How to Legally Stay in Europe Longer Than 90 Days

Updated: Oct 16, 2019

For those enjoying a 90-day European adventure, the time can fly by in the blink of an eye. After just three months of travelling, many people find themselves needing to leave the Schengen Area for 90 days to ‘reset’ their Schengen Visa (you are not allowed to stay in the Schengen Area for more than 90 days in a 180-day period).

'The Schengen area comprises Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

The following European countries are not part of the Schengen area: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, United Kingdom.'


Fortunately, there are several options available that allow you to extend your stay in Europe for longer than 90 days. Your best bet is to secure a national visa that allows you to live, work or study in a European country for longer periods. Often called a residence permit, a national visa can be a type of work permit such as a Working Holiday Visa, Employment Visa, EU Blue Card or Freelance Visa. But a national visa doesn’t necessarily have to be work-related and there are a number of good non-work related options such as the Language School Visa or Au Pair Visa.

Importantly, the days spent living in a European country on a national visa do not count towards your 90-day Schengen Visa or 90-day visa-free period. Your national visa will pause your Schengen Visa/90-day visa-free period until you enter the Schengen area again. Therefore, rather than simply waving goodbye to your European adventure after 90 days, you can enjoy living in one of many great European countries for longer periods on a national visa (and continue to travel for 90 out of 180 days in the Schengen Area). In this article, we will profile a few of the visa options available to you in Germany.


At Nomaden Berlin, we provide relocation packages to help international people relocate to Berlin, in turn ensuring that they can secure a national visa for Germany and stay longer-term in Europe – check out our relocation programmes to see how we can help you apply for a national visa for Germany.

Why Berlin is the perfect base for continuing living in Europe after your 90-day Schengen Visa or 90-day visa-free period


So, you’ve fallen in love with Europe on your 90-day travels and are keen to extend your stay on the continent. For this, we can think of few better places in Europe than Berlin. Before we look at the different national visas available in Germany, let’s take a quick look at why we think Berlin is your perfect base for a longer stay in Europe.


Berlin’s English-Speaking Job Market


Berlin is a city in transition with a wide range of new opportunities cropping up for English speakers in the Berlin job market. With a thriving startup scene that employs 52% non-German speakers, a hospitality sector that is increasingly looking for English speakers to service a growing international clientele, and a roaring tourism industry, the Berlin job market is becoming increasingly attractive for expats relocating to the German capital.


With this growth and diversity in the English-speaking job market in Berlin, there are ample opportunities for securing a work-related national visa for Germany. See which work-related visas you may be eligible for below.


For further information about the English-speaking job market in Berlin, check out our blog posts on the topic:


Berlin Startup Jobs: A Sector in Flux How to Find an English-Speaking Job in Berlin


Cost of Living in Berlin


While the English-speaking job market is looking promising, this is just one factor to consider when debating a move to Berlin. While on the rise in the last few years, the cost of living in Berlin remains significantly cheaper than other European capitals.


With a furnished studio costing around €700 in a decent part of town and a room in a flatshare costing around €450, rents remain below half what you can expect to pay in London or Amsterdam. On top of this, unlimited monthly transport comes in at €81 while a standard restaurant main course and drink will set you back around €12. Again, this is significantly cheaper than most other European capitals. See our blog post on the Cost of Living in Berlin in 2019 for further info.


Fun and Games in Berlin


Read any blog or article about Berlin and it quickly becomes clear that Berlin is an adult playground. Berlin is awash with bars, restaurants and world-famous nightclubs, with over 50,000 revellers taking to the city’s dancefloors every weekend. When you combine this entertainment factor with the city’s 2500 parks, countless exhibitions, museums, shows and rich history, you get a perfect balance between culture, fun and relaxation.

National Visas for Germany


If you are a citizen of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea or the US, then you can apply for any of the visas mentioned below after your arrival in Germany. The only exceptions to this are that US citizens are not eligible for a Working Holiday Visa, while South Korean citizens must apply for the Working Holiday Visa in South Korea. Citizens of Brazil may apply for national visas after their arrival in Germany if it is not a work-related visa.


Note: To apply for any national visa in Germany, you first have to have registered your address in Germany, a process that is known as Anmeldung. As part of our Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro programme, we offer 30-day private studio accommodation with Anmeldung. This ensures you get registered in your first week in Berlin, meaning you will experience no delays applying for a national visa for Germany in Berlin.


