As the most populous country and largest economy in Europe, Germany offers plenty of expat career opportunities. Major local, regional and global employers are present — and hiring — in all of Germany’s big cities. However only around 5% of jobs advertised in Germany are available to English speakers¹.
That means you need to do some research if you want to find jobs in Germany for English speakers. Use this guide to learn more about jobs in Germany for US citizens, and how to find them.
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Working in Germany as an American: visa options and requirements
A common choice is the German job-seeker visa, which allows you to stay in the country for up to six months while looking for a job².
Eligible applicants meet the following requirements³:
- They have a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree, or a recognized vocational qualification
- They can prove they have enough in savings to support their stay in Germany for a time
- They have travel or medical insurance to cover them until they get a work permit
If you have a vocational qualification you’ll be required to have functional German language skills to allow you to do your job.
The language requirement may be waived for university qualified professionals, although your chance of finding a job in Germany is significantly higher if you speak some German.
To apply for a job-seeker visa, first assemble the following documents.
- A valid passport
- A copy of the passport information page
- Up to three photos of yourself
- A cover letter explaining why you’re visiting Germany, the type of job you’re pursuing, and your backup plan if that doesn’t work out.
- A copy of your qualifications
- Proof of residence while in Germany
- Your resume or CV
- Bank statements that demonstrate you have enough in savings to support yourself
- Proof of citizenship in your home country (birth certificate, marriage certificate)
- Proof of health insurance
Applying for a Visa
After you have gathered the required documents, you must fill out and submit an application with the German Embassy or Consulate nearest your home. The exact process will vary from place to place, but you’re likely to need to:
It’s worth noting that this visa type doesn’t allow you to bring dependents into Germany, nor is it enough to actually start your new job once you find it.
This visa lets you enter Germany, look for a job, and work for up to 10 hours as a trial in a new position only. Once you have found a job in Germany, you’ll need to change your visa to a standard employment visa.
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Finding a job in Germany
As we noted above, you’ll ultimately need to get a standard employment visa once you have secured a job. Your employer will be able to help you with that — let’s focus now on how best to find work once you arrive in Germany.
Try job hunting on online platforms
Depending on your profession you may be able to find positions being advertised online, through your personal network, or through targeted job hunting.
Online platforms are the perfect place to start your job search, and you can begin to get a feel for the opportunities before you even head to Germany in person. Some popular sites which offer expat jobs in Germany include:
- Make it in Germany⁴
- Federal Employment Agency⁵
Learn about the German mini-job
You may come across “mini-jobs” while you’re job hunting in Germany. It’s worth noting that you won’t be able to get a work permit with a mini-job — and you’ll need to see if your visa will allow you to legally carry out a mini-job before you accept one.
In a mini-job, employers hire short-term workers to do a limited job, and pay no more than €450 Euros for it. The duration of the job can vary. Maybe an employee works two long days, or maybe they work a short time each day over a period of a week or so. But at the end of the gig, they get €450 Euros tax free, and the employer pays lower taxes than for full-time employees and no insurance.
Typical mini-jobs are in the service industry, like waiting tables, washing dishes, or cleaning. But they also often function like “temp” jobs and allow people to do office work⁷.
Look for English speaking jobs in Germany
It can be challenging to find a job strictly for English speakers in Germany, since many Germans are also fluent in English. One way to go about it is to look for a job in sectors with a high-demand for English speakers, like those listed below.
What about English speaking jobs in Berlin?
If you already know you’ll be in Berlin you can search for specific jobs by location on websites like englishjobs.de⁸. You can also get involved in the local expat community — even before you travel there — through social media.
By building a local network you’ll be well placed to hear about positions before you’re even publicly advertised.
Search for American companies hiring overseas
One option you shouldn’t overlook is working for a US based company which is either hiring in Germany, or which may relocate staff to its base there.
Some US giants like Amazon⁹, and popular tech firms like KAYAK¹⁰ have a big presence in Germany, as well as many startups and mid-size companies.
Start out by researching US companies in your professional field which have offices, headquarters or operations in Germany and see what you turn up.
Seek opportunities in large German companies
Germany has a large, developed economy, with many German companies household names all over the world. Check out automotive companies like Volkswagen and BMW, financial companies like Allianz SE or multinational engineering giant Bosch for example.
