Aside from being a country that offers the opportunity to choose among a wide range of prospective universities, Germany is also the primary choice for many foreign students and new graduates around the world for internships or professional training in their field of interest, at different institutions and companies.
If you are planning to do an internship or training in Germany, then there are a few things you should be asking yourself before you travel towards the country, i.e. if you are eligible for an internship/training and whether you need a visa or not.
Who can do an Internship/Training in Germany?
Everyone interested, regardless of their age, gender, religious views, etc., can get to do an internship or training in Germany in their field of interest. The requirements for doing the internship, depend on the company or institution offering it. Some of them may ask for fluent German, while others would be happy if you can manage speaking basic German and require no more.
However, it is a crucial condition for you to find the internship or training before your trip to Germany. Especially if you are the passport holder of one of the countries the citizens of which are required to obtain a visa to be permitted to enter and remain in Germany.
You can check online for training and internship opportunities in Germany. You should know that not all companies and institutions pay interns in Germany, therefore check carefully whether the organization where you are going to get engaged at as a trainee or intern will pay you or not. Life in Germany has its expenses, therefore you should keep in mind that even if you were paid, it would be hard for you to cover your expenses with an internal payment.
Who needs a German training/Internship visa?
If you have already found an internship or a training program in Germany where you are willing to engage and gain professional skills, the next step is to ask yourself: Do I need a visa or not? Whether you need a visa or you don’t, it all depends on your nationality/citizenship.
Foreigners who do not need a visa
If you are a passport holder of any of the European Union member states, the European Economic Area, or the European Free Trade Area, then this means you do not need to obtain a visa to be able to do an internship or participate at a training program in Germany. You can as well move to Germany as a starting point, and then start looking for an internship or training if you have the means to do so.
At the same time, nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United States of America too, are not obliged to obtain a visa, to be able to enter Germany and do an internship. Still, they must apply for a residence permit as soon as they arrive in Germany, directly at the Immigration Office, to be able to legally do their internship or training. You too can find your internship while in your home country, or after settling in Germany.
However, if you want to start working immediately after you enter Germany, then you need to apply for a work permit beforehand at an embassy. Remember that you cannot start working until your application for a residence permit has been approved, even if you are in Germany already.
Additionally, certain German Aliens’ Authorities (Ausländerbehörde offices) may ask for a visa even if you are from one of these countries, due to the large number of residence permit applications they have. You should confirm whether you will be required to apply for a visa with the closest German embassy or consulate in your country.
Foreigners who need a visa
On the other hand, the rest of the world countries must first find an internship or training in Germany, and then go through all the requirements and attend the interview to be able to obtain the visa.
If you are a national of one of the countries the citizens of which are obliged to obtain an internship/training visa, then follow the instructions given in this article on the requirements for a German visa, the application process, fees, and everything else you ought to know before your visa application.
Germany Training/Internship Visa Requirements
When you apply for an internship/training visa, you will have to submit some required documents at the German embassy or consulate in your home country to prove your identity, background, and the purpose of traveling to Germany, as well as if you will be able to cover your expenses during your stay in Germany.
Commonly Required Documents for a German Visa
Application form – fully completed with correct information that complies with the information in the other documents that you are required to submit. Print the application form twice and do not forget to sign each copy at the end for both to be valid for the embassy.
Two passport photographs – taken within the last three months and according to the strict requirements listed on this page, as set by the German immigration authorities.
Valid national passport – no older than ten years, with at least one empty page to be able to affix the visa sticker. The passport must comply with the other passport requirements as explained on this page.
One copy of your passport’s data page (A4 size copy)
Old passport (if applicable) – in case you own any older passport that has either expired or the pages of are full of visa stickers and stamps, then you should submit that passport too. In case you own more than one old passport, which contains visa stamps and stickers, then you should submit all of them. Tie the passports with a rubber band, and do not staple them by any means.
Health Insurance – you will need to submit a confirmation letter from the insurance company where you have purchased travel health insurance. The document must confirm that the insurance covers any emergency medical treatments and hospitalization as well as repatriation in case of death, with a minimum coverage of 30 thousand euros, in the entire Schengen territory.
Proof of financial funds – you will need to present documents that prove you are capable of covering your stay in Germany. This can be a bank statement that shows you have enough money to financially fund yourself for the whole period you will be remaining in Germany, a contract with the company where you will be interning / training that shows how much, you are going to get paid, if you will be receiving any payment.
