Work Permit for Students from Non-EU-Countries

To work as a student intern in Germany all non-EU citizens need a work permit for foreign students as well as a visa. The work permit is required for the issuance of the visa and is to be applied for at the ZAV (branch of German employment authority) in Germany. The ZAV issues work permits for student internships to the following individuals:

  • Students with a foreign nationality, who intend to perform an internship that is directly related to their studies
  • Students who, at the time of the internship, are enrolled at a foreign university or college and who have completed at least 4 semesters of studies (i.e. are in their third year)
  • The study program that the student is enrolled in can either be full or half time, evening schools or distance learning is also accepted. If it is not full time, it must take up at least 50% of the time of a comparable full time study program

An application for a student work permit for foreigners always has to be filed for a specific internship position. Therefore you have to find a suitable internship first before you can apply for the work permit. In general the application has to be filed by the employer i.e. the company. The exact start date of the internship can be postponed, but any change of date needs to be approved by the ZAV. After the German employment office (ZAV) granted the work permit for your student internship, the next step will be for you to apply for an internship visa for Germany. This will be provided through the German representation (i.e. embassy or consulate) in your home country. In order to apply for a student visa you must present the work permit that you obtained from the German employment office, as without it no student visa can be issued. We are happy to advise you on both topics free of charge and without any commitment. Regarding the visa the following appliers:

  • Citizens of the EU member states (except Bulgaria and Romania) do not need a visa for the stay related to their internship
  • For citizens of the United States of America, Canada, Israel, Japan, Korea, Australia und New Zealand are allowed to stay for 3 months for an internship in Germany. Following these 3 months, the student intern will need to apply for a residence permit from the foreigners' registration office (the work permit from the ZAV is however still needed for this group of applicants)
  • For citizens of all other countries a visa is compulsory

In any case the visa (if applicable) is to be obtained before entering the country. Upon arriving in Germany, the intern needs to report to the local residents' registration office and afterwards also to the foreigners' registration office.