other option is for family members to apply for a visa individually at a later stage. This would give you more time to get acquainted to the new environment since there is no appointed time during which the rest of your family would need to follow. However, the individual visa application of your family results in an elaborate examination; e.g., you need to prove that your flat is big enough and that you earn enough money to support your family here in Germany. The criteria the immigration office imposes are easy to meet; however, they ask for a lot of paper work which needs to be handed in from your side and which takes time to closely examine. It can take between 4-6 months until your family members are granted their visas–longer than the time for a joint visa application.

Residence permit application

Once the visa has been issued and you have arrived safely in Hamburg, you will need to register and apply for the Blue Card at the Hamburg Welcome Center.

As Hamburg is a widely international city, the employees of the Welcome Center also speak English, which makes the process easier. We will arrange an appointment in the first two weeks after your arrival and provide support in preparing the necessary documents. After registering and applying for the Blue Card, you will receive the residence permit, usually after 3-4 weeks.

Blue Card

Since summer 2012, a new type of residence permit, the so-called Blue Card, makes it easier for university graduates and their families to start working in Germany.

Requirements for a Blue Card:

  • a German university degree or a recognised degree comparable to a German degree
  • an employment contract with an annual gross salary of at least 53 600 € (monthly 4 466,67 €), or a contract in a so-called “shortage occupation” (scientists, mathematics, engineers, IT-skilled workers) with an annual gross salary of 41 108 €  (Monthly 3 484€)

The main benefits of the Blue Card are that it also enables spouses of the Blue Card holder to work in Germany right away. Further, proof of German language knowledge is not required. In addition, a Blue Card holder can already apply for a settlement permit after 33 months, instead of the usual 60 months. More information on the Blue Card can be found on the German Federal Office for migration and refugees website.