Updated: Feb 10
While many people arrive in Berlin to search for work, there are also a significant number of expats moving to the German capital with a job lined up. If you are fortunate enough to already have landed a job in Berlin before your arrival, then you are well on your way to becoming a fully-fledged Berliner. However, there are still a fair few relocation steps that you need to complete before you can actually start working in Berlin.
In this blog post, we will cover some of the steps to consider if moving to Berlin with a job lined up. From visas and address registration to accommodation and health insurance, there are some important pre-requisites that must be ticked off before you can get cracking in your new role.
Related Blog Posts
1. Visas and Residence Permits
Unless you are an EU/EEA citizen, you’ll need to secure a valid work visa before you can start working in Berlin. Here there may be a number of options available to you, including the EU Blue Card, Employment Visa or Working Holiday Visa.
EU Blue Card
When it comes to visas and residence permits for Germany, the EU Blue Card is undoubtedly the crème de la crème, the showstopper, the pièce de résistance. It is a visa for highly-skilled non-EU citizens and comes with a number of benefits compared to a standard Employment Visa for Germany and will give you the greatest flexibility to work and live in Europe in the long-term.
The EU Blue Card comes with a host of benefits:
If applying with an unlimited contract, you will receive an EU Blue Card that is valid for 4 years after which it can be extended.
An EU Blue Card permits you to apply for permanent residence in Germany after 33 months. And if you get your German up to a B1 level, then you are eligible for permanent residence after just 21 months!
On an EU Blue Card, you are permitted to leave the EU for up to 12 months while maintaining the right to live in Germany.
After staying in Germany for 18 months on an EU Blue Card, you are permitted to move to another EU country (except for the UK, Ireland and Denmark).
If you have lived in another EU member state on an EU Blue Card, this may count towards your right to permanent residence in Germany.
Once you’ve obtained an EU Blue Card, your relatives will also have full rights to work in Germany.
Due to its many benefits, it’s no surprise that EU Blue Cards aren’t just handed out willy-nilly. To lodge an EU Blue Card application, there are a number of boxes you must tick to be eligible:
Generally, you must hold a university-level qualification that is recognised in Germany. In most cases, your degree should align with the job that you are applying for an EU Blue Card with. It’s possible to apply for an EU Blue Card without a university qualification if you have a minimum of 5 years’ experience in your specialist field. To check whether your degree is recognised in Germany, check out our guide on how to search the Anabin database.
You must have secured qualified employment at a company in Germany with a minimum gross salary of EUR 53,600.
If you work in a shortage occupation, you are eligible for an EU Blue Card if your gross salary is over EUR 41,808 per annum.
Once you have proof that your qualification is recognised in Germany and have secured qualified employment in Germany that meets the salary requirements for an EU Blue Card, you’re ready to apply for the EU Blue Card.
If you are from Australia, Japan, Canada, Israel, South Korea, New Zealand or the US, you can enter Germany visa-free for a 90-day period and apply for the EU Blue Card directly at the immigration office in Berlin.
If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen and not from one of the countries listed above (Australia, Japan, Canada, Israel, South Korea, New Zealand or the US), then you are required to first apply at a German diplomatic mission in your country of residence.
If you do not meet the requirements for the EU Blue Card for Germany, then you may wish to apply for its younger brother, the Employment Visa. In most cases, this is your second-best option if moving to Berlin for work.
In all cases, you first require a firm job offer in Germany to be able to apply for the Employment Visa, after which you will be required to seek approval from the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) who will determine whether your application is sufficiently strong to grant you access to the German labour market.
The German Employment Visa is open to all nationalities and ages. In general, the visa will be awarded if:
You have a specific job offer from an employer in Germany and have been issued a work contract.
Your employment terms are deemed comparable to that of a German worker in a similar role (assessed by the German Federal Employment Agency).
Your employment doesn’t adversely impact the German labour market as a result of the employment of foreign workers.
There are not any preferential candidates (i.e. German citizens or EU/EEA citizens) available to fill the rile.
You hold a university-level qualification that is recognised as being comparable to a German degree or you have 5+ years of experience*. To check whether your qualification is recognised, see our guide on searching the Anabin database.
* If you are from Australia, Japan, Canada, Israel, South Korea, New Zealand or the US, then you are subject to less stringent requirements when applying for a German Employment Visa. Notably, you do not require a university degree. So, if you’ve landed a job with a German employer that meets these requirements, you’re ready to move on to the application stage!
If you are a citizen of Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, the United States or Israel, then you are permitted to enter Germany visa-free for a 90-day period and lodge your Employment Visa directly at the immigration office in Berlin.
If you are not from Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, the United States or Israel then you are required to first apply for an Employment Visa at a German diplomatic mission in your country of residence.
Working Holiday Visa
If you are looking to start your new job in Berlin as quickly as possible and want to initially avoid the pesky approval process that the Employment Visa is subject to, then the Working Holiday Visa may also be an option.
The Working Holiday Visa lets you live and work in Germany for up to 1 year (or 2 years if you are from Canada).
You can only apply for the Working Holiday Visa for Germany if you are a citizen of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Chile, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Israel, Hong Kong or Uruguay.
