Updated: Feb 8
Applying for a work permit for a foreign country can be tough, but the Working Holiday Visa allows you to move, live and work abroad without requiring you to have a sponsored job lined up before your arrival. It's a great way to travel and experience a different culture while earning money to support your time abroad.
We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions on the German Working Holiday & Youth Mobility Visa. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Working Holiday Visa as it is based on inter-governmental agreements and there is very limited information on it in the German residence act. The agreements are generally brief and do not go into much detail about the working stipulations and therefore are open to interpretation. As a result, different embassies have frequently provided us with wildly different information and guidelines. Despite this, the visa is a wonderful way to gain access to the German labour market without requiring approval from the national employment agency.
In the past two years, we have helped a large number of people successfully apply for the Working Holiday Visa. In addition, we have been in regular contact with German embassies, the immigration office in Berlin, immigration lawyers and the employment agency and collated some of our findings in this useful guide.
Due to the conflicting information provided by the embassies, we always stick to the advice given by the German immigration office, as you are ultimately subject to the rules and regulations of the country you will be living in.
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How Nomaden Berlin can help you apply for the Working Holiday/Youth Mobility Visa?
Before we look at some FAQs regarding the Working Holiday Visa, here are some ways we can help you apply and secure the visa in a hassle-free manner:
• Whether applying in your home country, in Berlin or at another German embassy overseas, our programmes provide comprehensive guidance and support on where, when and how to apply for your Working Holiday Visa. Our extensive information ensures you tick all the correct boxes for a quick and stress-free application. From completing the application forms correctly, meeting the pre-requisite requirements and taking out suitable insurance policies, etc., we ensure that you are fully prepared for your visa appointment. For further details about our programmes, check out our homepage.
• As part of our programmes, we will give recommendations on where to apply for the Working Holiday Visa to ensure you have the minimum possible working restrictions placed on your visa. Our blog post on where to apply for the Working Holiday Visa is a good starting point for further information about where to apply.
• Our Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro programmes include 30-day private studio accommodation where you can register your address (Anmeldung). If applying for the Working Holiday Visa in Berlin (see if eligible to apply in Berlin in table below), address registration is a crucial requirement for applying for the Working Holiday Visa and is also an essential administrative step to obtaining a tax ID, applying for German national health insurance, etc. On the Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro programmes, you will be registered in your first week in Berlin, which will then allow you to apply for the Working Holiday Visa shortly after. In addition, we’ll book your address registration appointment and provide the necessary paperwork for registering. For further details about the address registration process in Berlin, check out our blog post on Anmeldung.
Can I apply for the Working Holiday/Youth Mobility Visa?
You can apply for a Working Holiday Visa for Germany if you are between the ages of 18 – 30 (35 for Canada) and from one of the following countries:
Canada, Australia, Uruguay, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Israel, Argentina, South Korea, and Chile.
You are eligible to apply for the visa right up until your 31st birthday. For Canadians, your Working Holiday Visa is called the Youth Mobility Visa and you are eligible if you are between 18 and 35, and you can apply right up until your 36th birthday.
Where can I apply for the Working Holiday Visa
Where you apply is important as some restrictions may be placed on your visa when applying at certain embassies. Different embassies also have different application requirements. For detailed information on where to apply, please read our blog post on where to apply for the Working Holiday Visa and why.
Can I work full-time on a Working Holiday Visa?
Although some embassies may cite that you can only work mini-jobs, the German authorities have confirmed to us that you can work full time on a Working Holiday Visa. The number of months you can work full-time depends on what country you are from and where you have applied for your visa. For information about where to apply, see here.
If you wish to continue working in Berlin when your Working Holiday Visa expires, it's possible to apply for a Residence Permit for Employment in Berlin. On top of visa support for the Working Holiday Visa, all of our programmes include detailed instructions and support on how to apply for a Residence Permit for Employment once you come towards the end of your Working Holiday.
What documents are required for the Working Holiday Visa?
The application process varies for different countries and depending on where you apply. Included in our programmes is comprehensive visa support – we provide a complete list of required documents, completed example forms and are happy to check your application documents prior to your visa appointment to ensure that you are approved.
On top of this, we will provide guidance specific to your situation with regards to suitable travel insurance policies, proof of funds requirements and where to apply. We have a 100% success rate with assisting our participants in applying for a Working Holiday Visa for Germany. If applying in Berlin, you need to first complete your address registration (Anmeldung), which is included in our Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro packages.
How far in advance can I apply for the Working Holiday Visa?
