Work Permit


The Stuttgart Region offers you interesting and sustainable career opportunities. The prerequisite for starting out on your career is a work permit.

As an EU citizen with the right to move freely, you have unrestricted access to the German employment market. You do not need a visa or a residence permit to enter Germany or work here. The same applies if you come from Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

If you are a citizen of another country, the rules on a work permit depend on where you come from and on your qualifications.

Croatian citizens
Citizens of third countries

If you want to come and work in Germany from a country that is outside of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), you need a residence title as well as permission from the ZAV.

You will have to apply to the German representative bodies abroad for a corresponding visa before coming to Germany (visa to take up employment).

Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand or the USA can also obtain the necessary residence title from the immigration authorities responsible after coming to Germany. To do this, register with the immigration authorities where you live soon after you arrive.

If you have already come to Germany with a national visa, you have to apply to the immigration authorities for a residence title that also entitles you to take up employment. You can use the municipality search in the right-hand column to find the immigration authorities responsible for your place of residence in the Stuttgart Region.

You can find information on entering Germany and on the different residence titles under Entry and Residence.

The rules for the work permit for citizens of third countries also depend on their qualifications:

Completed vocational training abroad

If you meet the following criteria, you can work in Germany with vocational training completed abroad:

  • The profession that you wish to pursue in Germany is a profession for which there is a 'bottleneck', or a lack of skilled specialists in Germany. These professions are listed by the Federal Employment Agency. Citizens of third countries can work in these professions if they have completed their training.

  • You have a specific job offer

  • Your completed training is recognised as equivalent to a German qualification. You must apply for recognition before your leave your home country.

Helpful hint: If the recognition body responsible finds that practical work is necessary for full recognition, e.g. work in a company in the form of an adaptation period, you can obtain a residence permit for a limited period of time in Germany for this purpose.

Training in Germany

If you would like to undertake in-company training in Germany, you can obtain a residence permit for this purpose with the approval of the ZAV.

Once you have found work that corresponds to your qualification after you have completed your training, you can obtain a corresponding residence title from the immigration authorities.

If you do not find a corresponding job straight away, you can also obtain a jobseeker's residence title. This is limited in time to one year. During that period you can do any kind of work to cover your living expenses.

Academics and graduates

All academics with a German third-level qualification or a recognised foreign third-level qualification or a qualification equivalent to a German third-level qualification can obtain the EU Blue Card residence title without the need for ZAV approval provided that the following prerequisites are met:

  • You have a job in Germany that corresponds to your qualification.

  • You earn a gross figure of at least EUR 50,800 per year.

Academics from the areas of mathematics, computer science, the natural sciences and technology as well as doctors can obtain an EU Blue Card if they earn just as much as comparable employees in Germany but no less than a gross figure of EUR 39,624 per year. In this case the ZAV has to give approval for employment.

If you have not yet found a job in Germany, you can come to Germany with a jobseeker's visa based on your foreign third-level qualifications for up to six months to look for a job. However, the visa does not include a work permit.

Graduates from German institutes of higher education

If you have obtained your qualification at an institute of higher education in Germany and have not yet found any suitable job after your studies, you can obtain a residence permit from the immigration authorities for 18 months to search for a job that corresponds to your qualifications.

During that period you can do any work to cover your living expenses.

Helpful hint: The ZAV's Migration Check provides initial guidance on whether or not you need a work permit.

You can find further information on residing in Germany and on the different residence titles under Entry and Residence. Information on working during and after your studies can be found under Training.


The Welcome Service Region Stuttgart (WSRS) is an offering in cooperation with the Stuttgart Region Skilled Specialists Alliance (Fachkräfteallianz Region Stuttgart) under the sponsorship of Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation (Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH). The project is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing Baden-Württemberg.