Aside of being a country that offers the opportunity to choose among a wide range of prospective universities, Germany is also the primary choice to many foreign students and newly 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, as 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 content if you are able to manage speaking basic German, and require no more.

However, it is a crucial condition for you to find the internship or training prior to 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 in order 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 intern payment.

Who needs a Germany 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 do not, it all depends on your nationality/citizenship.

Foreigners that 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 in order 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, in order 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, in order 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.

Foreigners that need a visa

On the other hand, the rest of the world countries must firstly find an internship or training in Germany, and then go through all the requirements and attend the interview in order to be able to obtain the visa.

If you are the 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 Germany visa, application process, fees and everything else you ought to know prior to 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 in order to prove your identity, background and the purpose of travelling to Germany, as well as if you will be able to cover your expenses during your stay in Germany.

Commonly Required Documents for a Germany 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 in order for both to be valid for the embassy.
  • Two passport photographs – taken within the last three months and according to the strict requirements listed in this page, as set by the German immigration authorities.
  • Valid national passport – no older than ten years, with at least one empty page in order to be able to affix the visa sticker. The passport must comply with the other passport requirements as explained in this page.
  • One copy of your passport’s data page (A4 size copy)
  • Old passport (if applicable) – in case you are in possession of any older passport that has either expired or the pages of which are full with 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 by 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 whole Schengen territory.
  • Proof of financial funds – you will need to present documents that prove you are capable to cover 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 by a sponsor who confirms they will be sending you money regularly, accompanied by their bank statement, work contract and payslips, in order 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: Payslips 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, 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 at friends or family members.

Specific Requirements for Internship/Training Visa

  • ZAV consent letter from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit – which is a permission to work in Germany and interns are obliged to have it in order 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 programmes (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 Germany Visa is simple and clear. You will just have to follow the visa application process guideline given in this page step by step, without missing a thing. You will have to apply at the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country, whichever is 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 attend 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 in order 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 of the visa being rejected and the price is subject to change at any time.

Visa Processing Time

Despite the fact that Germany visa application processing takes around 10 to 15 days, the processing time varies from one case to the other. While some applicants receive their answer 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 wishes you to continue your internship or training for a longer period from 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 in order 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 in order to visit you. However, they are not eligible to apply for a Family Reunion Visa.