Skip to content
  • broken clouds: 51-84% 24 °C
  • Contrast
  • Easy Language

Applying for a work permit for foreign students

The main purpose of the residency permit for foreign students is the course of study. Should you come from certain countries, you can take up limited employment:

  • for 120 full days or 240 half days in any calendar year
  • Secondary student activities These are generally undertaken at universities and other academic institutions. As examples, these also includes higher education related activities in organisations equivalent to universities.

This is also stated in your residency permit.

In all other cases, you must obtain the permission of the competent body in order to work or undertake an internship.

As an example, this applies to

  • longer hours of gainful employment during the holidays, gainful employment to deal with a financial emergency, or
  • to participate in internships, even if these are unpaid. This does not apply to internships which are mandated by the course or examination regulations and which can be proven to be necessary in order to complete the course of study. In such cases, the internship is part of the course of study.

Attention: Please bear in mind that you may not work until you have received the permit from the competent body.

Should you hold EU or EEA citizenship, you can work without any restrictions.


  • Possession of a residence permit that does not prohibit you from working

Responsible department

  • the city administration if you live in a city district or major city district
  • in all other cases, the district administration.


You must apply in writing in order to obtain permission to carry out the intended employment. For this, you will usually need an application form which can be obtained from the competent authority. Once you have completed it, you can return the form in person or by post.

If you are undertaking a study-related work placement, the company employing you will fill out a registration form and a work placement plan.

Required documents

Depends on the individual case

Please request information in advance from the competent body. .

Detailed information


You can also have a work placement arranged and approved if you are a foreign student studying at an institute of higher education abroad. The authority responsible for this is the International Placement Service, ZAV, part of the Federal Employment Agency.

Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Innenministerium released it on 05.03.2020. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.

In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.