German Working-Holiday/Youth Mobility visa for Citizens of Australia, New Zealand and Japan

The Working Holiday Visa Programme is the visa ninja’s way of staying in Germany and traveling around Europe for up to 12 months without applying for a traditional German residence visa or require sponsorship or steady employment.

You must pass the following requirements:

  • be a Citizen of Australia, New Zealand, Chile (*1) or Japan
  • be aged between 18 and 30 years old (from the age of 18 up to and including 30)
  • not be accompanied by dependent family members (e.g. children)
  • your Passport must exceed the end of your stay by at least 3 months
  • have proof of health insurance valid in Germany (e.g. travel insurance for Germany) with coverage of at least €30,000 (EUR) and including costs for medical evacuation/repatriation
  • show a recent bank statement (with full name) indicating proof of sufficient funds – up to $7100 (AUD) for the duration of your stay; calculated at:
    • cost of return flight from Germany to Australia: $2100 (AUD)
    • living costs without free accommodation: $5000 (AUD)
    • living costs with free accommodation: $1800 (AUD) (*2)
  • pay the €50 (EUR) visa fee at time of visa application in Germany

(*1) Citizens of Chile are recommended to apply for a Working-Holiday visa before traveling to Germany.

(*2) If staying in Germany with free accommodation (e.g. relatives or friends) you must show an invitation letter and passport photocopy of the inviting German Citizen.

If you’re over this age limit or not a Citizen of one of the ‘best friends’ nations then you must consider a traditional residence visa for Germany (e.g. general employment, self-employed, job-seeker visa, EU-Blue card, internship, artist, etc.), the Working-Holiday visa is not appropriate for you.

Australian citizens (as well as New Zealand and Japanese citizens) are encouraged to apply for a residence permit after entering Germany at the local immigration authority (‘Ausländerbehörde’), without prior applying for a visa in Australia.

German Missions in Australia – Working Holiday Visa

Here’s what the Sydney Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany has to offer for youth considering a year abroad living in Germany:

The Working Holiday Visa Program is based on a bilateral agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Australia (also with Argentina, Israel, New Zealand, Japan Chile and other countries) and aims at enabling young people to gain an insight into the culture and daily life of the Federal Republic of Germany, allowing them to travel to Germany for a stay of up to 12 months. To help finance the stay, jobs can be taken up with different employers of the visa holder’s choice. There is no time limit for the employment as long as the maximum total stay of 12 months is respected.

The perks of this visa is you can travel around EU-member states with your Schengen visitor visa for 3 months then return to Germany and without appointment submit your visa application in-person at the closest Ausländerbehörde (German immigration authority) then continue traveling.

In my case the closest immigration authority was Altona Kundenzentrum in Hamburg and I was granted a Working-Holiday visa valid for 12 months on the spot after queuing for less than 4 hours!

Note: Check if your closest German immigration authority requires prior appointment for visa applications, an example is Welcome Center Hamburg which requires appointments for all visa applications with a appointment waiting list of 3-6 weeks. No appointment was necessary for visa applications at Altona Kundenzentrum.

More resources for young individuals interested in traveling to Germany is available on our dedicated Working Holiday visa website.

Working Holiday Visa in Germany

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Michael Visser

I'm a WordPress Plugin developer, UAV & Raspberry Pi enthusiast and general tinkerer. This domain serves as my development playground for non-WordPress Plugin projects.

75 thoughts on “German Working-Holiday/Youth Mobility visa for Citizens of Australia, New Zealand and Japan”

  1. Hi,

    I am Aussie and currently living in Berlin. I came here a year ago, stayed with my Tourist Visa for 3 months, and then got the Work&Holidays here in Germany. My W&H expired last week, at the end of August. Now I’m staying with a second Tourist Visa for 3 months. It’ll expire on the first week of December. I want to stay in Europe for a little bit longer and I’m trying to apply for a W&H Visa in France.

