A friend of mine (US citizen) in Berlin was just laid off after 9 days on the job. It was not performance-related, as the company is quite obviously struggling and let go of many people on the same day. In case the context is helpful, she's a UI/UX designer with 5+ years of experience working in San Francisco, CA.

She's been in Germany for 33 days and had a valid residence/working permit for 10 days prior to the layoff, ergo, she'd 'used up' 23 days of her tourist visa.

Edit: Based on an earlier post, h/t @Gala, at a minimum, she should be allowed to stay in Germany for the 67 days remaining on her tourist visa.

What we haven't been able to confirm, though, is whether the permit she was given allows her to stay in Germany for 3 years but without the right to work for another company unless otherwise granted (IOW, a situation where the work permit is tied to her previous employer only, but her residence permit remains valid unless explicitly revoked), OR whether both her working and residence permit expire in 2 weeks when she's officially no longer employed by the company that sponsored her.

The first page of the permit, which has work-related info, reads:

"Beschäftigung nicht gestattet mit Ausnahme der Tätigkeit als UX/UI Designer bei [redacted], 10*** Berlin bis zum 14.10.2018. Selbstständige Tätigkeit gestattet"

...which Google Translate renders to:

"Employment not permitted except for activity as a UX / UI Designer at [redacted] 10*** Berlin until 14.10.2018. Independent work permitted"

(Note: reads as though she's also allowed to freelance, which is good news because it's common in her field).

The second page of the permit, titled Aufenthaltstitel (Residence Permit), shows the Gültig Bis (Date of Expiry) as 14.11.18. The Art des Titels (type of permit) in this section is Aufenhaltserlaubnis (again, Residence Permit). There's no mention of her employer on this page.

An optimistic reading of these 2 pages is that while her working permit allows work only with her previous employer (and potentially, freelance work too), her residence permit is valid for 3 years regardless of her employment status, so she's at least free to remain in Germany during that time to try to find full-time work, at which point the new company would need to help her secure an updated work permit.

  • 2
    Yes, she can still stay for 90 days under short-stay rules (technically, she does not need and cannot get a visa for short stays as US citizen), see travel.stackexchange.com/questions/10504/… But it's not even obvious that her permit would expire on the day her contract ends. I don't know the rules in Germany but in France for example, you can get a one year extension if you find yourself unemployed through no fault of your own (not if you leave your job voluntarily however).
    – Gala
    Oct 30, 2015 at 18:46
  • Thanks @Gala, that's super helpful. I'll have her call the US embassy first thing on Monday morning for clarification, too. Her former employer hasn't been super helpful with information about her residence/work permit expiration timeline, so it's probably safest to assume it ends in 2 weeks, though she'll certainly look into a long-term extension (initially, the visa was issued for 3 years).
    – wints
    Oct 30, 2015 at 19:17
  • Upon rereading I notice that your friend apparently stayed for 23 days before the start of a current long-stay visa/permit. If I understand correctly, those 23 days would count toward the 90-day limit so there would be 67 days left.
    – Gala
    Oct 30, 2015 at 19:19
  • @Gala yes, makes perfect sense, and we're on the same page. She is going to assume that she has 67 days in the country if she doesn't find another job or apply for a different visa / extension.
    – wints
    Oct 30, 2015 at 19:22
  • 1
    @Gala my understanding is that only the permission to work is tied to the specific employer. The residence permit will remain valid unless the issuing office revokes it. If the friend has enough savings to support herself for a while, she ought to be able to remain in Germany without regard to the 90/180 rule.
    – phoog
    Oct 31, 2015 at 6:42

1 Answer 1


OK, we have a resolution. I'm sure that no two cases are the same, and so I certainly recommend seeking professional legal advice if you find yourself in a similar situation. That said, here's what we learned.

• Fortunately, my friend's company provided her with a lawyer to help navigate her permits (private practice, not in-house) and paid for fees without limit. This was quite generous.

