German Opportunity Card Requirements

Will you qualify for the new German Opportunity Card?

The Opportunity Card gives people a legal residence permit and allows people from non-EU countries to come to Germany for job searching or for seeking recognition of foreign professional qualifications, even without an existing job contract. Initially, the Opportunity Card is granted for up to 12 months, mainly depending on the applicant's ability to support themselves financially. During this period of job search, the skilled worker is permitted to work up to 20 hours per week in any job, enabling them to earn a living.

The Opportunity Card can be extended for up to 24 more months, if a job contract or a solid job offer for a qualified job is present, but not all requirements for other work residence permits are met yet. The Opportunity Card is especially aimed at newcomers, but also those already residing in Germany with a residence permit for work or education can apply starting in June 2024.

There are two ways to get the Opportunity Card. If you have a bachelor's degree or higher that Germany recognizes, you  automatically qualify for the Opportunity Card. Or if you have at least two years of higher education or vocational training, you need to earn at least 6 points.

Check now if you qualify for the Opportunity Card with our calculator

Detailed Question Explanations

1. Are you a citizen of a country that is outside the EU?

Citizens from EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are not eligible to apply for the Opportunity Card. Citizens from all other countries can apply. Ukrainian nationals should note that more favorable special regulations are available to them.

2. How do you intend to prove your financial resources for the visa application?

The Opportunity Card serves as a job search visa, allowing professionals to seek employment in their field in Germany. Within the 12-month search period, holders may take any job, including unskilled labor, to support themselves but are limited to working 20 hours a week. This ensures they have enough time to find a skilled job. Once a professional position is secured, the visa status changes.

To apply for the Opportunity Card visa, applicants must prove they can support themselves by showing an work contract, setting up a blocked account, or receiving a declaration of commitment from someone in Germany. The minimum financial requirement is €1,027 per month. If using an work contract, this amount must be net income after taxes, social security, and health insurance contributions. Alternatively, applicants may demonstrate their financial self-sufficiency by maintaining a blocked account with sufficient funds to cover monthly needs of €1,027. For a visa spanning 12 months, this translates to a total of €12,324. Should the visa duration be shorter, the required total amount in the blocked account will be proportionally less. The third option, a declaration of commitment, involves a person or institution in Germany guaranteeing the applicant's living expenses, which requires a thorough financial assessment of the guarantor.

3. Do you have a Bachelor's degree which is recognized by the German authorities?

‍If you have a bachelor's degree or higher that is recognized in Germany, you automatically qualify for the Opportunity Card. This means you do not need to earn any points since you are already considered a skilled worker.

anabin Database

To find out if your bachelor's degree is recognized in Germany you first have to check the anabin database.

You need to make sure of two things in the anabin database:
1. The educational institution where you got your degree must be rated as "H+" in anabin.
2. Your degree must be listed there as equal ("gleichwertig") or similar ("entspricht") to a German bachelor's degree.

Here is a guide on how to research in the anabin database.

Individual Check

If the information in the anabin database does not match the required criteria, or if the educational institution is not listed in anabin, the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) needs to check your qualifications individually. This costs €200. You can find out about the process and the documents you need on their website.

When the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) looks at your qualifications individually, there are two possible outcomes. They might say your degree is equal to a German bachelor's degree. That's good news for you. Then you receive the Opportunity Card right away without having to earn any points. Or they might not recognize your degree as equivalent to a German bachelor's degree. But that's okay because if you don't have a recognized bachelor's degree, you can still qualify for the Opportunity Card by showing you have at least two years of higher education. However, you then need to earn at least 6 points in other areas to receive the Opportunity Card.

Recognition of Vocational Training

There's another way to get the Opportunity Card directly. If you have vocational education, you can be fully recognized as a skilled worker by a German authority. But this is very complicated when done from outside Germany. You can find more information on that topic here.

If the German authority determines during the recognition process that your vocational training is partially recognized, then you must answer 'no' to question 3. However, you will receive 4 points for question 5, 'Has a competent German authority already partially recognized your professional qualification?'

4. Do you have a higher education or vocational training with a minimum duration of 2 years?

You need to have either a degree from a university, a professional or vocational training that lasted at least two years and was officially approved in the country where you did it, or a vocational training granted by a German Chamber of Commerce Abroad (AHK).

5. Has a competent German authority already partially recognized your professional qualification?

See explanation of Recognition of Vocational Training.

6. How good is your German and English?

Please choose only one skill level for each language you speak.

7. How old are you?

People over 45 must demonstrate a higher amount for financial resources.

8. Do you have work experience in your formal profession?

The work experience must be in a related field of your degree or training.

9. Does your professional qualification belong to one of the shortage occupations?

All kinds of engineers are considered as shortage occupations. Look at the full list.

10. Have you lived in Germany legally and without a break for at least 6 months within the last five years?

Short breaks where you left the federal area, but still spent most of your time in Germany, are irrelevant.

11. Is your spouse or registered partner, who is qualified for the Opportunity Card, also applying for one?

You earn an extra point if your spouse or registered partner, who is qualified for the Opportunity Card, is also applying for one.

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