Job search opportunity card

04.06.2024 - Article

General information

The Job search opportunity card (from June 1st, 2024) is a new legal basis in the German Residence Act to enable controlled access to finding qualified employment in Germany. In addition to searching for a job, it also makes it possible to search for measures to recognize foreign professional qualifications in Germany.

The opportunity card visa can be obtained in two ways:

  • Third-country nationals who can prove that their foreign professional or academic qualifications are fully recognized in Germany and are therefore considered 'skilled workers' can receive the opportunity card if they can prove that they have sufficient financial resources to fund their job search in Germany without any further special requirements.
  • All other applicants must provide evidence of a foreign university degree (recognized by the country in which you obtained it), a professional qualification of at least two years (recognized by the country in which you obtained it) or a professional qualification issued by a German Chamber of Commerce Abroad. In addition, either basic German (level A1) or English language skills (level B2) are required. If these requirements are met, you can collect different points for criteria such as recognition of qualifications in Germany, language skills, professional experience, age and connection to Germany as well as the potential of the partner or spouse moving with you. In order to receive the opportunity card, at least 6 points must be achieved.

The opportunity card is issued for a maximum of one year if you have sufficient financial resources to fund your job search in Germany. It offers opportunities for trial work or part-time employment for 20 hours a week during your stay in Germany.
Further information about the opportunity card (especially a 'self-check') as well as general information about working and living in Germany can be found on Make it in Germany.

Online application and appointment booking via the consular services portal

You can probably apply for the opportunity card visa online via the Federal Foreign Office's consular services portal from the beginning of August 2024. After uploading the application and documents, your information and documents will be checked for completeness and any questions will be clarified with you directly via the consular services portal. Once all documents have been checked online, you will receive an invitation link to register for an appointment via the consular services portal.

At the subsequent appointment at the German Embassy Nairobi, your identity will be verified, your biometric data (fingerprints and photo) recorded, the visa fee has to be paid and your original documents listed below have to be presented.

You will be able to apply here.

Basic information

Before the application option is activated in the consular services portal, you have to register on the appointment waiting list of the German Embassy Nairobi in order to apply for the opportunity card visa. All application documents must be submitted in original with 1 copy until then.

Please sort the documents in the order listed below.

Documents not in the German or English language must be submitted with a certified German or English translation.

The Embassy reserves the right to request additional documents in individual cases.

Incomplete application forms as well as applications with incomplete documents will delay processing and may lead to rejection of the application.

Processing time is as a rule ca. 2 months but can take longer in individual cases.

Please do not contact the mission abroad to check the status of your application during the normal processing period. Such inquiries are extremely time-consuming for the visa section and can thus not be answered.

For your application we require the following documents:

  1. Passport and 1 copy of the data page. If you are a foreigner residing in Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan or the Seychelles, you have to show a valid residence permit for the country of residence.
  2. 1 completed and duly signed application form including information provided to applicants pursuant to Section 54 of the Residence Act
  3. 2 current, identical biometric passport photos with a white background
  4. Curriculum vitae in German or English, gapless
  5. A conclusive letter of motivation in German or English, written by yourself
    • It should be clear which areas of work and positions in Germany you are interested in, where you want to apply and where in Germany you want to stay (including information about accommodation and other living expenses). You must also indicate - if applicable - what measures you plan to take to have your foreign professional qualifications recognized in Germany. If you do not have knowledge of German, you must also explain why knowledge of German is not required for the job you are looking for.
  6. If available: Proof of other preparations for the job searchFor example:
    • Job applications
    • Agreed job interviews
    • Screenshots from job boards or professional social networks with expressions of interest from potential employers
  7. Proof of adequate financial means
    • Financing - To stay in Germany, each individual applicant must have at their disposal at least 1027 € per month. Proof of these means (blocked account or a formal undertaking by a third person to cover all costs) is to be provided in advance when the application is submitted. When submitting an application, financial means for a one year stay totaling at least 12,324 € must be proven.
    • In the case of financing in the form of a blocked account: Open the blocked account in good time BEFORE you apply for a visa. When applying for a visa, only the official confirmation of the opening of the account including information on the amount paid in and the amount available per month will be accepted. A confirmation which does not include this information is not sufficient. Proof of lodgement or transfer of funds without the aforementioned confirmation from the bank is not sufficient. Providers of blocked accounts can be found through an internet search.
    • In the case of part-time employment: If you already have a specific part-time job offer in Germany, you can prove this with an employment contract or a binding job offer, which shows the weekly working hours and monthly earnings.
    • In the case of an undertaking by a third person to cover all costs: Proof in the form of a formal undertaking with the creditworthiness (“Bonität”) “proven” (“nachgewiesen”) pursuant to Sections 66 and 68 Residence Act in which a third person undertakes in writing to cover all costs.

