I've already seen the questions Do I need a degree in IT to apply for an EU Blue Card as a software engineer or is any degree enough? and What's my degree worth in Germany?. Both answers state that you'd have to get your degree recognized in order to work as a software engineer in Germany.

However, on DAAD's website, there's a document (page 5) stating that for "IT specialists" and "language teachers", there's no need for any degree at all:

For jobs requiring qualified professional training, approval may be issued for qualified workers with a recognised degree or a foreign university degree equivalent to a German university degree (Section 27 No. 1 Employment Regulation), to IT specialists (Section 27 No. 2 Employment Regulation) or language teachers (Section 26 Employment Regulation).

Also, in the question Blue Card vs Regular Work Permit for IT Specialists, the OP states he already works as an "IT specialist" on a regular work permit in Germany but doesn't have any degree. So I'm quite confused.

One explanation I've come up with is that to apply for a Blue Card you do still need a degree, while to apply for a regular German work permit you don't need a degree. I'm not sure if such an interpretation of the above information makes much sense.

Also, I'm not sure what the term "IT specialist" exactly means. It seems that any software engineer should classify but I can't find the place where an exact definition is given.

  • 2
    For most (if not all) IT jobs in Germany, there is no legal requirement for any degree – it is entirely a matter of convincing the employer that you can do the job to their satisfaction, and it is quite common to find people working in various IT jobs without a formal IT qualification. Unless there is an explicit requirement for a degree in order to get a Blue Card (which I cannot answer), you wouldn't need formal proof of a degree, other than to convince your future employer.
    – user149408
    Jun 6, 2016 at 20:25

2 Answers 2


UPDATE: YES, from 01.03.2020 one does not need a degree to work as an IT specialist in Germany. Please see the following information (in German) for details:

Old answer left for the reference (the laws described below should still be valid, so that they are extended but not replaced with a new regulation) below (paragraph numbering in the law was changed after my answer, please double-check it yourself, e.g. former §19a is now §18c):

One explanation I've come up with is that to apply for a Blue Card you do still need a degree, while to apply for a regular German work permit you don't need a degree

This is partly right. A degree is not necessarily needed. However, it still could be that you need to have a degree to apply for any of these 2 types of residence permits.

Historically, in Germany, there was a regular residence permit for workers that is issued according to §18 AufenthG. Then, after the EU introduced the Blue Card, a new paragraph was added to the immigration law: §19a AufenthG.

Also, §19 in general describes the residence permit for highly-qualified persons (who are expected to have higher education), while §18 describes the residence permit for all kinds of workers in general.

So, these paragraphs have different requirements and benefits (and I strongly advise you to dig into both of them). To get a Blue Card, a university degree is mandatory (please see details here, but it could indeed have been updated since 2013). Theoretically, according to §18a, to get a residence permit for workers, 3 years of working experience could be enough (even without a degree), if you were already in Germany before you apply for it. Another option to get a residence permit for workers without having a degree could be an agreement between Germany and another country, or individual permission (§ 18 Abs. 3 AufenthG).

If yo do not have any kind of degree after school, and if there is no special agreement between your country and Germany, it could be more complicated but maybe still possible for you to get a residence permit as a worker. This now slowly becomes too complicated for me to dig into German laws at this point, so please double check the following on your own:

If you apply for the regular residence permit for workers, in most cases, your application will be checked by a kind of job center (Bundesagentur für Arbeit), to check if you do not compete with Germans on the job market. For IT, there is a high demand for workers right now, so such a check should not be a problem, if you have a degree.

And if you do not have a degree, as far as I understand from § 18 Abs. 3 and §42 AufenthG, you can still get the permission after your qualifications are checked, but I'm not sure about it. Probably, for an IT position, you still have chances to get it, if you got a job offer already. The decision can depend on the salary or the specific requirements that a company has for a particular position, please see the document from the Arbeitsagentur, Section 2.2 for more details.

P.S. I'm not a lawyer.

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    Hi @Andrey, I know this is a bit late, but in my case I have a Bachelors degree in Arts (Which is not recognized - 'conditionally comparable') and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Computer Applications (again not recognized but conditionally comparable). My university is H+ in the anabin database. I was told by one embassy official that I'm not eligible and the other said it won't be an issue to get a work visa. This seems quite confusing. Dec 9, 2019 at 18:06
  • Hi @Winston, yes, your situation might be confusing, but how can I help you or what is your question? The info in my answer should still be correct. Just check the linked document and see if you can find there something for your particular case. Also you might need to have a job offer in hands to apply for a visa. Cause you might be not eligible for Blue Card or job seeking visa. However, I'm not a lawyer and cannot say anything 100% sure for your particular case. You might also pay to officially check if your education is sufficient. Dec 11, 2019 at 12:29
  • Yes I do have an offer in hand. Thanks @Andrey that makes sense. I will keep you posted. Dec 12, 2019 at 7:20
  • "I'm not a lawyer." A very good lawyer stunt though! Thanks for the thorough explanation.
    – sepehr
    Jan 15, 2020 at 15:18

imho no, unfortunately, the real experience shows the laws that have been implemented in 2020 practically don’t work that easy. The law demands 3 things:

  • A contract with at least 55K Euros yearly (2021) and
  • German Language B1 and
  • the one that you are unlikely to pass - 3 years of the work experience within the last 7 years.

Theoretically - yes. Practicaly, not that easy. I wouldn't waste one's time.

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    What do you mean they don't work? Why would someone hire a professional who has neither a degree nor work experience? These laws are made so German companies can hire experienced foreign workers. If they keep out people with no degree and no experience, I'd say they work as designed. Also, how would you get someone to pay you 55K Euros with no degree and no experience, outside of visa fraud?
    – nvoigt
    Jul 30, 2021 at 5:40
  • for the third-country-foreigners(dritstaatsangehörige), often comes to the point of the extreme difficulty to validate their real developers experience in accordance with the legislative demands apart from very closed-minded, narrow situations of generally accepted and used-to ways which are "encrypted" on paper, so, as I mentioned "practically" the last condition is hardly achievable, unlikely, imho+real experience, alternatively the "blue card" way of generally well-known and accepted way would be much easier to go Jul 30, 2021 at 15:54

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