Work Permits
Green Card
Finding a job
How to Apply
Green Card

In August 2000, the German government approved the issue of a "Green Card" type work permit for up to 20,000 IT and communications technology specialists. With these permits, foreigners and their families may enter Germany for a maximum of five years and work in the IT sector. Unlike the US Green Card this is not an immigrant visa which on expiry can lead to naturalisation. In order to work as an employee in Germany, foreigners require a work permit from the Arbeitsamt (Employment Office) and a residence permit from the Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Office). The Green Card will facilitate the issuing of these permits.

I. Who can enter Germany as an IT specialist or remain here?

The program applies to foreigners from non-EU states;
  • who wish to work as IT experts; and
  • have an appropriate university or technical college degree (Bachelor, Master, Diploma); or
  • can produce evidence that they will earn at least 100,000 gross per annum.

II. What do you have to do to get the "Green Card"?
  1. find an employer in Germany. In addition to the usual job offers in the relevant newspapers or the Internet , you can also contact the placement service for IT specialists of the Arbeitsamt and the Zentralstelle für Arbeitsvermittlung (Central Labour Placement Service) in Bonn (

  2. The next step is to apply for a work permit. Applications for a Green Card can be submitted up to 31 July 2003. In general, the future employer will apply to the local Arbeitsamt for the work permit. For this the employer must submit the certificate of your (college) university degree (in German or at least in an English translation) evidence of an annual gross salary of at least 100,000 .

    The Arbeitsamt then checks whether the position in question:
    • cannot be filled by a German or EU specialist;
    • your qualifications are adequate; and
    • whether your employer will provide the same salary and working conditions for you as for equally qualified German specialists.

    The Arbeitsamt generally decides within one week about issuing a work permit or guaranteeing in writing that a work permit will be issued.

  3. Immigration: When the work permit or a written notification that you will be issued with such a permit has been received, you can apply for a visa to enter Germany at the German embassy in your country. If you wish to enter Germany with your family you must provide evidence of adequate accommodation in Germany.

  4. After entering Germany, register at the Einwohnermeldeamt (residents registration office) or the Ausländerbehörde and apply for a residence permit. For this you must submit your visa, your employment contract and your work permit. If the issuance of a work permit is guaranteed in writing, this guarantee substitutes for your work permit during the first three months. Thus, you may begin work as soon as you enter Germany. Your spouse may only obtain his/her own work permit two years after entering Germany.

III. Are you presently studying at a German university?

The "Green Card" program enables you to move straight into employment after successful completion of IT studies. If you have found a job, you or your future employer can apply to the Arbeitsamt for a work permit. After that, you apply to the Ausländerbehörde for a residence permit.

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