Top tip: Always check before leaving your home country if you need to apply for a national visa before entering Germany, i.e. at a German embassy overseas or in your home country

1. Working Holiday Visa for Germany


Visa length: one year (although Canadian citizens can apply twice)


Age restriction: only persons aged 18 – 30 (35 for Canadians) can apply for the Working Holiday Visa.


Who can apply for the Working Holiday Visa: Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Argentina, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Israel and Chile.


Where can you apply for the Working Holiday Visa:


A Working Holiday Visa is a residence permit that allows travellers to undertake employment in Germany to supplement their travel funds. The visa allows young people to work and experience living in a foreign country without you having to have a sponsored job lined up before your arrival. As the Working Holiday Visa can be applied for without a work contract, it gives you considerable flexibility and allows you to work for any employer in Germany or change employers without you needing to go through an approval process as for the EU Blue Card or Employment Visa.


The main application requirements for the Working Holiday Visa for Germany are:

  • travel insurance for the full duration of the visa

  • proof of funds (this varies depending on where you apply)

  • completed visa application forms

Depending on what country you are from and where you apply for the visa, other documents may be required such as a motivational letter and proof of your flight booking.


For more information about the Working Holiday Visa for Germany, see our other blog posts:


What You Need to Know About the German Working Holiday Visa

Where Should You Apply for the Working Holiday Visa for Germany and Why

Why You Should Move to Berlin for Your Working Holiday


At Nomaden Berlin, we are working holiday specialists and have helped over 200 participants successfully apply for the Working Holiday Visa for Germany. If you would like support with your application or any other relocation services related to moving to Berlin, check out our programmes here.


2. Employment Visa for Germany


Visa length: up to three years depending on the length of your work contract. The Employment Visa can be renewed.

Age restriction: none


Where can you apply for the Employment Visa for Germany:

  • Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, Japan, Israel and South Korea can enter Germany visa-free for a 90-day period and apply for the Employment Visa in Germany.

  • Citizens of all other countries may apply for the Employment Visa at a German diplomatic mission in the country that they are resident in.

The Employment Visa is definitely the most common work permit for expats. To apply, you first need a solid job offer and work contract from a German-based company. Employment Visa applications are assessed by the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) who will determine whether your job offer is strong enough to be approved for the visa.


Citizens from Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Israel, New Zealand or the US are subject to less strict requirements when it comes to the Employment Visa for Germany. Notably, you don’t need a university qualification in order to be able to apply and you can be approved with both skilled or unskilled work so long as it meets some basic requirements.


For support and guidance with finding work in Berlin and applying for the Employment Visa for Germany, check out our relocation programmes.


3. EU Blue Card for Germany


Visa length: up to 4 years depending on the length of your work contract. The EU Blue Card for Germany can be extended.


Age restriction: none


Where can you apply for the EU Blue Card for Germany:

  • Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, Japan, Israel and South Korea can enter Germany visa-free for a 90-day period and apply for the EU Blue Card in Germany.

  • Citizens of all other countries may apply for the EU Blue Card at a German diplomatic mission in the country that they are resident in.

What benefits do you get from the EU Blue Card for Germany:

  • You can be granted a 4-year EU Blue Card if applying with an unlimited work contract.

  • If living in Germany on an EU Blue Card, you can apply for permanent residence for Germany after just 33 months and 21 months if you obtain B1 German language skills.

  • You are able to leave the EU for up to 12 months and still maintain the right to reside in Germany.

  • With the exception of the UK, Denmark and Ireland, you are permitted to move to another EU country after living in Germany for 18 months on an EU Blue Card.

  • On an EU Blue Card, your spouse will also have full rights to work in Germany.

The main application requirements for the EU Blue Card for Germany are:

  • A university degree that is recognised in Germany. In general, your qualification should match your job. Use our guide to see if your qualification is already recognised in Germany.

  • A job offer from a German-based company with a minimum annual salary of €53,600.

  • A job offer from a German-based company with a minimum annual salary of €41,808 if you work in a shortage occupation.

When it comes to national visas for Germany, the EU Blue Card is undoubtedly the best and strongest visa for Germany. As a result, it is also the most difficult visa to obtain.


Send an email to info@nomadenberlin.com to see how our relocation programmes can help you secure an EU Blue Card for Germany.


4. Job-Seekers Visa for Germany


Visa length: six months


Age restriction: none


Where can you apply for the Job Seekers Visa for Germany:

  • Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, Japan, Israel and South Korea can enter Germany visa-free for a 90-day period and apply for the Job Seekers Visa in Germany.