    • Do you have German vocational training or a German university degree? Or foreign vocational training or a foreign university degree, each of which is recognized in Germany? Then you are a 'skilled worker' within the meaning of Section 18 III Residence Act and do not have to collect any points to receive the opportunity card. Please provide proof of your specialist qualifications by:
      • Vocational training qualification in Germany OR
      • University degree in Germany OR
      • Notification of recognition of foreign vocational training: Written notification of the agency in Germany responsible for recognition of vocational training OR
      • Recognition of the equivalence of the foreign university degree: -> Printouts from the anabin database on the qualification and on the institution OR (if the qualification is not assessed as “entspricht” (comparable) or “gleichwertig” (equivalent) and/or the institution is not classified as “H+”)
      • Statement of Comparability by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) OR (in the case of regulated professions in which permission is required to exercise the profession, for example, doctors, engineers; complete list is available from the Federal Employment Agency or the European Commission)
      • Permission to exercise a profession issued by the authority responsible for recognising qualifications or assurance of permission to exercise a profession (for example, for medical professions: decision of the licensing authority in the federal territory, i.e. assurance of permission to exercise a profession and/or issuing of medical licence)
      • More information on recognition: www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de
    • If you are not a skilled worker (see definition above), you must meet and provide evidence of the following requirements:
      • Foreign vocational training qualification/university qualification
        • foreign vocational training qualification AND
        • Certificate from the 'Central Office for Foreign Education' ZAB about your foreign professional qualification (state recognition, at least 2 years of training) OR
        • Partial recognition notice/deficit notice for your professional qualification OR
        • foreign university degree AND
        • Proof of state recognition of the university degree - either by determining the (conditional) comparability of the foreign university degree (printout from the anabin database for your university degree and your university) OR (if the degree is not “equivalent” or “equivalent” in the anabin database and/or the university is not rated “H+”)
        • Statement of Comparability by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) OR
        • Professional qualification from a German Chamber of Foreign Trade with corresponding confirmation from the 'Federal Institute for Vocational Training' BIBB
      • Language proficiency:
        • Certificate of your knowledge of the German language – at least A1! AND/OR
        • Certificate of your knowledge of the English language – at least B2!
        • The testing providers issuing the certificate must be certified by the 'Association of Language Testers in Europe' (ALTE). In Kenya, the Goethe Institute and ÖSD currently issue recognized language certificates.
        • The submitted language certificate must not be older than 12 months at the time of application. Taking different test parts from different ALTE certified providers is sufficient.
        • Alternatively, the 'Test of English as a Foreign Language' (TOEFL) is also accepted.
        • You must also present the language certificate if German or English is your native language and/or your language of training or study!
      • Note: The above documents are also relevant for calculating the score for the opportunity card! You can receive points for German and English skills at certain levels, as well as for partial recognition of your foreign professional qualifications.
    • You can also collect points for the opportunity card (details on the achievable points can be found below in the appendix and on 'Make it in Germany') with the following evidence:
      • Evidence of your professional experience in the last 5 or 7 years, provided that it relates to your professional qualifications: job references, employer certificates, etc.
      • If you have legally resided in Germany for at least 6 months without interruption within the past 5 years (short stays under Schengen law do not count!), please provide proof of this with appropriate documents, e.g.
        • unterminated rental agreements
        • Employment relationships, service contracts, etc.
        • Passports with visas and entry stamps
      • Would your spouse/partner also want to apply for the opportunity card visa– or already has one – and then enter Germany with you? If yes, then one of you can collect 1 additional point for the opportunity card. If applicable, please also provide relevant proof of your spouse/partner's opportunity card application.
  8. Proof of incoming health insurance coverage for the entire duration of stay
  9. Visa fee in the amount 75 Euros, payable in Kenyan Shillings


How does the points system for opportunity cards work?

The points system is only relevant if Option 8 b) applies to you, i.e. if you are unable to demonstrate that you have a German qualification or that your foreign qualification has been fully recognised. To apply for an opportunity card visa, you must also provide evidence of formal qualifications and the necessary language skills. You can score points for the following criteria:

  • Equivalence of qualification: If you have already applied for recognition of your foreign qualification and it has been found to be partially equivalent, you will receive four points. You will still receive the four points if, in the case of a regulated profession, you are required to participate in compensatory measures before obtaining a licence to practise your profession.
  • Qualification in a shortage occupation: If your formal qualification is in a shortage occupation, you will get one point. To find out which occupations are considered to be in short supply, consult the List of shortage occupations.
  • Professional experience: You will also be awarded points for your previous professional experience in relation to your formal qualification that you gained after graduating. Two points will be awarded if you can demonstrate that you have at least two years’ professional experience within the last five years. If you have at least five years’ professional experience within the last seven years, you will get three points.
  • Language skills: You will also earn points if your German language skills are above level A1 (CEFR). One point is awarded at level A2, two points at level B1 and three points at level B2 or above. An additional point will be awarded if you have English skills at level C1 or above.
  • Age: You also receive points if you are a certain age. People who are no older than 35 get two points until the day they turn 35. All those aged between 35 and 40 are awarded one point.
  • Previous stays in Germany: Have you already lived in Germany? If you can prove that you have resided legally in Germany for a continuous period of at least six months in the last five years, you will receive one point. Examples of such stays include study, language and work stays. Stays for the purpose of tourism or visiting people do not count. Copies of old passports and the visas and entry stamps they contain can be submitted as evidence.
  • Skilled worker potential of spouses or life partners: Are you married or in a partnership and would like to come to Germany with your partner on an opportunity card? If your partner already meets the requirements for an opportunity card, you will be awarded one point in the points system. With this in mind, he or she can also do the self-check: opportunity card.

Please note that all information you provide in the above categories must be supported by appropriate evidence or certificates for the visa application.

This fact sheet reflects the legal situation at the time of drafting it. It is regularly updated but makes no claim to be complete. Authoritative version of the fact sheet is the German version.

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