In general, you can apply for the Working Holiday Visa 90 days before your intended arrival date in Germany if you plan on applying outside of Germany.
To apply in Berlin, you need to have a registered address (Anmeldung) in the city – at Nomaden Berlin, we offer 30-days short-term accommodation that includes a quick and simple registration service that means you can register at our apartments and quickly secure your Working Holiday Visa in Berlin.
How much does the Working Holiday Visa for Germany cost?
The Working Holiday Residence Permit costs €100 if applying in Berlin. If applying overseas, the cost varies but is between €56 and €100. For participants on our programmes, we usually recommend for them to apply for the visa after their arrival in Germany for reasons cited here.
What is the address registration requirement if applying in Germany?
You will need to officially register your address (Anmeldung) if you are applying for the Working Holiday Visa after you arrive in Berlin. To register an address, you must find an official place to live and the landlord must sign a form (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung) confirming that you live there.
As well as being an essential prerequisite for securing the Working Holiday Visa in Germany, address registration is also required to get a tax ID, take out a German health insurance policy and even set up a phone contract. You should register at an address before you start working. Therefore not completing this step quickly can cause you delays and unnecessary stress.
Our Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro programmes include 30-day private studio accommodation where you can register your address (Anmeldung). In addition, we also provide a registration service as part of our Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro relocation packages, which includes an appointment booking service and all the necessary paperwork to complete your address registration. Berlin's current rental market can make it tricky to initially find a property to register at, something that can be a frustrating roadblock to getting set up in the city. However, on our Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro programmes, we ensure that you are registered in your first week in Berlin.
Note: it is not generally possible to register at a friend's address or at an Airbnb as you require the landlord's permission, and they are usually not keen to allow this for short-term stays.
When I start working in Germany, do I need to apply for German insurance even if I already have travel insurance?
Yes. It’s a catch 22 unfortunately. You need travel insurance to apply for the Working Holiday Visa, but to start working for a company in Germany, you must have German health insurance instead of travel insurance. It’s compulsory in Germany to be covered by German health insurance if you are working for an employer. However, as part of our relocation programmes, we recommend a workaround that can save you around EUR 400 on your travel insurance.
Will I find a job in Berlin if I don’t speak German?
While we can’t guarantee you’ll find a job, Nomaden Berlin has a high success rate in helping our participants find English-speaking jobs in Berlin. In general, Nomaden participants on a Working Holiday find employment within 2 – 4 weeks of arriving in Berlin. Berlin is a very international city with many opportunities for young people. The city has a booming start-up scene and 50% of all employees at start-up companies in Berlin are international employees.
You significantly increase your chances of finding a job in Berlin through joining our relocation programmes as we provide company listings of 500+ Berlin-based companies that employ non-German speakers and links to 80+ job boards covering all the main sectors in Berlin. On top of this, we provide helpful pointers and example templates for creating a German-style CV, tips for creating and optimising your LinkedIn profile and general resources and local knowledge for landing a job in the German capital. Check out our reviews on GoAbroad and Google to see how previous participants have benefited from this help.
What types of jobs are available to people on Working Holiday Visas?
There are English-speaking jobs available in a wide variety of sectors including hospitality, tech, finance, marketing, tourism, etc. We have participants working at N26, Zalando, Rocket Internet, Booking.com and other big names as well as bars and cafes across the city. We specialise in the English-speaking job market and provide extensive listings of 500+ companies that hire English speakers in Berlin.
Can I study on a Working Holiday Visa?
You can study German at a language school, but if you wish to enroll in a German university, you should switch to a student visa. If you are living in Germany on a Working Holiday Visa, the immigration office in Berlin will generally allow you to switch to a student visa while you are in the country.
You may study or complete training for 6 months on a Working Holiday Visa before you must switch to a student visa.
Is there a chance my Working Holiday Visa will be declined?
With Nomaden Berlin's support, we'll ensure that you meet all the prerequisites for a successful Working Holiday Visa application. Our travel insurance recommendations and detailed information about each of the application requirements has ensured that we have a 100% first-time success rate when it comes to Working Holiday Visa applications for Germany. If you are from Canada, Australia, Argentina, Israel, Chile, Uruguay, Japan, South Korea or New Zealand, our instructions and application guidance will ensure you are approved on your first application.
People applying in Berlin have had difficulty securing their visa if they are unable to provide proof of registration (Anmeldung) in the city. However, our Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro programmes include 30-day private studio accommodation where you can register your address (Anmeldung). In addition, we also provide a registration service as part of our Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro relocation packages, meaning you'll be registered in your first week in Berlin. This will ensure you meet the requirements for applying for the Working Holiday Visa in Berlin.
