Assuming one is a permanent resident of an EU state other than Germany (e.g. Czech Republic), what documents are needed for them to work in Germany? The German Federal Office for Migration mentions that:

Residence permit for third-country nationals who have acquired the "permanent EC resident" title in another EU Member State

This residence permit will be granted to a third-country national who wishes to live in Germany for longer than three months

However it isn't clear if an EU resident can start working in Germany without any additional documents and then apply for a residency if deciding to stay for more than three months.

An equivalent Czech law mentions that it's possible to work without a visa if the person in question has been a permanent resident of the EU for more than 1 year. Unfortunately I don't know enough German to dig up the equivalent German law.

  • That Czech law is very very odd, you need to have resided in the EU for more than 5 years to qualify for the status anyway!?
    – Gala
    Oct 10, 2016 at 8:28
  • Technically, the correct English-language terminology (as used in EU law and in other countries) is "long-term resident". It's also the litteral meaning of Daueraufenthalt in German so the translation from the BAMF is confusing. (There is also something called "permanent residence" in EU law but that's for EU citizens and their family.)
    – Gala
    Oct 10, 2016 at 8:48
  • @Gala you must have been a permanent resident for 1 year to apply, which means 6 years total in the EU. Once this condition is satisfied you are free to work for up to 3 months without a permit. Oct 10, 2016 at 9:11

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia (in German) has an extensive discussion of this issue. Basically, the answer is no, you are not allowed to work before you get an authorisation from the Bundesagentur fur Arbeit and you might not even be allowed to stay in Germany unless you find a job that satisfies their requirements (highly qualified, etc.) or are able to show sufficient financial means to cover your needs.

There are two differences between long-term EC residents and other third-country nationals:

  • Long-term residents don't need a visa before entering Germany and can complete all the formalities from within the country.
  • If they satisfy the conditions, they have a right to a residence permit (i.e. no discretion or Ermessen on the part of the authorities). But that's a big "if", in particular the nature of the job you intend to take will be evaluated by the authorities before granting the authorisation.

This is all rooted in EU law, specifically directive 2003/109/EC, which does not require EU member states to let long-term residents in another member state work immediately and allows them to apply all the regular rules on labour market tests, language courses, etc. (cf. article 14).

  • Sigh... sadly this means EU residency isn't really a big deal compared to having a regular Schengen visa. Oct 10, 2016 at 9:10
  • @JonathanReez Yes and no. EU member states are very sensitive on this subject and don't want to give up their ability to control third country citizens so their rights are indeed very limited and this is a far cry from an actual right to reside in the EU. On the other hand, the fees for a regular work visa can be high (close to €900 in the Netherlands) and being a permanent resident elsewhere in the EU could at least spare you that?
    – Gala
    Nov 17, 2016 at 9:36

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