Citizens from within the EU will have no problems teaching English legally in Germany as they do not require a work visa. Also, some teachers from certain countries including Australia, New Zealand and Canada can apply for a working holiday visa that allows them some amount of freedom to work. However, teachers who fall outside of these areas, including Americans, will find that their options for living and working in Germany are more limited. Despite this, many people who are patient and committed are still able to secure a work visa that allows them to stay in Germany.
How does the visa process work for foreign teachers in Germany?
To apply for a work permit you will need to actually be in Germany, which means that most teachers arrive in the country on a standard tourist visa that is issued on arrival. As the application process can take up to two months, you will need to have access to enough money to see you through this period. In order to get through what can be a rather complicated process, it will be a big help if you have a good understanding of German or a local person who is willing to lend you a hand. The exact process might vary depending on where you are in the country, 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?
By completing all the steps outlined above you should receive your residency permit, work permit, and tax number. With all these secured you are then able to freely teach English anywhere within Germany.