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Working abroad


As a German citizen, you are not required to obtain a work permit if you want to work in another EU Member State  / EEA State  or Switzerland. You are entitled to a residence permit and freedom of movement.

Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and a bilateral agreement reached with Switzerland on 12 June 1999 form the basis of the European legislation.

Germans who are planning a research stay in a country outside of the above-mentioned region, i.e. neither within the European Union/EEA nor Switzerland, must contact the representation of the respective country in Germany  to find out about applicable regulations. The same applies to citizens of other countries staying in Germany for research stays both within and outside Europe.

As a rule, fellowship recipients do not need a work permit. You do, however, need a visa and residence permit for your research work abroad.

On returning to Germany

If you are working as an employee ("Angestelltenverhältnis") at an institution of higher education or research in Germany and wish to take up a research position abroad, you must bear in mind that if you return to a position at an institution of higher education or research in Germany, your employment in the other country will not usually be taken into consideration with regard to pay scale classification(e.g. age bracket, seniority, probationary periods).

If you are working as a civil servant ("Beamtenverhältnis") and return to Germany after holding a research position in another EU Member State, periods of time spent abroad can only be recognized under certain circumstances. Details should be discussed with your employer in advance. Special regulations (cf. Delegation Regulations ["Entsendungsrichtlinien"] - 2005, p. 1073) apply to positions with European institutions (e.g. EMBL).

Legal advice on matters of higher education and occupational legislation (matters relating to substitutes for professors, occupational legislation, advice on first-time professorial appointments, as well as taxation, insurance and benefit regulations for civil servants) can be obtained for a fee from the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers "Deutscher Hochschulverband"  .


Further information

  • Academic and professional qualifications

    Policies and procedures for the recognition of qualifications.

    The European gateway to recognition of academic and professional qualifications 
  • EURAXESS-The European Services Network

    EURAXESS Services is a network of more than two hundred centres located in 40 European countries. As a researcher, these centres assist you and your family to plan and organise your stay in a foreign country.

    European Commission 
  • Your Europe

    Information on your rights and opportunities in the EU and its Internal Market plus advice on how to exercise these rights in practice. Useful information on living, working and studying in another EU country, including taxation

    European Commission 
  • Free movement

    Information on the transitional rules governing the free movement of workers from, to and between the new member states

    European Commission 
  • EURAXESS Worldwide

    Networking tool for European researchers, scientists and scholars abroad. EURAXESS Worldwide exists in ASEAN, Latin America & the Caribbean, China, India, Korea, Japan, Australia & New Zealand and North America. It keeps European researchers in these regions fully informed of EU research policies, career opportunities in Europe and opportunities for collaboration with Europe. In addition to e-mail alerts, an e-newsletter and the web forum, networking events are organised on a regular basis.

    EURAXESS Worldwide