Start finding positions with companies like these by browsing their websites which will have a careers section. You can often upload your CV even if the perfect job isn’t yet available. Local headhunters and recruitment agents in Germany will also work actively with large German employers like these — so tapping into their knowledge is another smart move.
Things to know before working in Germany as an American
Getting excited for your new life working in Germany? Here are a few more things to know about before you travel.
Be ready for a change of pace
The lifestyle in Germany is likely to be a bit different to what you’re used to in the US. But that’s the whole point of moving abroad, isn’t it?
The really good news here is that compared to day to day life in many busy US cities, Germany’s culture is far more laid back, with a slower average pace of life and a better balance between work and leisure.
Germany’s culture puts a focus on work life balance which means that working hours are likely to be shorter compared to the US. While this does naturally vary depending on the industry you’re in, the general expectation is that you’ll have time to rest and relax rather than having to work overtime on a day to day basis.
German working culture is reputed to be guided by a principle of fairness. That means more equality and openness in matters of pay, and strictly set out processes for discipline and resolving issues. It also means that people generally work for the hours they’re contracted for — and not more.
Holidays and leaves
While vacation allowances do vary between jobs, you might find you get around 30 days of annual vacation leave, on top of 9 days of public holidays.
Sick leave is also generally more generous than in the US. Doctors are willing to give you a medical certificate covering enough time to truly recover from an illness, and more serious problems can be covered for an extended period — up to a year in some positions.
Budget before you travel
Moving to a new country is a big deal, and will require some careful planning. One important step is to build your budget. How much your relocation costs you can vary widely, but be sure to factor in key costs like:
Relocation and accommodation
Moving can be costly, but one way to keep your relocation costs low is to pack light. Don’t bring too much to your new home country, as the cost of shipping it all can easily reach thousands of dollars or euros. Bring only necessities and a small wardrobe, then buy what home goods and appliances you need in your new country.
When it comes to rent, the price you pay can vary depending on where you choose to live. It’s important to know though that not all rental properties will be move-in ready. You may need to buy and add fixtures and fittings, at your own expense.
Here’s a look at the rental costs in a few major German cities:
|1 bedroom apartment in the city center||1,162.96 USD||1157.03 USD||563.17 USD|
|1 bedroom apartment outside city center||836.06 USD||910.44 USD||492.72 USD|
|3 bedroom apartment in city center||2,278.88 USD||2,073.79 USD||1,274.85 USD|
|3 bedroom apartment outside city center||1,552.50 USD||1,608.58 USD||971.31 USD|
Moving your stuff and pets to Germany
Pack Light: Germany has strict rules on what goods you can bring into the country. If you don’t meet the right criteria, you may have to pay fines on your goods. Not to mention, many appliances you bring into the country will be incompatible with the power outlets in the country¹³.
Furry friends: If you want to bring your dog or cat with you on your German adventure, you’ll need to prepare. All pets must have a rabies shot and a microchip. Also, certain dogs are not allowed, like pitbulls¹⁴.
Pick up some basic words in German
Make an effort: Even if you aren’t fluent in German, try to pick up a few simple phrases so that you can at least converse with clerks, service workers, and cab drivers. Being able to say “Please,” “Thank you,” and “Excuse me” in German will go a long way. Here are a few key words to remember:
|Do you speak English?||Sprechen Sie Englisch?|
|I don’t understand||Ich verstehe nicht|
|Sorry||Es tut mir leid|
Germany has both a thriving economy and culture, and is in need of workers. While you may face hurdles getting a visa and landing an English-speaking job, there are plenty of opportunities.
Hopefully this article has given you the tools you need to find the ideal English-speaking job in a bustling German city.
