Step-by-Step Guide to the German Visa for Developers
HR Tips Ewe Grajko
Honeypot offers free visa support for all non-EU developers hired in Germany through our platform. We believe that for European tech hubs to be great, they need to compete on par with San Francisco in terms of talent attraction. First step is to know all about the visa process here in Germany.
70 percent of software developers working in Silicon Valley in 2013 were foreign-born, fuelling innovation in the Bay area. Aspiring startup hubs in European cities, often looking to mirror San Francisco’s success, traditionally boast a less impressive trail of statistics when it comes to hiring from abroad:
- Immigrants wait an average of 81 days in Europe to procure a working visa for start-ups, a total of 40 days more than Silicon Valley.
- On average it takes 7 days longer (47 days in total) to hire a software engineer in Europe than in San Francisco (40 days in total)
- In Berlin it takes 50 days on average to hire a software developer and 54 days in Paris.
Below we detail the process of getting the visa in Germany. If you want more information about the Blue Card you can read this post.
Company has to apply for the developer’s work permit in Germany
Send the original signed contract to the developer. He/she will need it for the embassy appointment.
Send the developer a screenshot of his/her degree found in the Anabin database: Anabin is a database listing foreign higher education qualifications and academic degrees in relation to German diplomas and degrees. If the developer brings the Anabin database screenshot to the embassy, it may speed up the process. If it’s not in the database, the Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen (ZAB) will be in charge of certifying the degree (the developer will have to cover a 200 EUR fee) - if this is necessary, both sides will be informed.
- Fill out the following necessary forms:
- the Erlaubnis einer Beschäftigung form, a formal letter stating why the company wants to hire this specific developer
- the Stellenbeschreibung form (which has to be very detailed, if the developer doesn’t get the Blue Card salary). Blue Card is an approved EU-wide work permit, valid up to 4 years, giving its holders a series of rights (eg. family reunification). Salaries vary depending on the developer’s educational background: qualified employment with min. €50,080 gross p.a. or, in occupations with shortages, a gross salary of €39,624.
- a proper job description
Submit the application to the Arbeitsagentur together with a scanned copy of the developer’s passport and diploma (should be already translated), the developer’s CV (also translated to German), and a copy of the contract.
In the meantime the developer is applying for a German residence permit from their home country.
Wait until the granted work permit is sent to the embassy in the developer’s home country/or country of application and also to the company. The developer should now pick up his/her residence permit. In the meantime, make an appointment at the local Ausländerbehörde (for the developer’s registration in Germany and to pick up his/her Visa), as the waiting time can oftentimes be several weeks.
- The developer arrives to Germany!
The developer applies for their residence permit in the German embassy
Receive original contract from the company: this is necessary for the appointment at the Germany embassy.
Book an appointment at the German embassy: find the instructions on the German embassy’s website for what you need to bring (application form, passport, original contract, translated diploma). Make sure to check for available time slots as soon as possible as waiting times can be long. The embassy appointment is just to see you in person, deliver documents, and maybe have a small talk - nothing major to prepare for.
Bring the printed screenshot of your degree from the Anabin database (the company sends this to you) to the appointment. The embassy is in charge of verifying your education. If the degree is not in the database, it will be certified by Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen (ZAB). The cost amounts to 200 EUR and needs to be covered by you.
Pick up your permit: once the work permit is granted in Germany, it will be sent to the embassy and usually also to the company. You will be informed accordingly. Pick up the documents and a passport “stamp” at the embassy.
Time to go to Germany! The process continues here, requiring registration in Berlin (Bürgerämt) and a visit to the Ausländerbehörde with all the necessary documents. From now on your company’s HR will lead you through the upcoming steps, but our infographic might be of help too.
Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen (ZAB): The ZAB is the Central Office for Foreign Education. The ZAB issues the Statement of Comparability for Foreign Higher Education Qualifications, which facilitates access to the German labour market for holders of foreign higher education qualifications.
Anabin: The Anabin database lists and classifies accepted foreign education certificates.
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