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Job search Opportunity card (Chancenkarte)

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General Information

An opportunity card has been introduced to enable jobseekers to stay in Germany to look for employment. This card can be obtained in two ways: Third-country nationals who receive full recognition of their foreign qualifications and are therefore considered „skilled workers“ under Section 18 para. 3 of the Residence Act (AufenthG) can obtain an opportunity card without any further special requirements. All other applicants must provide evidence of a foreign university degree, a vocational qualification of at least two years’ duration (in each case recognised by the state in the country of training) or a vocational qualification issued by a German Chamber of Commerce Abroad. In addition, a basic knowledge of German (level A1 CEFR) or English (level B2 CEFR) is required.

If these requirements are met, points are awarded for criteria such as recognition of qualifications in Germany, language skills, professional experience, age, links to Germany, and the potential of accompanying partners or spouses. Applicants must score a minimum of six points to receive an opportunity card.

Opportunity cards are issued for a maximum of one year, provided that the holder is able to support themselves for that period. It allows the holder to do work trials or take up secondary employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week during their stay in Germany. If an applicant is subsequently unable to obtain another residence title for employment purposes under Part 4 (Sections 18 to 21 of the Residence Act [AufenthG]) but nevertheless has an offer of qualified employment, the opportunity card can be extended for a further two years.


How does the points system for opportunity cards work?

The points system is only relevant if Option 2 applies to you, i.e. if you are unable to demonstrate that you have a German qualification or that your foreign qualification has been fully recognised. To apply for an opportunity card visa, you must also provide evidence of formal qualifications and the necessary language skills. You can score points for the following criteria:

- Equivalence of qualification: If you have already applied for recognition of your foreign qualification and it has been found to be partially equivalent, you will receive four points. You will still receive the four points if, in the case of a regulated profession, you are required to participate in compensatory measures before obtaining a licence to practise your profession.

- Qualification in a shortage occupation: If your formal qualification is in a shortage occupation, you will get one point. To find out which occupations are considered to be in short supply, consult the List of shortage occupations.

- Professional experience: You will also be awarded points for your previous professional experience in relation to your formal qualification. Two points will be awarded if you can demonstrate that you have at least two years’ post-qualification professional experience within the last five years. If you have at least five years’ professional experience within the last seven years, you will get three points.

- Language skills: You will also earn points if your German language skills are above level A1 (CEFR). One point is awarded at level A2, two points at level B1 and three points at level B2 or above. An additional point will be awarded if you have English at level C1 or above, or if you are a native speaker.

- Age: You also receive points if you are a certain age. People who are no older than 35 get two points until the day they turn 35. All those aged between 35 and 40 are awarded one point.

- Previous stays in Germany: Have you already lived in Germany? If you can prove that you have resided legally in Germany for a continuous period of at least six months in the last five years, you will receive one point. Examples of such stays include study, language and work stays. Stays for the purpose of tourism or visiting people do not count. Copies of old passports and the visas and entry stamps they contain can be submitted as evidence.

- Skilled worker potential of spouses or life partners: Are you married or in a partnership and would like to come to Germany with your partner on an opportunity card? If your partner already meets the requirements for an opportunity card, you will be awarded one point in the points system. With this in mind, he or she can also do the self-check: opportunity card.

For both Option 1 and Option 2, you must have sufficient financial resources to fund your job search in Germany. During the visa process, you can demonstrate this ability with a blocked bank account (containing a minimum of €1,027 net per month, amount applicable in 2024) or a declaration of commitment.

Processing period

The processing period may take 2-3 months. During the processing period you cannot inquire about the status of your application. Upon expiry of the processing period only the applicant, his/her legal representative or persons holding an authorization letter from the applicant may inquire about the status of the visas.

Fees

The fee is 75,00 € payable in USD cash only. Please bring small USD bills. The application form can be downloaded for free.

Necessary documents

Please bring the following documents in the mentioned order to your appointment at the Embassy. Additional documents may in some cases be requested. Documents sent in advance will not be archived.

Complete the online application form (application forms are required for each applicant separately; all children require separate forms).

Bring one signed copy of the form including the barcodes to your appointment.

A valid passport signed by the holder, issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least one year is necessary. The passport needs to have at least 2 subsequent blank pages. Please bring one photocopy of the passport biodata page to your appointment.

1 fully biometric passport photo, 35 x 45 mm, no older than three months. Digitally altered passport photos cannot be accepted. Please ensure that your photo adheres to German biometric requirements and is taken in front of a white/bright background.

Non-Zimbabweans - please bring your valid Zimbabwean residence permit and 1 photocopy to your appointment.

Option 1: You have a foreign professional or academic qualification that is fully recognised in Germany. Alternatively, you obtained your university degree or professional qualification in Germany.

We will need to see the original degree certificate or a copy either notarised by a notary public or certified by the issuing academic institution. The original will be returned to you during your appointment. Any document in a language other than German or English needs to be translated into one of these languages by a certified or sworn translator.

  • 1 photocopy of the original and translation (if applicable)
  • Print-outs from the official database (ANABIN) - showing that both the qualification as well as the academic institution are listed as comparable - 1 copy
  • OR original of the „Statement of Comparability for Foreign Higher Education Qualifications“, issued by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB) plus 1 photocopy of the ZAB statement.

Option 2: You score a minimum of six points in the points system in addition to meeting the following requirements:

You have successfully completed vocational or academic training. It is important that the qualification is recognised by the country in which you obtained it. In addition, your vocational qualification must have required at least two years of vocational training. To support your visa application, you will need a positive result for this qualification, which you can apply for online at the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB).

If you completed Category A vocational education and training at a German Chamber of Commerce Abroad (AHK) that meets the requirements of the Vocational Training Act [BBiG], this qualification may also be suitable. For more information, please contact the AHK where you obtained your qualification.

We will need to see the original qualification or a copy either notarised by a notary public or certified by the issuing vocational institution. The original will be returned to you during your appointment. Any document in a language other than German or English needs to be translated into one of these languages by a certified or sworn translator.

  • 1 photocopy of the original and translation (if applicable)
  • Original of the recognition notice regarding your professional qualification plus 1 photocopy

You will also be awarded points for your previous professional experience in relation to your formal qualification. Two points will be awarded if you can demonstrate that you have at least two years’ post-qualification professional experience within the last five years. If you have at least five years’ professional experience within the last seven years, you will get three points.

Please provide the originals and 1 copy of those experience certificates.

You will also earn points if your German language skills are above level A1 (CEFR). One point is awarded at level A2, two points at level B1 and three points at level B2 or above. An additional point will be awarded if you have English at level C1 or above, or if you are a native speaker.

Please provide proof of recognized German language proficiency skills in Original and 1 copy.

Please briefly describe your professional career.

  • Evidence of sufficient funds minimum EUR 1,027 for each month of stay, (valid as of 2024, subject to change). Options below may be combined, provided that the total requirement is being met. Please note that NO alternative evidence of funds is acceptable.
    • Blocked account - EUR 12,324 for one year
    • OR formal commitment („Verpflichtungserklärung“) by sponsor resident in Germany

Confirmation of health insurance cover commensurate with the level of statutory German public health insurance („gesetzliche Krankenversicherung“).

Book an appointment

Please note that the online platform to apply will be made available in late August 2024.

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