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How to Move to Germany Without a Job

Want to move to Germany but don’t have a job? Well, let me tell you, that can be tricky. Not impossible, but very tricky.

As with most annoying things to do with moving abroad, the trouble with moving to Germany comes with getting a visa, and without a job, that gets a lot harder. That being said, it is definitely possible.

So, here’s how to move to Germany without a job. Let’s dive in and find out more. 

Also, I highly recommend traveling to Germany and living there for a bit before making your decision, and you can do that for free with Trusted Housesitters. You can stay at someone’s house while they are away in exchange for watching their house or sometimes their pet.

It’s a great way to travel the world for free or test out a city in Germany without fully committing!


Okay, the bane of every expats life is visa applications and the miles of red tape that come with them.

It’s pretty unusual to be able to move to Germany without a job as most people come through with a work-sponsored visa, or move internally within their international company to an office in Germany.

However, there are a few visas and allowances that will allow you to move to Germany without a job. 

Student Visa

First up, we have Germany’s student visa. This one is fairly straightforward.

If you have been accepted by a college or university to study in Germany and you can prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while you’re here, then you’re eligible for a student visa.

A passport with visa

This has to be the most common way to move to Germany without having a job already in place.

These visas are normally last for the length of your course until graduation, so make sure that you either have a sponsored job lined up or you’re prepared to move to another country. 

Language Course Visa

An offshoot of the student visa is the language course visa. In a lot of countries, you can semi-bypass the student visa system by enrolling in a language college and getting admission that way.

However, in Germany, the Language Course Visa is its own thing.

It’s designed for people who are partaking in educational language activities for anywhere between three months and one year.

So if this sounds like you and you want to learn some German, it’s a lot easier to organize and a lot cheaper than a three-year degree course!

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Spousal Visa

If your spouse is a German national or has permanent residency, you can apply to join them in Germany without having a job lined up.

There are different processes depending on your country of origin, but normally you need to prove that you can speak German to a reasonable level (usually A2 or B1), and bring paperwork proving your relationship with your spouse through marriage certificates or co-habitation paperwork. 

Jobseeker Visa

This visa kind of does what it says on the tin. You can apply to stay in Germany for normally up to six months to help you find a job with sponsorship for a more long-term visa.

It’s sometimes easier to try and get everything set up while you’re actually in the country, so this might be useful if you’re not having any luck trying to secure a sponsored visa from your home country.

It’s also useful if you want to work in a more hourly rate role or a seasonal position as these are easier to find when you’re in-country.

Freelancer Visa

If you’re an artist, writer, or someone who works in more of a liberal industry, you might be eligible for a Freelancer Visa. It’s super important to know that in Germany, freelancing is much more of a liberal thing, not a commercial practice.

So, if you’re a business consultant or freelancer in the more professional industry sense, you might not be eligible for this kind of visa.

However, if you’re more artistic and have a project in Germany that you want to work on, you need to include your project pitch in your visa application to be considered.

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EU Citizenship

Are you lucky enough to be from an EU country? Well then, you’ll be eligible to live in Germany without having to get a job.

You can visit freely and apply for more long-term residencies without much of the red tape that other expats have to face.

You also have the right to work in Germany without having to get a dedicated sponsored work visa.

So, you can come to Germany, look for a job in your own time, and then register for your residency permit like every other expat!

Schengen Zone

So, one of the most popular ways for people to visit Germany is through the Schengen Zone.

Essentially, this means that you can travel through a whole host of European countries, most of which are in the European Union, without having to get individual visas.

Schengen allows you to travel up to 90 days within a 180-day period, so you can stay for up to approximately three months before you have to think about visas. 

The thing with the Schengen pass or zone is that you cannot legally work in any of these countries. Not even as a digital nomad or freelancer.

If you’re caught you can get deported from Germany and you might even get banned from re-entering the Schengen zone as a whole. It’s definitely not worth it.

However, you can use your time in the Schengen zone to help find a job with sponsorship so that you can switch to a long-term sponsored work visa once your 90 days are up.

This is probably the best use of your time and you don’t need to worry about applying and spending money on the Jobseeker Visa if you can get something lined up during your visa-less Schengen entry timeline. 

Learning German

So, if you’re thinking about moving to Germany, you’re going to have to learn German. There’s really no way around it, and honestly, it’s going to make your move there much easier in the long run. 

a person holding an orange book

Deal with red tape is one thing, but dealing with it when you don’t know the language is a whole other ballgame!

In fact, many visas and residency permits require you to prove a certain level of German language proficiency.

As you get closer to permanent residency or citizenship, the requirement gets higher, so initially, it tends to be an A2 level according to the internationally recognized CEFR scale.

Some permits and visas require a B1 level, which is a more intermediate level, and you’ll need to complete a formal test and show your certificate as proof. 

Saving Money

If you’re thinking about moving to Germany without a job lined up, you’re going to want to save up a good chunk of money.

Think about it this way, you still need money for rent, utilities, food, transport, and more while you’re looking for a job in Germany. This soon adds up.

Add international flights into the mix and your budget soon runs into thousands of Euros.

Of course, if you’re staying with friends or family members, or have bursaries or financial aid for studying abroad, a lot of the time, you’re going to need to supplement this with your savings. 

Finding a job with sponsorship can take time, so make sure you have a decent financial buffer to support you while you’re in Germany.

In fact, some visas will require you to prove that you have a certain amount of money in your savings account to ensure you won’t become a burden on the state. So, get saving!

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