Can You Work in Germany on a Student Visa?

Studying in Germany might be inexpensive, but still, you want to have an income to cover your lifestyle and be able to save some money. Here you will find an overview of the requirements for students to work in Germany during their studies.

Students can work part-time in Germany. Students from EU/EEA countries can work unlimited hours and have free access to the job market. Non-EU/EEA students can work up to 120 full days or 240 half days per year. In total, it should not exceed 20 hours per week.

Germany is the fourth-largest economy in the world and the largest in entire Europe. With the almost lowest unemployment rate in the EU, there are many chances to find a job.

Now you know that it is possible to study and work in Germany at the same time, even for international students. What else should you keep in mind before starting a job search?

General Rules for International Students in Germany

Students from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland don’t have limitations. However, working more than 20 hours per week will have to pay national insurance contributions (germans do so too).

Exceeding these 20 hours is not advisable as you will have to pay for health insurance, unemployment, and nursing care insurance. In the end, you could be paying the biggest part of your earnings to the state.

If students from Non-EU/EEA countries want to work more as allowed (120 full or 240 half days per year), they must apply for permission from the Agentur für Arbeit (employment agency) and the Ausländerbehörde (foreigners’ registration office).

They might not work during the semester and then use the allowed 120 full days to work full time in the summer.

Exceptions: if you aim to work as a scientific or student assistant at university, the 120-day rule does not apply to you. There are no restrictions on these jobs. For example, a research assistant with a professor.

If you are not sure what exactly this kind of job is, simply obtain information from your local student services office or the Akademischen Auslandsamt (international student’s office) at your university.

It is also essential to inform the foreigners’ registration office if you want to work as a scientific or student assistant. Of course, if your study gets endangered, you might face some restrictions.

The labor low regulation applicable for international students is very strict. It is important to be aware of them: you may be deported in case of violation.

For non-EU/EEA students, an internship (even unpaid) during the study period counts as a regular job. Each day in the internship same to one working day.

So if you already spent your 120 days limit, you must obtain the approval of the immigration office and the employment agency for an internship. The only exceptions are internships that are a mandatory part of your studies.

Non-EU/EEA students attending only a language course or studying at the Studienkolleg (preparation courses for university) don’t have the same privileges as regular college students. They may only work with the permission of the Immigration Office and the Employment Agency – and only during the lecture-free period.

Hourly Wages for Students

The minimum wage in Germany is 9,19 EUR gross per hour. Salary depends on where you are working, how experienced/skilled you are; it ranges from 9 to 15 EUR per hour.

The lowest salary is in service, about 7 EUR, as the income depends more on the tip. The highest will be in the field where more requirements and experience are needed, such as a language tutor or tutor on your major subject.

How Much Can International Students Earn Tax Free?

Germany is known for its decent income as well as for high taxes. What are the rules for students? Tax-free earning are up to 450 EUR per month. But if you regularly earn more than 450 EUR, you will need a tax number.

Some amount will be deducted from your salary each month, which you will get back if you submit a tax return at the end of the year.

If you earn more than 450 EURO and have permanent employment, you also have to pay social security contributions. This includes payments for health insurance, nursing care insurance, pension, and unemployment insurance.

Most Common Student Jobs in Germany

Here is the list of most of the common part-time jobs for students:

  • Waiter, Service, Barkeeper

Almost everyone has worked in service before. You don’t need special requirements to work as a waiter, except for stress resistance. The working hours are mostly in the evening or on the weekend.

  • Research Assistant at the University

Working at the university benefits your studies as you are already familiar with professors and can build future relationships for your final thesis and future career. Your tasks include assisting the professor with marking copies, giving tutorials or prepare research literature, as supervisors, as librarians, etc.

  • Promoter

The promoter makes a brand, a product, a service, a business, or an event known and brings the potential customers closer. You will need to represent a company and increase sales. Usually, it’s not permanent employment. People are hired in terms of the project.

  • Tutoring, Language Tutoring

If you are a native English or any other language speaker, you can easily get a job as a private tutor or at a school, or even within some of the local companies. You could also be a tutor in your college, or school subjects which were your favorites, and you are sure in your knowledge.

  • Courier, Home Deliver

Working for a post office you will deliver parcels and letters, often by car, but in big cities, Germany practices an environment-friendly way by using a bicycle. So be prepared for this.

While working for a restaurant and delivering meals at peoples’ homes always by car, the job is well paid, and you will often receive tips.

  • Retail Store Shopping Assistant

Almost all retails need someone to assist their customers. You will help customers with information and selecting the best product they are looking for. Good communication skills are required.

  • Interviewer

Some companies or organizations often need data collectors to ask clients about their opinions about products or services, which will eventually lead to a survey.

  • City Guide

Good job for someone who is interested in tourism and history. You will get a chance to meet people from around the world.

  • Office Jobs

If working at a desk in a pleasant, temperature-controlled office appeals to you, there are many types of office work positions to consider. They require basic skills such as typing, filing, and familiarity with computers.

You might work as Receptionist and Scheduler, Office Administrative Assistant. Some main tasks would be to answer the phone, give information to clients or partners of the company, and other administrative duties.

  • Babysitter

If you like children and have some experience of working with them, this job might be the perfect fit for you. A babysitting job is well paid, and after a while, you can renegotiate your rates. There are many agencies where you can apply too. However, most families are more likely to choose a girl.

  • Call Center Officer

 Answer the phone, analyze customer requests or complaints, and manage them. You have to be patient, diplomatic, and have good soft skills. Good knowledge of German is also a must and, most times, flexible working hours are possible.


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Anna is an enthusiastic expatriate with experience of living in Germany, Austria and Greece. She shares her passion for living abroad on this website.

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