Can I get a work visa to teach English in Germany?

EU citizens who want to teach English in Germany should have few problems as they can work freely in the country without a visa. Teachers from countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada are able to apply for a working holiday visa that allows them limited access to teaching jobs. However, for everyone else, including Americans, there are fewer options if you want to live and work in Germany. That being said, if you are willing to be patient, it is still possible to obtain a work visa.

How do I apply for a work visa to teach English in Germany?

As the application process has to be completed from within the country, most people initially enter Germany on a standard tourist visa. Unfortunately, the process can take up to two months so you will need to have enough funds to support yourself while you wait for your application to be approved. The application process will also be made a lot easier if you have a good level of the German language or the assistance of a local person who can help you with the process. The specified requirements might vary depending on the state you are in when you apply, but the basic process is as follows:

- Register at the local Standesamt-Einwohnermeldeamt (Registration Office) within a week of arriving in the country

- Find a permanent address such as a rented room or shared apartment (not hotel or guest house)

- Apply for teaching jobs

- Once a job is offered, obtain a 'letter of intent' from the employer

- Visit the Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Office) to apply for a residency permit and work visa

- Open a German bank account

- Visit the Finanzamt (Finance Office) and apply for a tax ID number

When can I legally start teaching English in Germany?

Once you have completed all the steps above and you have received your residency permit, work permit, and tax number, you will be free to start teaching ESL on a legal basis anywhere within Germany.