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Beginning a Career after the Successful Completion of Your Studies

If you have successfully completed your studies in Germany, your residence permit can be extended by up to 18 months for job-seeking purposes if you cannot immediately provide proof of a qualified job.

The Immigration Office does not take the date of your deregistration from the university or the issuing of your certificates as the starting point for the calculation of the 18 months. Rather, they generally consider the written notification of the passing of your final exams and the exam results. Please be keenly aware of this as the date of the written notification normally lies before the issuing of certificates and deregistration from the university.

If you want to request a change in your residence permit for the purpose of searching for employment, you will need the following documents:

  • Your final examination certificate (or, if not yet available, a confirmation of the successful completion of your studies);
  • Proof of sufficient health insurance;
  • Proof of sufficient funds to support you (financial proof) for the duration of your job search

We also recommend presenting some applications that you have already submitted. This will help you to prove that you are actively searching for a job that corresponds with your qualifications.

During your job search you are allowed to work without time restrictions.

If you find suitable employment within the provided time period, your previous residence permit can be converted into a residence permit for the purpose of gainful employment.  The future employment must meet the following requirements: the nature of the open position is such that it must be filled with a university graduate. There does not need to be a connection between the degree and the qualified job. Furthermore the position must be suitable to secure your livelihood.

Health Insurance

The type of health insurance that you can get for the duration of your job search depends on the type of health insurance you had during the time of your studies. If you were enrolled in statutory health insurance, you may enroll in voluntary health insurance with the same insurance company. If you had private health insurance during your studies, you only have the option of continuing your private health insurance after your studies. Please note that premiums and conditions vary among different insurance companies. Please find out in advance about the possibilities and options for subsequent insurance or the switching to a different insurance provider, if necessary.

Additional degree

Please note that enrolling for an additional degree may impact your access to the German labor market. If you enrolled in a second degree program immediately after finishing your first degree program, the 18 months can only be granted after the successful completion of the second degree program. This means that you may not drop the second degree program and then take the 18 months to search for a job that matches the qualifications earned in your first degree program. Rather, you must finish your second degree. Should you find employment during your second degree program that matches the qualification earned in your first degree program - without applying for an 18-month job search period - you may enter the labor market, even if you did not or will not finish your second degree program.

If you have questions or problems, please contact the International Office for an individual consultation.

Getting Your Career Started

Please contact the University of Potsdam's Career Service if you have any questions about planning your career and finding employment.