For a short trip to Germany, you may not need a visa. However, if you want to find a job while you’re there, or are planning on staying for more than 90 days you’ll likely need a visa to cover your stay. A working holiday visa is a great option for eligible applicants, allowing you to stay in Germany for a longer period and combine work and holiday while you’re there. There are strict eligibility criteria for this visa type, and you’re advised to apply before you travel to Germany to make it easier to settle once you arrive.
More on working holiday visa conditions and how to submit your application, in this overview. We will also cover a great way to manage your money and cut the costs of currency exchange while you’re in Germany - the multi-currency borderless account from TransferWise.
There are a range of different visa options for Australian citizens planning a trip to Germany. If you’re going for a short trip of under 90 days, and don’t intend to work, you may not need a visa at all. However, if you are going to be living and working in Germany, or plan a longer stay, you may need to get a visa sorted before you travel¹.
The visa types available through the German Consulate General in Sydney include²:
- Short term visas - Schengen visas
- Working holiday visas
- Long term visas - such as work permits and employment visas
- Visas for family reunion
- Study visas
This article will concentrate on the working holiday visa options available to Australian citizens. For all other visa types, check out the details online, or contact the German Consulate General’s office for more advice.
A working holiday visa is not a work permit or an employment visa.
Working holiday visas are issued under strict criteria, usually to younger people aged between 18 and 30. There may be restrictions on the type of work you can do, or how long you can work for an employer. The main purpose of these visa types is to encourage people to explore a new place, with work being a secondary activity rather than the main aim of the trip.
If you’ve already had a job offer, or want to stay indefinitely in Germany, you might need to get an employment visa instead.
A working holiday visa to Germany may suit you if you fulfil the eligibility criteria.
You’ll need to be within the approved age range - 18 to 30 - and you can only usually work for 6 months for the same employer, even if your visa is issued for a full 12 month stay. One of the advantages of the working holiday visa is that you don’t need to have arranged a job before you travel, which means you can head off and then apply for a job when you arrive in Germany if you choose to.
This makes working holidays ideal for younger people with relatively flexible plans, looking for an overseas adventure.
To apply for a working holiday visa, you’ll need to fulfil the following requirements³:
- You must be an Australian citizen
- You must be aged 18 to 30 years old
- You can not travel with any dependents
It’s good to know the scheme is also open to citizens from a few other countries - at present you can also apply if you’re Argentinian, Chilean, Israeli, Japanese or a citizen of New Zealand. Argentinian and Chilean applicants can even apply in Sydney for this visa type, although other nationalities will probably have to apply in their home countries.
More information on eligibility is available online, on the website of the German Consulate general.
If you’re an Australian citizen, you can apply for a working holiday visa either before you leave, or once you arrive in Germany. However, you won’t be able to get a job until your application is approved, and so the German authorities encourage people to apply before leaving, to make it easier to settle in Germany after arrival.
To apply in Australia, you’ll need to go in person to the Consulate General in Sydney, to present your application and give biometric data. You will have to take along³:
- A completed application form
- Your passport, and additional passport type photos
- Evidence of your travel and health insurance
- Return tickets from Germany, or proof of the financial means to buy them
- Proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay - this is set at $7,100, but may be lower if you can show you have accommodation arranged, for example with family members in Germany
- Visa application fee, either paid by card or in AUD cash
When you attend your appointment at the Consular office, you will need to give fingerprints. Make sure you have all of the documents needed - if you forget anything you will have to reapply, and make a new appointment to deliver the full set of supporting paperwork.
When you apply for your working holiday visa, you will pay a fee of EUR75, or the equivalent in Australian dollars³.
As with any visa application, the exact time for processing will depend on the demand at the time. It may also take longer to process your application if you need to supply additional evidence or information.
You can apply for your working holiday visa up to 3 months prior to your intended travel date. Processing should only take a week or 2, but it’s smart to get the application prepared and submitted as soon as possible, just in case³.
Planning a working holiday in Germany? Manage your money easily, and save on bank fees, with TransferWise
If you’re about to go to Germany, you have an exciting time ahead. However, life in Europe won’t always be cheap. Even though you can work to raise money while you’re there, you don’t want to pay more than you need to for things like currency conversion and bank fees. A great way to cut these costs is to get a multi-currency borderless account from TransferWise.
The borderless account is a great solution if you’re taking a working holiday. You can apply online in just a few simple steps, and have your account up and running quickly. You can then get your own local bank details to receive payments fee free in both Australian dollars and euros, without needing a local address in Germany. That means you can set up your account before you travel and you’ll be able to transfer money from home, for a small fee, or receive your salary while you’re in Germany, for free.
You can also activate local bank details to receive free payments in US and New Zealand dollars, and British pounds. In addition, you can also get the TransferWise debit card, so you can withdraw cash from ATMs, and pay for goods and services wherever you are in the world.
Keep money in your account in dozens of different currencies and manage your day to day finances - including sending, switching and receiving funds - using an app. You can convert your money from one currency to another using the exchange rate you’ll find on Google, for just a low transparent fee. There are no exchange rate markups or hidden costs to worry about, which can make currency transactions much cheaper than using a traditional bank. See if you can save money with TransferWise, today.
Accurate as of 7 May 2019
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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