• First thing, the lawyer advised my friend that remaining days on the '90/180 days visa-exempt' was no longer valid in any capacity, and my friend essentially forfeited her remaining 90/180 days when she accepted her working and residence permit. This means that my friend had only 2 weeks while she was still technically employed to figure out a permit extension or get a new job; after 2 weeks, technically, she wouldn't be allowed to stay in Germany / Schengen Area any longer.

• The lawyer immediately prepared to file a request with the Ausländerbehörde to grant a 6-month permit extension in order for my friend to search for a new job in Germany. In the 2-week period while she was still technically employed by her first company, my friend landed a number of interviews in Berlin, and these interviews helped the lawyer make a case for why my friend should be granted a short-term permit extension.

• Before the end of the 2-week period, my friend received and accepted a job offer from one of the companies that interviewed her. The lawyer passed news of the job offer along to the Ausländerbehörde, and the Ausländerbehörde communicated directly to the lawyer that my friend was free to travel in and out of / stay in Germany even before a permit for her new job came through. So, to be clear, there was a ~3 week gap between 'when my friend was technically still employed by the first company' and 'when the permit for the new job came through', but the Ausländerbehörde gave the lawyer a verbal OK that my friend could stay in Germany and could travel freely.

• Within a couple weeks, my friend received a Blue Card for her new position, and she's already started at her new job.

I tried to be succinct in my recap, I'm happy to provide more information if I can. I should note that much of the communication happened directly between the Ausländerbehörde and the lawyer (the lawyer seemed to be there on a daily basis, which makes sense), and my friend often got a paraphrased version of events from the lawyer.

Lastly, to be clear, my friend was not able to verify via another (human) source that the lawyer's advice regarding the invalidation of the remaining 90/180 days visa-exempt after accepting a residence/labor permit. It's possible that the lawyer was correct and that my friend's case was, in fact, different than what we expected, but the lawyer did a poor job of communicating how it was different. It's also possible the lawyer misunderstood the case and gave inaccurate advice. For example, we can see that page 5 in this document shows a 2013 amendment:

"1a. For the purposes of implementing paragraph 1, the date of entry shall be considered as the first day of stay on the territory of the Member States and the date of exit shall be considered as the last day of stay on the territory of the Member States. Periods of stay authorised under a residence permit or a long-stay visa shall not be taken into account in the calculation of the duration of stay on the territory of the Member States."

My friend chose to make decisions regarding her legal status--such as taking the first job offered to her vs. continuing to search for something that might've been a better fit--as if the lawyer's advice was accurate.

  • 3
    I'm glad you found a resolution, but the lawyer's advice, as quoted, sounds wrong. For one thing, as a US citizen, your friend never had a tourist visa. Rather, she entered as a visa-exempt traveler. Second, this idea that the visa-free stay is immediately forfeit upon receipt of a residence permit is completely inconsistent with the Schengen codes. They are quite explicit that time spent in the area under a national residence permit is to be excluded from the 90/180 calculation; if having a permit pre-empted the calculation altogether, why would they say that?
    – phoog
    Dec 28, 2015 at 23:08
  • 1
    @phoog I changed the language to remove 'tourist visa' so the answer is clearer. And we were also surprised by the lawyer's advice. My friend was very explicit in letting the lawyer know that she entered the country visa-exempt and had not yet stayed for the allowed 90/180, and the lawyer's recommendation did not change. It's possible that the lawyer made a mistake / misunderstood the 90/180 visa-free allowance. I'll also make it clear that my friend is not certain that the lawyer's advice was accurate, but this was the recommendation from someone in regular contact w/ the Ausländerbehörde.
    – wints
    Dec 29, 2015 at 7:38
  • I like the another answer of yours (expatriates.stackexchange.com/a/8289/13223) more than this one. Maybe you can cross-reference both questions/answers. Apr 14, 2020 at 10:36

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