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South Africans in Germany

Important facts

  • South African citizens need a visa to travel to Germany and a residence permit to stay longer than 90 days
  • A visa allows you to enter the country, you apply for your visa at the German Embassy in South Africa. You must apply for the correct long-stay visa, this is linked to the residence permit you will apply for once you are in Germany.
  • For a list of long-stay visas and their relevant information please view our long-stay visas page.
  • After arriving in Germany, you need to register at the Foreigners Office (Ausländerbehörde)
  • Thereafter you need to apply for a residence permit (Aufenhaltstitel or Aufenhaltserlaubnis), which allows you to stay in the country for longer than 90 days
  • You do not need an agency or immigration lawyer to assist you.
  • The embassy in South Africa is extremely helpful, if you have all your paperwork in order, the process should go well. Their website is very informative.
  • Under certain circumstances, you can obtain a visa to look for work.
  • We (our FB page and this website) are not an immigration service and can only advise you where to get the official information.
  • You are not allowed to work in Germany if it is not explicitly stated on your residence permit

Your options for living long term in Germany

01. Employment

Below you will find pages where you can find more information about finding a job in Germany. There are some professions in demand with relaxed entry requirements, read more on Make in it in Germany. There are different Employment visas available, for example ICT, Blue CardWork visa for qualified professionals and a work visa for IT professionals

Working in Germany

Working in Germany Everything you need to know about finding work in Germany, what your resume must look like,  recognition of studies, vocational careers, medical, pension and taxes.

02. Training

Find a training position – dual training or vocational training.

The German Vocational Training System

An Ausbildung is a form of vocational training or apprenticeship where a student attends school and works simultaneously. The student gains both theoretical and practical knowledge at the same time.The training usually starts in September every year, but can start at other times as well.

03. Study

Enroll at a University or Hochschule (Technical University). 

Study in Germany

Types of learning institutions Hochschule is the name for higher education. Under this, you can get the following institutions.  Fachhochschule – Univerisity of applied sciences.  Technische University – Technical University  University – for academics. They offer doctoral and research programs Where to start If you

04. Jobseekers Visa

According to Section 20(1)(2) AufenthG (German Residence Act), persons can obtain a “Jobseekers” Visa. More information on the Make it in Germany website

05. Freelance

Freelancing in Germany

You can set up your own business in two ways, one is to work as a freelancer or as a self-employed entrepreneur (Gewerbe).  If you want to work as a freelancer in Germany, you will need to apply for a Residence permit for the purpose of freelance employment.

06. Au Pair

Au Pair or voluntary service

07. Language Course

Enrol in a German language course. 

Study German in Germany

You can apply to study German in Germany. For this, you need to apply for a Long Term Visa National Visa. Take note that the procedure is different from that of a tourist visa. 

08. Family reunification

Join your family in Germany

Family Reunification Visa

“German citizens or citizens from non-EU countries who have an Aufenthaltserlaubnis (residence permit) or a Niederlassungserlaubnis (settlement permit) are allowed to bring their relatives to Germany. This is known as the ‘reunification

09. Recognition of qualifications

According to Section 16d AufenthG (German Residence Act) –  “For the purpose of recognising professional qualifications which a foreigner has acquired abroad, a foreigner is to be granted a temporary residence permit to undertake a qualification measure and to take a subsequent examination, if a body responsible according to federal or Länder regulations regarding recognition of professional qualifications has determined that adaptation or compensation measures or further qualifications are necessary”. Read more on the Make it in Germany website

10. Visa for research

According to Section 18d AufenthG (German Residence Act) –  You can apply for a visa for research in Germany. Read more on the Make it in Germany website

11. Language Teachers

Under certain conditions, you may be granted access to the German labour market as a language teacher. You can either be employed at a school or work as a freelancer.  Read more on the Make it in Germany website

The best websites for finding information

Welcome Centres

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