There is an age requirement for the Working Holiday Visa. You must be between 18 and 30 (35 for Canadians citizens) to be eligible for the German Working Holiday Visa.
The Working Holiday Visa is not tied to a specific job so you are free to change employers during your 1-year working holiday.
While citizens from some countries can apply at the immigration office in Berlin (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Israel), others must apply at a German embassy overseas or at the German embassy in their home countries.
If you opt for a Working Holiday Visa, there are a few things to bear in mind:
If applying at a German embassy overseas, you may have working restrictions placed on the visa. This may mean that you can only work for a single employer for 6 months, after which you need to find a new employer or upgrade to an Employment Visa. If you apply for the Working Holiday Visa in Berlin, then no working restrictions are placed on the visa.
The Working Holiday Visa for Germany is only valid for 1 year. If you wish to continue to work in Berlin after this date, you’ll need to upgrade to an Employment Visa or EU Blue Card. To upgrade, you’ll be subject to the same requirements and approval process that are described in the Employment Visa and EU Blue Card sections above.
If you think the Working Holiday Visa may be for you, then check out our frequently asked questions about the Working Holiday Visa for Germany.
How Nomaden Berlin can help you apply for a visa for Germany?
As part of all of our Berlin relocation programmes, we offer full visa support and application guidance. Whether you plan on applying for an EU Blue Card, Employment Visa or Working Holiday Visa, we’ll guide you through the application process whether you are planning to apply at the immigration office in Berlin or at a German embassy overseas.
We will ensure you are aware of all the requirements and pre-requisites before applying and complete all the relevant steps for a successful application. In addition, we’ll provide all the relevant application forms as well as completed example templates to ensure that all your visa application paperwork is in order prior to your appointment.
2. Accommodation and Address Registration (Anmeldung) in Berlin
While securing a visa is essential for starting your new job in Berlin, another crucial administrative task is completing your address registration (Anmeldung) in Berlin. Address registration is the simple process of registering yourself as living at a Berlin address and really forms the backbone of your whole relocation.
So why is it so important?
You need to register at an address in order to receive a tax ID. Without a tax ID, you are able to start your new job but will be taxed at the highest rate until you can provide your employer with your tax ID.
You need to be registered at an address in order to be able to apply for a visa/residence permit in Berlin. Unless you have already secured your visa at a German embassy overseas, you will require address registration to apply for a work visa in Berlin and subsequently start working.
You need to have completed your address registration to be able to open most bank accounts in Berlin, sign up for phone contracts, receive your social security number, etc. In short, it all starts with Anmeldung!
While the address registration process in Berlin is simple enough, it is complicated by a competitive rental market that can make finding a suitable place to register incredibly tough. This can lead to significant delays to your relocation (and job start date) as you search for somewhere to live.
How Nomaden Berlin can help you register at an address in Berlin?
Our Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro programmes include 30-day private studio accommodation with address registration (Anmeldung). On our Berlin Kickstarter and Berlin Pro programmes, we ensure you complete your address registration in your first week in Berlin, thus ticking off this all-important step and paving the way for a smooth relocation.
The programmes also include an address registration appointment booking service and all the relevant address registration paperwork, which we will help you complete prior to your address registration appointment.
3. Key Documents Required to Start a Job in Berlin
Once you’ve secured your work visa and registered your address, you’ll be required to provide your new employer with some documents in order to start work and be fully on-boarded. These will include:
Tax ID. This is automatically generated once you have registered your address. Without it, you’ll be taxed at the highest tax bracket until you are able to provide your employer with this number.
Health Insurance Membership Certificate. In Germany, it is mandatory to be signed up for German health insurance if working for an employer. Your employer is responsible for paying 50% of your health insurance contribution and will need your health insurance details before your first payroll.
German Social Insurance Certificate. As an employee in Germany, you’ll be required to make social contributions. Your employer will need your social number before your first payroll.
German bank account details. Many employers will require that you have opened a German bank account in order to pay you your salary.
How Nomaden Berlin can help you obtain the key documents required to start a job in Berlin
As mentioned above, your tax ID is automatically generated once you have registered at an address in Berlin. By signing up for our Berlin Kickstarter or Berlin Pro programme, we offer accommodation that ensures you get registered in your first week in Berlin, meaning that you’ll receive your tax ID shortly after. This is undoubtedly the quickest route to obtaining your tax ID after your arrival in Berlin.
All of our relocation programmes include detailed information and recommendations for German health insurance. We have partnered with a broker at one of the leading insurance firms in the city who will ensure that you can quickly sign up for a policy and get all the relevant paperwork for your job start date. Our insurance partner not only provides good insurance coverage but can also provide English policy documents and English customer support. Not only will our recommended broker expedite your health insurance membership certificate, but they can also order your social insurance certificate for you.
All our programmes include recommendations for different banking solutions in Berlin. We weigh up some pros and cons to give you an insight into what the best banking option is for your situation.
I hope you have found this post insightful and that it has helped clarify the steps you need to take if moving to Berlin with a job. If you are interested in receiving support with your relocation, then don’t hesitate to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our programmes here.