- Live Work Germany - English speaking jobs
- Germany Visa - Job seeker visa
- Settle in Berlin - Job seeker visa requirements
- Make it in Germany - Job listings
- Arbeitsagentur - Jobs
- Berufenet - Jobs
- Handbook Germany - Minijob
- English Jobs - Berlin
- Amazon - Jobs in Berlin
- Kayak - Jobs in Berlin
- Numbeo - Cost of living comparison: Frankfurt and Berlin
- Numbeo - Cost of living in Dresden
- German Way - 10 things to consider
- German Way - Taking dogs or cats to Germany
Sources checked on 03.17.2022
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
Can I get a job in Germany as an American? ›
All persons who wish to seek gainful employment in Germany are required to obtain a residence permit in the form of a visa. Where needed, a work permit will be included in the visa issued for this purpose.What is the easiest job to get in Germany? ›
Top job openings in Germany:
- Business managers.
- Account managers.
- Production assistants.
- Sales managers, representatives.
- Product managers.
- Civil engineers.
Working in Germany
If you´d like to work in Germany you´ll get by if your German is on level B1/B2 (online test). The certificate issued by GLS is recognized by many employers and even some universities in Germany.
- Check your chances. The Quick Check on the Make it in Germany website should indicate your chances of working in Germany. ...
- Get your qualifications recognised. ...
- Look for a job. ...
- Write an application. ...
- Apply for a visa. ...
- Obtain health insurance.
At the moment the average salary in Germany is as follows: Average gross monthly earnings for full-time employees in Germany are 3,380 euros. This sums up to an average gross income in Germany of about 40,000 Euro per year. The average net disposable income in Germany is about 21,500 Euro per year.Can I work in Germany if I speak English? ›
In short: yes, there are English-speaking jobs in Germany.
Foreigners who look for jobs in tech startups or digital departments have a higher chance of finding work in Germany without speaking German.
- Software developers, architects, and programmers.
- Electronics engineers, electricians, and electrical fitters.
- IT consultants and analysts.
- Economists and business management experts.
- Customer advisors and account managers.
- Production assistants.
According to a survey, skilled workers in construction and skilled trades, with a total of 349,275 jobs available and technical specialists (282,941 jobs), are in demand in the German labour market. In the previous years, these two groups represented 36.6 per cent of the published and evaluated job offers in July 2022.What is the highest paid part time job in Germany? ›
- Research scholars.
- Research assistants/academic assistants.
- Support staff.
- Teaching English as an English tutor.
- Industrial production assistants.
B2 also takes around 3 months if you spend around 8 hours a week. P.S.: There are some people who are good at learning languages and remembering stuff who finished it all in 3-4 months. It all depends on how easy this comes to you and how much time you're spending on it.
Can I learn B2 German in 5 months? ›
As you can see, rapid learning is undoubtedly doable even if you want to learn German from scratch to a B2 level in 5 months or faster. I have done it with dozens of students using the outlined strategy, and results are always great.How long does it take to go from B2 to C1 in German? ›
|Assess your current level & test your German online!||Super Intensive course (30 lessons/week)|
|B2||upper intermediate||6 weeks*|
Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fifth-largest in the world, so there are plenty of jobs in Germany for foreigners with specialist skills, although casual work is also fairly easy to come by.Is Germany looking for workers? ›
As per the new immigration rule, Germany is mulling offering dual citizenship and also special citizenship status for 3 to 5 years to skilled workers on fulfilling certain conditions.What is the easiest way to move to Germany? ›
- Prove Financial Stability. ...
- Have Health Insurance. ...
- Have at Least Basic Proficiency in German. ...
- Get a German Visa. ...
- Standard Residence Permit. ...
- European Union (EU) Blue Card. ...
- Settlement Permit or Permanent Residence Permit.
|City||Average Monthly Rent|
According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, full-time employees work on average 41 hours a week. So the gross minimum wage for a full-time employee on a four-week month would be 1.968 euros. Part-time employees work on average 19,5 hours a week, making their minimum wage 936 euros.What is the least paying job in Germany? ›
- Kitchen worker - 21.907 euros.
- Hairdresser - 23.202 euros.
- Waiter / waitress - 23.619 euros.
- Call centre worker - 25.200 euros.
- Receptionist - 25.372 euros.
- Cashier - 26.572 euros.
- Cook - 27.195 euros.
- Dental assistant - 27.993 euros.
