I am a student from outside the European Union currently starting my Master's in Tallinn, Estonia. I have lived here for 3 years already as I completed my bachelor's, naturally, I have a residence permit and visa, which is valid until 2022.

I want to do an internship in Germany and I am trying to find out how to go there.

I have tried to research this everywhere but every single source about non-EU citizens working/interning in Germany is all about people that are coming from a country outside the EU. There is almost zero information about the procedure of someone who is not an EU citizen but resides in the EU, with a residence permit, visa, and free allowance to travel to all EU members for up to 90 days (internship offer I received is for 90 days). I am applying for the ZAV approval to work in Germany, but everywhere I look I supposedly need this special "internship visa", but it seems to me that this visa only matters to those who come directly from countries outside the EU and need this internship visa in order to enter the EU, which is not the case as I am already in the EU, but I cannot confirm this information anywhere to my future employer who is concerned about it and they also cannot find any information either, they want the assurance that nothing will go wrong if I just get the ZAV approval and hop on the next plane.

And yes, I tried contacting the embassy in Tallinn but they have been incredibly unhelpful and contradicting so I wanted to ask anyone who has had this experience or knows about it.


Since you have a residence permit in Estonia, which is in the Schengen zone, you can live in another Schengen country without a visa, regardless of your nationality.

So, assuming that the internship will last less than 3 months and legally you are not considered as "working" during the internship, you just need to find an internship and travel; that is it. For example, some research institute gives you a stipend instead of a salary, and there are some ways that your internship is not considered as working (it depends on how the hosting party legally defines that internship).

The situation is similar to this question.

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  • The question you link to states that a visa or residence permit doesn't automatically allow the holder to work in another country in the EU. It’s not therefore correct to say “you just need to find an internship and travel”. – Traveller Jun 9 at 8:02
  • @Traveller Then let me more clearly explain what I mean – onurcanbkts Jun 9 at 9:32
  • Europa site says otherwise: "If you want to do an internship in another EU country, it is sometimes necessary to apply for a new visa. The rules for this differ per country." There must be something in German law or policy that says they accept interns with a residence permit from another EU country. If the consulate is unhelpful, he needs an official answer from another German authority to be sure he will not have bigger problems. ec.europa.eu/education/study-in-europe/news/… – gstorto Jul 9 at 17:53
  • @gstorto there are different types of internships; some pay salaries, and some give allowance. In the case of the latter, as the webpage also indicates by saying "sometimes", you don't need to a visa nor a residence permit (as long as the duration is less than 3 months). In the former case, you will need to get a permission from the "labour office" and probably need a visa / residence permit. – onurcanbkts Jul 9 at 18:22
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    @gstorto It's not that simple, there isn't a single answer and no reason German law should provide a simple answer. An internship with an academic institution is not the same as an internship in the private sector, it also makes a difference if the internship is a mandatory part of initial education or not. Europa doesn't say otherwise, either. – Relaxed Jul 9 at 20:18

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