It can also be a letter from a sponsor who confirms they will be sending you money regularly, accompanied by their bank statement, work contract, and payslips, to support their letter. It can also be a combination of all of them. As part of the financial funds you may have to submit the following documents according to your working status:
• If employed: Pay slips of the past three months/employment contract
• If self-employed: Certificate of Proprietorship or other proof of ownership (proof of land title, proof of income from agriculture (sales form), etc.)
• Proof of civil status – marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, death certificate of spouse, etc.
• Flight Itinerary – that can be a flight reservation, rail tickets, or others. You can use the visa consultation services like this one or find one online.
• Proof of accommodation for your entire stay in Germany – which could be a rental agreement, a hotel booking, or an invitation letter in case you will be staying over with friends or family members.
Specific Requirements for Internship/Training Visa
ZAV consent letter from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit – which is permission to work in Germany and interns are obliged to have it for their engagement at any organization to be legal. It is upon the institution/company where you will be engaging as an intern or trainee to obtain it for you. Some internships under EU-funded programs (Leonardo, Socrates, Erasmus, etc.) do not require this document.
Deputation / no-objection letter from your local employer or university you are studying at which confirms that the applicant is an employee/student at their organization.
Approval letter from German company/institution confirming conditions of applicant’s stay in Germany, including payment.
Proof of qualification (diploma, academic degree certificate or mark sheets).
Training/Internship Visa Application Process
The application for a German visa is simple and clear. You will just have to follow the visa application process guidelines given on this page step by step, without missing a thing. You will have to apply at the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country, which is always closer to where you live.
We strongly recommend you to apply at least three weeks prior to your planned travel to Germany, in order to avoid any delay.
Training/Internship Visa Fee
When you await your interview you will have to submit a receipt that confirms you have completed the payment of the German visa fee, which is a MUST for your application to be processed. A German visa fee for stays longer than 90 days is 75 euros. The fee can be paid in the local currency according to the exchange rates approved by the embassy.
Please note the visa fees will not be reimbursed in case the visa is rejected and the price is subject to change at any time.
Visa Processing Time
Even though German visa application processing takes around 10 to 15 days, the processing time varies from one case to the other. While some applicants receive their answers within a week, others may take weeks to get a response to their application because of their situation.
Sometimes, because of the large number of applications that the embassy is receiving at the time, the processing time can be extended for a few days.
Germany Training/Internship Visa Validity
The maximum period for which an internship/training visa can be issued is 12 months. The validity of your visa depends on the length of your internship. If your internship is four months long, then the embassy will give you the required four months as well as a few days or weeks more prior to the starting date of your internship/training and a few more after the end of it.
Make sure to check your visa sticker as soon as you receive it, for its validity and the permitted duration of stay.
Can I extend my Germany Training/Internship Visa?
You will need to present a very strong reason on which you will base your application, in case you decide to apply for a visa extension.
One case could be if the company or institution where you are interning or training would like you to continue your internship or training for a longer period than what was appointed at the beginning.
At the end of your internship, if the company or institution where you were engaged wants to hire you, you will have to return to your home country, and from there apply for a working visa to be allowed to work as a regular employee.
Can my family join me?
If you are in Germany with an Internship/Training Visa and you want your family to come over, then they can apply for a Tourist / Visitor visa to visit you. However, they are not eligible to apply for a Family Reunion Visa.
How to apply for a German internship visa?
Training/Internship Visa Application Process
You will need to apply at the German embassy or consulate in your home country, whichever is closest to where you live. We strongly recommend that you apply at least three weeks before your planned trip to Germany, in order to avoid any delays.
What is the training visa in Germany?
For many people from so-called third countries (countries outside the EU), however, the first step is to apply for a “vocational training visa”. A professional training visa allows you to legally enter Germany and then start your training program.
Do I need a visa for a 3-month internship in Germany?
If your internship lasts less than three months, you should get a short-stay visa in Germany. However, if your internship is longer, you will need to apply for a long-term internship/training visa.
Can I do an internship in Germany without a visa?
If you are from the EU, EEA, EFTA or countries such as Canada, Japan, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, the United States or Korea, you do not need an internship visa. However, upon arrival, you must apply for a residence permit within two weeks. For others, a visa is mandatory.
Can I get a work permit for an internship in Germany?
The visa or residence permit for carrying out the academic internship will be issued for the duration of the internship and for a maximum of six months. You may not obtain employment during this period.
Can I apply for a German visa without IELTS?
If you have an acceptance letter from a university in Germany that does not require IELTS, you can apply for a student visa in Germany. You will need to submit all documents required for the visa application process.