Can you live in Germany without knowing German? It is just about possible to live in Germany without knowing much German. But in order to find employment and to fully integrate into society, you will need to be able to speak and read German to a good standard, especially if you live outside the major cities.Can I work 15 hours a day in Germany? ›
Minimum and maximum working time
The maximum daily amount of working time must not exceed ten hours. However, the law stipulates that the working hours on business days (Monday until Saturday) must not exceed an average of eight working hours per day, ie 48 hours per week, over a period of six months or 24 weeks.
Can I live in Germany without a job? ›
You can move to Germany without a job if you intend to start your own business. You will need to apply for a residence permit and permission to start your business. You will need a self-employment visa if you are coming to Germany temporarily and for business purposes.Which is the cheapest city to live in Germany? ›
- #1 Bielefeld City Germany.
- #2 Frankfurt (Oder) City Germany.
- #3 Halle City Germany.
- #5 Passau City Germany.
- Medical and healthcare service professionals.
- Engineering professionals (mechanical, automotive, and electrical engineering), software development/programming, supply and waste management, STEM-related fields.
- Electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, toolmakers welders, etc.
- Computer science, IT and software development.
- Electronics engineering.
- Mechanical engineering.
- Account management and business analytics.
- Nursing and healthcare.
- Civil engineering and architecture.
Berlin - one of the economic hubs of the world
The capital city of Germany offers some of the best employment opportunities in Berlin. It is one of the economic hubs of the world and attracts a growing number of expats each year that come in search of better career options.
Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union. The country has a very attractive job market for qualified workers as their highly competitive companies are always in need of well-trained employees. After officially completing your degree, you will have 18 months to find a job.What is the most respected job in Germany? ›
- Doctors. Doctors in private medical institutions have a high salary. ...
- IT specialists. Today, IT professionals are popular in almost all European countries. ...
- Engineers. ...
- Lawyers. ...
- Economists and top managers. ...
- Handymen. ...
- Cleaning. ...
- Care for the elderly.
An average working week in Germany as a full-time employee is between 36 and 40 hours, with daily working weeks in Germany between seven and eight hours five days a week. Speaking for students, this means that you are allowed to work 2.5 hours per week in addition to your studies.How many hours is a mini job in Germany? ›
With a mini-job as a "short-term employment" ("Kurzfristigen Beschäftigung"), you work less than three months (for a 5-hour week) or 70 working days (if you work less than five days per week) per year.Can I work 50 hours a week in Germany? ›
Working hours should not exceed 8 hours daily. They can be extended to 10 hours daily as long as the weekly hours are not more than 48.
How many hours is A1 in German? ›
On average, it takes the following amount of time to achieve the next language level: A1: approx. 150 hours of lessons.Is C1 German fluent? ›
The C Levels: Fluency
At C1, you will be able to use German effectively in your social, academic and professional life. You will also be able to express your thoughts eloquently and use different ways to link ideas together appropriately.
The third level in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages is level B1. It is definitely a step beyond the A1 and A2 exams. Passing a level B1 exam means that you are entering the intermediate level of your journey through the German language.How long does it take to go from A2 to B1 in German? ›
The German B1 level, also known as the intermediate level, It will take you at least 80 hours per week (a total of 4 weeks) to finish your German B1. According to Goeth Institut, you'll take at least 350 and 650 45-minute units of teaching depending on what you have retained from your previous A1 to A2 level.How long learn German fluently? ›
So, how long do you need to learn German if you want to reach this level of fluency? According to the U.S. Foreign Service Institute (FSI), you'll need about 750 hours of study to become fluent in German. This means that if you study 12-15 hours a week, you'll be able to speak like a pro in just a year!How long is German B2 valid? ›
The certificate is therefore valid indefinitely. However, some institutions and employers require a certificate that is no more than two years old.Can I learn German B2 in 6 months? ›
But slowly I learned to recognize the context and to guess the meaning of unknown words. Now this is no longer a problem for me and I have made it from A1 to B2 in just six months. I learned and worked a lot for that. Before I never thought that I could learn German so quickly.Can I learn German C1 in 3 months? ›
For those new to languages, it may sound like a daunting task to become fluent in any language in 3 months, let alone such a complicated language as German. Nonetheless, Adriana can tell you from experience that it's definitely possible!What is A1 A2 in German? ›
These levels are classified as A1 for beginners, A2 for elementary, B1 for intermediate, B2 for upper intermediate, C1 as advanced, and C2 as mastery.Is Germany startup friendly? ›
As a result, Germany is one of the European leaders in innovation. Germany is among the countries with the highest purchasing power in Europe, with a per capita spending power of €24,412 in 2021 – fresh ideas can easily find a market here. Many of these are generated by what is known as the Mittelstand.