  • Citizens of all other countries may apply for the Job Seekers Visa at a German diplomatic mission in the country that they are resident in.

The Job-Seekers Visa for Germany allows highly qualified candidates to reside in Germany for up to 6 months while searching for work.


To apply for a Job-Seekers Visa for Germany, you require:

  • A university degree that is recognised as being comparable to a German university qualification. In general, this needs to be a 3-year bachelor’s degree from a recognised foreign university or college. To check if your university or degree is recognised in Germany, see our guide.

  • Proof of funds to show that you can support yourself throughout the 6-month visa duration.

  • Travel insurance for the entirety of the 6-month period.

If you find suitable employment in Germany while on a Job-Seekers Visa, you are then permitted to apply for an Employment Visa at the immigration office in Germany.

If you’d like support with your Job-Seekers Visa application, email us at info@nomadenberlin.com to see how we can help.


5. Freelance Visa for Germany


Visa length: 1–3 years. The Freelance Visa for Germany can be renewed.


Age restriction: none


Where can you apply for the Freelance Visa for Germany:

  • Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, Japan, Israel and South Korea can enter Germany visa-free for a 90-day period and apply for the Freelance Visa in Germany.

  • Citizens of all other countries may apply for the Freelance Visa at a German diplomatic mission in the country that they are resident in.

As its name suggests, the Freelance Visa for Germany is for self-employed people or freelancers. In general, you require at least 2–3 potential clients based in Germany to be approved for the Freelance Visa for Germany.


For the Freelance Visa application, you may be required to present a wide array of documents, including a CV, revenue forecast, financing plan, health insurance, letters of intent to hire, freelance contracts, bank statements, letters of recommendation, portfolio, etc.


In short, you are generally required to demonstrate that your freelance work requires you to live in Germany and that you will be earning a sufficient amount to live off in Germany.


Many artists apply for this visa and it’s often referred to as the ‘artist visa’, but it is actually open to many different professions such as English teachers, translators, graphic designers, etc. As the application requirements vary greatly between German embassies overseas, we only assist with Freelance Visa applications that are lodged in Berlin. If you are eligible to apply in Berlin, get in touch by emailing info@nomadenberlin.com to see how we can help.


6. Au Pair Visa for Germany


Visa length: up to one year.


Age restriction: only persons aged 18 – 26 can apply for this visa.


Where can you apply for the Au Pair Visa for Germany:

  • Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, Japan, Israel and South Korea can enter Germany visa-free for a 90-day period and apply for the Au Pair Visa in Germany.

  • Citizens of all other countries may apply for the Au Pair Visa at a German diplomatic mission in the country that they are resident in.

There are a number of general requirements you must meet to be approved for an Au Pair Visa for Germany:

  • You need to have received an au pair contract from a host family prior to applying.

  • The host family you intend to work for should speak German at home.

  • You should have a basic understanding of German

The Au Pair Visa for Germany is a great way to develop your German language skills and experience German culture.

7. Language School Visa for Germany


Visa length: up to one year


Age restriction: none


Where can you apply for the Language School Visa for Germany:

  • Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, Japan, Israel and South Korea can enter Germany visa-free for a 90-day period and apply for the Language School Visa in Germany.

  • Citizens of all other countries may apply for the Language School Visa at a German diplomatic mission in the country that they are resident in.

To apply for a Language School Visa for Germany, you require:

  • A contract from a language school in Germany showing you are enrolled in an ‘intensive’ language course (i.e. at least 18-20 lesson hours per week). The language school visa will generally be issued for the length of your language course (e.g. if you only sign up for a 3-month language course, your language school visa will only be issued for a 3-month period).

  • Health insurance for the entirety of your stay

  • Proof of funds to show that you can support yourself throughout the visa duration.

You cannot work on the Language School Visa, but it’s a great visa to apply for if you simply wish to spend time in Germany learning the language.

As part of all of our relocation packages, we provide full visa information and support including all relevant forms and translated documents. We’ll ensure you meet all the documentation requirements for a national visa for Germany prior to your appointment, and that you are fully prepared for lodging an application with the German authorities.


On top of this, all our relocation packages include access to an extensive relocation platform that provides clear step-by-step guidance on exactly how, where and when to complete the different relocation steps for moving to Berlin. If you are looking for more comprehensive relocation support, our Berlin Pro and Berlin Kickstarter programmes include 30-day private studio accommodation in Berlin (including address registration), a visa appointment booking service, a relocation workshop, and more….. Book now to secure your spot!




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