For citizens of Taiwan and Hong Kong, there is a limited number of Working Holiday Visas that can be given out per year – please check on your local German embassy’s website or email them for confirmation of how many Working Holiday Visas are still available.
Can I travel before my Working Holiday in Germany?
Yes, but this might use up time on your Working Holiday Visa as your visa will have a start date if you applied outside of Germany. If applying for your Working Holiday Visa after your arrival in Berlin, take note of how much time you have already spent travelling in the Schengen Zone and ensure that you have sufficient time left in your 90-day visa-free period to apply for the Working Holiday Visa in Germany.
Can I book an inbound flight to somewhere else in Europe?
Yes. You can fly to another Schengen country and travel for up to 90-days visa-free
in the Schengen Zone before your move to Germany. If you are applying for the visa after you enter Germany, it’s no problem to travel around Europe before you arrive, just always ensure you have enough time left on your 90-day visa-free period to register your address and apply for the visa in Berlin. With our support, we can help arrange your relocation so that you can successfully apply for your Working Holiday Visa within 5 days of arriving in Berlin.
If you are flying to a non-Schengen country (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), you must present an onward flight to Germany. If applying for the Working Holiday Visa overseas, travelling before you enter Germany may eat into your Working Holiday Visa time as you may be asked to put your visa start date from the day you enter Europe, this depends on the embassy though.
Do I need to do anything when I enter Germany?
No. Customs will look at your passport and Working Holiday Visa, that’s it. If you are eligible to apply for the Working Holiday Visa after you arrive in Berlin, customs will just look at your passport.
Do I need to purchase a return flight?
We would not recommend purchasing a return flight as plans often change and most people stay longer than expected in Berlin. While many people worry about arriving on a one-way flight, this is not a problem. However, if applying for the Working Holiday Visa outside of Germany, there are often higher requirements for proof of funds if you don’t purchase a return flight.
The only issue that may arise is when boarding the flight in your home country – occasionally the airline may ask you to show an onward flight from Germany as it’s the responsibility of the airline to ensure that the visa requirements of the destination country are met. To avoid any issues with the airline, check their onward flight policy before travelling.
It’s common for travel agents to strongly advise you to buy a return flight, but this may simply be an upselling tactic. The majority of our participants arrive on a one-way flight and have had no problems.
Am I allowed to enter Germany on a one-way flight if I am applying for the Working Holiday Visa in Germany?
Yes. Customs officers in Germany know that citizens of Canada, Japan, Israel, New Zealand and Australia can apply for the visa after entering Germany. If they ask you what the purpose of your visit is, you can say you will be applying for a Working Holiday Visa. If you apply for the visa before entering Germany, you can also arrive on a one-way flight.
If you hold a Working Holiday Visa, do you also need to apply for a residence permit?
No. A Working Holiday Visa is a type of residence permit and entitles you to stay in Germany for the duration of the visa.
Can I apply for the Youth Mobility Visa (Canada) after I arrive in Germany?
Yes, as of 2017 it’s now possible to apply for the Youth Mobility Visa after arriving in Germany.
Can I apply for the Youth Mobility Visa (Canada) twice and how do I do this?
Yes. You can apply for the Youth Mobility Visa twice under different categories. You can now apply for the second year directly in Germany. If you are applying under the work category, you need to bring a work contract with you to your visa appointment.
The categories are:
a) Young professionals who wish to obtain further training under a contract of employment and increase their knowledge of Germany’s language, culture and society.
b) Young citizens who wish to do a work placement in a business in Germany as part of their studies or training.
c) Canadian post-secondary students who wish to engage in an occupational activity during their academic vacation.
d) Young citizens who wish to stay in Germany for tourism and cultural discovery purposes while being authorized to work to supplement their financial resources.
For the first application, people generally apply under category D, and for the second application, people apply under category A and supply a work contract when applying.
This post is written based on our experiences with Working Holiday Visas. We have helped a large number of people successfully apply for Working Holiday Visa in Germany and abroad and are in regular communication with local embassies as well as the immigration office in Berlin. As rules and regulations are constantly changing, we will endeavor to update this post as regulations change. Due to the frequent changes, even immigration office staff are not always kept up to date. Note that local German embassies and immigration offices within Germany often give contradictory information so always go with the official information from the office where you will be applying. For participants on our programme, we will provide the most up to date information for where you are applying.
If you are thinking about moving to Berlin, don’t hesitate to get in touch at email@example.com