Getting work permit and finding work

7 posts in this topic

So I'm moving to Cologne next month and am trying to navigate the bureaucracy as best I can. 

I've applied for a variety of jobs, mostly English teaching, as that is what I'm most qualified for

doing in Germany, but can't quite get the idea. Most want me to have a freelance work permit, 

but from what I gather, I wont be given this unless I already have a job? Any advice on your 

experiences with this, finding an English teaching job, or really any work for an American with

a BA in History, would be very helpful.

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Can I ask what brought you here in the first place? Do you have the right to live in Germany through a spouse? If not, it is very difficult to just up and move to Germany and expect to make it without a job lined up. You are able to get a visa to freelance, but its main purpose is for those who want to start a business here. If your plan is just to come here and teach English, you really better have multiple years experience doing it, plus every certification in the book, plus very good German skills, plus ideally a pending job offer from a language school. Assuming you are able to get a visa after all of that, know that teaching English is generally not the most lucrative of jobs, and Cologne is unfortunately one of the more expensive places to live in the country. 

 

If you are here as a trailing expat spouse or you're married to an EU national, then you'll have a somewhat easier time, assuming your spouse can support you. I would look into seeing if any of the big multinational companies in the area would have any job vacancies that don't require German. Though because of your degree, you are again unfortunately a step behind the pack, as German employers put a lot of emphasis on employees being certified to perform their duties (with a completed apprenticeship or a degree in a related subject). Maybe you have some professional experience in the US that you can use to convince an employer to give you a chance. Otherwise, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it's going to be tough. Doing an intensive German class for the first 6-12 months might be a good option and would for sure open more doors for you, though even then you'll be competing with skilled/certified Germans (who, in addition to speaking German fluently, also can likely speak good English) for these professional jobs.

 

Good luck and hope your move works out well.

 

Edit: To end on a positive note though, my American wife, who also has a liberal arts degree, was able to find a good job here at one of the aforementioned big multinational companies in the area. She works mostly in English too, so they definitely exist. It took her about 2 years to find it though and she spent those years doing intensive German classes and applying literally everywhere. And she also had some significant professional experience in the states before moving which helped and she didn't need to worry about a visa as she came along with mine.

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OP-  you might also want to do TT search  for many threads/ posts about non EU citizens/ visa/ freelance/ teaching, and a vital requirement:

Health insurance coverage - approved German insurance.

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Hello ZBiehler!

Americans are free to come to Germany and look for work. Freelance English teaching is a common one and please note the authorities will expect you to have at least TWO freelance job offers. ONE is not enough because you would not be considered freelance if you have only one company paying you. (same rules apply to German freelancers ).

 

To satisfy the visa people, you also need to have recognised health insurance - public insurance in the German system is not possible in your case as an American without an existing visa or being a current " member " of a European public health insurance system.

Have a look at the threads -as RedMidge recommends - on this topic- have a look at the search button top right on here and type in stuff like " health insurance for Americans " etc.

Best of luck!

 

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I would recommend reading this thread:

 

 

Keep in mind that unlike the OP,  you are not allowed to supplement your income working at a bar or with other types of unskilled employment.

 

I would strongly recommend first getting a quote for health insurance and then making a REALISTIC budget. 

 

Most importantly,  make sure to bring ample savings with you!

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Great responses folks, much appreciated. To answer to Ben21, I do indeed have a partner who is a German citizen who I am following. I have lived in Berlin for about a year before, and did various forms of English tutoring/editing during that time freelance, but it was all under the table and I never went official with my status here, preferring instead to just return to California every three months and work there, as it was far more lucrative. This time around, I'm trying to be a bit more 'mature' about it all, especially since I now have a US government issued TEFL cert. with several years of official teaching, and also a California teaching cert. as well. I know it'll be an uphill climb, of that I have no doubt, but I've already set up one interview and got myself going with an online tutoring gig that pays 9euro an hour. If any of you all have any great advice about the interview and paper work for the freelance application that would be awesome. Thanks again. 

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7 minutes ago, ZBiehler said:

If any of you all have any great advice about the interview and paper work for the freelance application that would be awesome.

 

For the paperwork

 

1. Private German (or BaFin-approved foreign) health insurance (try JohnG or Starshollow for quotes) 

 

2. Register in Germany (if you move in with your partner, you need permission from the landlord)

 

3. Obtain at least two offers

 

4. Apply for a freelance permit (depending on where you'll be living, you should make an appointment ASAP)

 

 

 

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