Germany Relaxes Student Visa Rules

Germany Relaxes Student Visa Rules

Germany has implemented the second phase of its updated skilled worker law, ushering in fresh regulations. 

Effective March 1, 2024, the German government has extended the working privileges and duration of validity for student permit holders. Moreover, it has initiated adjustments to facilitate certain permanent residency and family reunification procedures.

The government aims to draw skilled workers from various industries and is doing so through its international student visa route by relaxing regulations. 

Here are key changes international students should note:

Work opportunities before the start of studies  

Non-EU citizens can now apply for a visa for study purposes, allowing a stay of up to nine months for university application preparation. During this time, applicants can engage in language courses, collect necessary documents, and adjust to the country.

Prospective students from non-EU countries can now work up to 20 hours per week during these nine months to support themselves financially.  

These changes offer advantages to international students, including those who have yet to embark on their careers. The regulations streamline the blending of work and study in Germany across all levels of higher education, even before admission.

Apprenticeships for non-EU nationals  

Non-EU citizens interested in apprenticeships in Germany can now work while exploring opportunities. They are allowed a nine-month stay, provided they have a B1-level German proficiency and are under 35 years old. 

During this period, they can pursue part-time work and continue with 20 hours per week alongside their training once they secure an apprenticeship. 

International students can work more hours

Under the updated regulations, international students in Germany now have increased work opportunities to aid their financial support. 

The allowable time has been extended from 120 to 140 full days in any calendar year, equivalent to 20 hours per week, or 280 half days per calendar year. 

Extended post-study stay 

Graduates of German universities are now allowed an 18-month stay post-graduation for job search, with the option to apply for permanent residence after two years of employment. 

These rules will stay the same, but anyone who would like to stay in Germany after their graduation but change career direction will have an alternative visa route, by changing to an EU Blue Card or German Skilled Worker Visa.

Under the new German Skilled Worker Visa rules, applicants with a degree or vocational qualification recognised by Germany can apply if they have two years of relevant work experience, even if it’s not in the same field or industry as their qualification. 

In addition, the EU Blue Card has been made more and more accessible to professionals with university degrees.

If you require help with your visa application, do not hesitate to reach out to IaM.

Do you have plans to move and work in the EU? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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If you need help with a US visa, a UK Visa, or a visa to Europe, including help with appointment booking obligations, IaM can help. For more information and advice on US immigration, UK immigration law and US visa applications or if you need any help or assistance please, reach out to your Visa Coordinator at IaM.

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