For EU citizens looking to teach English in Germany it is relatively straightforward as they are able to work freely without a visa, while others such as Australians, New Zealanders, and Canadians can apply for a working holiday visa. However, for Americans and other non-EU citizens, there are fewer options when looking to live and work in the country. That being said, if you are patient it is definitely possible to obtain a work visa that allows you to fulfill your dream of teaching English in Germany.
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The application process can take up to two months and must be done from within Germany, so most teachers enter the country on a tourist visa. As the process is quite slow you will need to be able to support yourself financially while you wait for your application to be approved. It will also help considerably if you have a good knowledge of the German language or the help of a local contact who can guide you through the process. The requirements may vary from state to state but the basic process is as follows:
- Register at the local Standesamt-Einwohnermeldeamt (Registration Office) within a week of arriving in the country
- Find a permanent address such as a rented room or shared apartment (not hotel or guest house)
- Apply for teaching jobs
- Once a job is offered, obtain a 'letter of intent' from the employer
- Visit the Ausländerbehörde (Immigration Office) to apply for residency permit and work visa
- Open a German bank account
- Visit the Finanzamt (Finance Office) and apply for a tax ID number
Once all the required steps have been completed and you have received your residency permit, work permit, and tax number, you will be free to legally teach English in Germany.