Which countries hire foreigners easily? ›
What is the Easiest Country to Get a Work Visa?
- The Czech Republic.
- You'll have to tackle a lot of bureaucracy. ...
- Lack of digitalisation and modernisation. ...
- High tax and insurance contributions. ...
- Germans can seem unfriendly. ...
- The language barrier can be a struggle. ...
- It can be hard to find a place to live. ...
- Not everyone is a fan of the weather. ...
- Things have to be done a certain way.
It is not difficult to move to Germany from the US if you have a valid reason, such as a job offer, a letter of acceptance from a German university, or wishing to join your partner. However, generally speaking, everyone outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland needs a solid reason to receive a German residence permit.Are Germans friendly? ›
Germany is known around the globe for excelling at a variety of things. Germans themselves are known as friendly and welcoming people, even if everyone thinks we have a nonexistent sense of humor.How long can US citizens stay in Germany? ›
Residence and Work Permit
US citizens in possession of a valid US passport do not need a visa for airport transit, tourist or business trips for stays up to 90 days.
All persons who wish to seek gainful employment in Germany are required to obtain a residence permit in the form of a visa. Where needed, a work permit will be included in the visa issued for this purpose.Is it hard to find a job in Germany as an American? ›
As the most populous country and largest economy in Europe, Germany offers plenty of expat career opportunities. Major local, regional and global employers are present — and hiring — in all of Germany's big cities. However only around 5% of jobs advertised in Germany are available to English speakers¹.Is it difficult to get a job in Germany? ›
1- Is it easy to get a job in Germany? With a huge range of professional opportunities and roles throughout Germany, securing a job isn't as hard as it may be in other countries around the world.Is it hard to get a job in Germany as a foreigner? ›
Although it's possible to find a job in Germany with only speaking English, knowing German will skyrocket your chances. Of course, there are plenty of international job positions that only require the English language, but these tend to be more competitive, so speaking at least some German is a huge asset.Is it hard for a US citizen to move to Germany? ›
It is not difficult to move to Germany from the US if you have a valid reason, such as a job offer, a letter of acceptance from a German university, or wishing to join your partner. However, generally speaking, everyone outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland needs a solid reason to receive a German residence permit.
Which job is most demand in Germany? ›
- IT consultants and analysts.
- Economists and business management experts.
- Customer advisors and account managers.
- Production assistants.
- Sales representatives and assistants.
- Sales and product managers.
- Architects and civil engineers.
Tax requirements and deadlines for US citizens in Germany
All American citizens (and Green Card holders) have to file US taxes every year if their worldwide income exceeds IRS minimum thresholds. This includes Americans living in Germany, and all around the world.
The survey found that 40 percent of employees in Germany felt stressed the day before they took the poll. Despite the seemingly high rate of stress in Germany, employees around the world have generally recorded higher levels. In the US, for example, stress levels are at 52 percent.Which profession has shortage in Germany? ›
Sciences, engineering and health care, are the main fields where skilled workers are required in Germany, with staffing difficulties occurring in the different sectors also depending on the level of qualification.Can you survive in Germany with just English? ›
There's no doubt that you can survive in Germany without knowing German. Every German usually studies English from the age of 5 and especially the younger generation watches British or American series.What salary do you need to live in Germany? ›
A good salary in Germany not only depends on your lifestyle but also on where you live as the cost of living differs from city to city. A good annual gross salary in Germany is between €64,000 to €81,000. But most Germans who earn a yearly gross salary of €60,000 and above are happy with their salary.Can I live in Germany without speaking German? ›
Can you live in Germany without knowing German? It is just about possible to live in Germany without knowing much German. But in order to find employment and to fully integrate into society, you will need to be able to speak and read German to a good standard, especially if you live outside the major cities.What is the easiest country to move to from America? ›
- South Korea.