I'm attempting to decide what to do of my holidays, and this just popped up on my mind a couple weeks ago.

My original plans included the possibility of, if the place is nice enough, trying to seek employment in there. This left a number of vacationing locations out (say, the US, Spain and Japan, for instance) of my planning.

I've been informally invited to Berlin by a German acquaintance, but she seems to not be entirely clear on the subject of whether I'd be able to, were I to actually like it there, attempt to get a job.

The German embassy hasn't been particularly helpful on that matter either, with them having an extremely broken phone attention that could only be reached once in my last 8 attempts.

Ignoring what my line of work is (requirements for software developers vary hugely and I guess would require a large enough specificity that would cloud the original question),

would I be legally able to attempt to get a job in Germany while there on a tourist visa?

EDIT: Quick clarification: I'm not asking for the legality of working while on inappropiate visa status, that's kind of clearly illegal. I guess my question is more like, can I somehow get in trouble for attempting get a job? And a second, kind of followup question would be, do I actually have to leave the country for any interval if someone somehow manages to find me employable?

Note that I haven't been there, so I'm not even clear on how any of this works either there or in this Schengen (I just had to google what this was) zone.

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    Just bear in mind that not only are you looking for someone to offer you a job, you need someone who's willing to both offer you a job and sponsor you for a work visa!
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 23:45
  • @Gagravarr I kind of get those two things are separate; would any of those require me to get out of Germany to happen? If that's the case then Germany would be out of the picture too; after all, I'm touring the place, I won't do anything that means leaving and coming back later Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 0:00
  • @jpatokal: "I'm touring the place, I won't do anything that means leaving and coming back later". Do you agree that while the original post really does look like only looking for a job this statement actually confirms my impression that Carlos does look for a job with a tourist visa ? Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 0:22
  • I can clarify that. I'd only be touring the place, which means that leaving to get a job leaves it out of the question. In the (from what I gather from you guys) unlikely event that anyone ever does take me, I cannot and wouldn't take it if it meant stopping my touring, getting out for any amount of time and then returning. That's what I've been trying to say. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 0:36

2 Answers 2


As an Argentinian, you may stay in Germany (and anywhere else in Schengen) for a period of up to 90 days for pleasure or business. This means that, legally speaking, you're welcome to look for a job while you're there, as long as you do not actually work at a job without getting the appropriate visa.

In practice, though, when entering Germany, you'll want to have a return ticket back and state your purpose as tourism, because Immigration officers will usually assume that anybody who's looking for work on a tourist visa is also going to illegally work on that tourist visa.

See also this question about looking for work in the US, which is obviously a different country, but otherwise covers the same situation.



Ok, you are according to the comments only trying to look out for a job in Germany, not attempting to work during your stay. Ok, that is entirely possible as long as you make it clear that you need to get a "Aufenthaltstitel" (working permission).

I have modified my original comment because it contains unneeded info. So this is the current state of trying to work in Germany (2013):

  1. If you are a citizen from a EU member (some had time restrictions), you are lucky: You can work and live in the EU wherever you like.

  2. If you are from the rest of the world: Do you have something which needs special knowledge or do you have a special status ? In the "Beschäftigungsverordnung" (BeschV) these ones are listed. The first categories are scientists, journalists or luminaries (musicians, artists etc.). The second ones are Au-Pair or students which only get a limited allowance.

  3. You have the "Blaue Karte" (blue card) which allows you to work in the EU. This is equivalent to the green card for specialists in the USA, but rare and under heavy criticism.

  4. You have found an employer who wants to get you. Now the employer must go to the "Ausländerbehörde" (Agency for Foreigners) and tell them: "I want this man/woman". The agency asks him what are the working conditions, the payment etc. and gives their OK only if the foreigner gets at least a good payment (no dumping). After that the employer gets a letter from the "Arbeitsagentur" (employment agency) which need a "Vermittlungsauftrag" from the employer. Now the employer gets six weeks long people which are currently unemployed and the employer must convincly tell the employment agency that they are all not feasible. Then, and only then, the foreigner gets a limited working permit.

Whew, Germans.

P.S.: As I already said, do not attempt to work illegally.

  • Why not? You can look for a job. But you cannot be employed. You could certainly freelance
    – Karlson
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 23:40
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    Yup. He's not asking about working in Germany with a tourist visa, but about looking for a job. Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 23:40
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    @Karlson: Nope, you cant freelance. You need a at least a "Gewerbeschein", a certificate that you have a business. Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 23:44
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    @Karlson: Moment, please. You are working in Germany for someone who has a company there, right ? You are believing that you can work as a freelancer for this company in Germany with exactly what ? A simple visa or working permit ? How do you pay the German taxes ? Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 23:59
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    @Karlson: I have worked as a freelancer in the reversed way: For a US company working with home-office in Germany and filing taxes was still terrible. While I am confident that you believe it is legal there is a problem: Your state as company must be accepted by German authorities and they almost always never go the easy and simple way. But if you working e.g. only for one main customer, have no workers etc. they assume that you are mimicking self-employance. We have the problem here because people are not stupid and try exactly this way to get a working permit in Germany. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 0:37

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