I am an American citizen intending to relocate with my German partner (unmarried) to Germany in a few months' time. We have been told unequivocally I can only have one of three permit types (an employment permit, job seeker, student/language course).

I can move there for 90 days without a visa and secure the permit during that time. I do not currently speak German, so I want to learn German and seek employment. I'm unclear on the ability to seek work while on a language visa, so I want to figure out what is the best combination of visas to get me the longest amount of time to learn German and secure a job (I have a PhD in social policy and previous work experience. I did get second place in a job recently without any German, so I feel that with German I could secure employment).

Can I either a) secure a language permit that allows me to look for work and then change to an employment permit or b) use a language permit until I'm done and then change to a job seeker's permit? Or should I just try to learn enough German in the 90 days and secure a job seeker's permit?

Thoughts on the best course of action would be appreciated.

  • Can you determine if you PhD is listed in the ANABIN Database. (I have no info how this can be done) Can you (in the worst case scenario) support yourself fo upto 6 months while looking for a job? Commented May 29, 2019 at 12:12
  • Yes, it is in the database (it is also from a European university, as I mentioned, I'm not concerned about my qualifications to secure a job). Yes, I would be able to support myself for the 6 months of job searching. I'm just concerned about reaching a standard of German needed in the time frame, which is why i'm considering the language visa to extend my time to learn the language.
    – N Glynn
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 12:21
  • Yes, but is important since it is pre condition for may visa types (Job seeker, Blue Card). Will look into the details of language visa later [but short of time at the moment] and the combinations possible. Will post answer later. Commented May 29, 2019 at 12:29

1 Answer 1


For your conditions:

  • US Citizen who can apply for a visa from inside Germany
  • has a ANABIN reconised degree
  • needs an Instensiv language course for profession

The combination:

  • 90 day visa free to search for a course, flat etc.
  • §16b (2) AufenthG: Study visa up to 12 months (10 per week work allowed)
  • Job-Seeker-Visa (§18c AufenthG), 6 months without work and when found
    • Blue Card application

would seem to me the best combination.

  • Thanks very much for your thoughts and consideration. I'm a bit unclear on the second-second bullet. What is the "§16b (2) AufenthG: Study visa up to 12 months (10 per week work allowed)" exactly? Is that 12 months to study a language course which also allows part-time work? Would I have to leave Germany to apply for the Job-Seeker visa after the language course or would I be able to apply for the Job-Seeker visa while in Germany and remain there when I am finished with the language training?
    – N Glynn
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 14:17
  • As a US-Citizen you can apply within Germany. §16b (1) is for Sprachkurs (Language course). §16b (2) : if the course serves to complete a professional education, work up to 10 hours a week is allowed. One visa leads to the next with the goal of achieving the last. Commented May 29, 2019 at 18:28

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