    I’m doing the online application for this, and it says that since I’m applying for the visa out of my home country, I should proof that I’m a resident here in Berlin/Germany. I was wondering if anyone has experience with this and if the Anmeldung would work as a proof os residency to get my French W&H Visa.

    Thanks so much and congratulations on your website 🙂

  2. Hi,
    I’m an Australian Citizen just moved to Hannover. I got an address to register here and have an appointment in a month time. Just wanted to ask because I can’t seem to get an appointment here for the visa within my 90 days, can I go to another city such as Hamburg even though my address will be from Hannover?

    1. Hi there, thanks for asking. Don’t wait the 90 days, find out on what days they offer “first come service”, it’s usually the first hour before opening up to a few days each week which means having to get up crazy early and waiting outside the building with a bunch of other emergency cases until they open. Take a native German speaker with you if possible as every bit helps. You will need to register in Hannover and then again when you move to Hamburg as everything is linked to your residency registration (e.g. bank account, mobile phone, internet, gym, etc.).

  3. Hi there!

    Awesome article! I’m a NZ Citizen, and was wondering, if I go to Germany on the Schengen visitor visa and say after a month (for example) I then get a job I really like, and towards the 10-11 month mark, can I convert my WHV into a Work Visa/PR situation?

    1. Hi Yash, thanks for asking. Yup, that’d work! You enter Germany on a Schengen visitor visa entitling you to up to 90 days within Europe, then transition to the Working Holiday/Youth Mobility visa (can be done on the spot in most cities) then towards the expiry of your residence visa transition to a traditional work visa. 🙂

  4. Good Afternoon,

    Thanks for all this information it has been super helpful!

    My situation is im an Australian applying for the Working Holiday Visa in Germany. I seem to have everything set but im just stuck on the insurance !

    Im not sure which insurance I need. I intend to stay in Germany for the full year. Do I need proof of insurance for the full year? And which type of insurance?

    Any insight would be super helpful and appreciated. Thankyou!

    1. Hi Jessica, thanks for asking. Insurance (which is compatible with the Working Holiday/Youth Mobility visa in Germany) is a tricky business, yes you will need a policy that covers the entire duration of your stay in Germany.

      Since you’re not yet in Germany you can take out Working Holiday/travel insurance here in Australia for the duration of your stay in Germany, the only requirement is that the policy coverage must at least €30,000 (EUR) including costs for medical evacuation/repatriation, this needs to be in writing by the policy provider and shown to German immigration when you submit your Working Holiday visa application.

      I used the following Working Holiday insurance provider for most of my travels but for Germany used Hanse Merkur (a local German insurance company) as Worldcare’s policies can only be issued before departing for your trip.

      Here’s some more information on the Working Holiday/Youth Mobility visa that we’ve put together:

  5. Hi there,

    I’m a 25 year old Australian citizen currently living in Paris with my French partner. I’m waiting for my green card (carte sejour) to come through but by the time it comes through my 90 day shenghan visa will have expired.

    So! I am going to travel to Bern (Switzerland) to apply at the German embassy (because they have the most available appointments) for my German Working Holiday visa, then I plan on going back to Paris and twiddle my thumbs until my French green card comes through.

    I am writing to ask:

    Do you know of anybody who has applied for this visa in Switzerland?

    What are the waiting times when applying from another German embassy approximately?

    Will they post my passport back to me when it’s done, or do I have to pick it up in person?

    I realise these questions are pretty far away from your experience, but I’m taking a stab in the dark! Any info here would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Nicky, thanks for asking. To save you the trouble and money have you asked French immigration to issue you a temporary visa extension to cover that period until your green card is issued? You won’t be able to travel outside of France during this period but it would save you all the following hassle of leaving France and re-entering… France is able to excercise its own immigration practices internally so they can issue and re-issue temporary visa extensions as needed until your green card is issued.

      I have had temporary visa extensions issued on two separate occasions both in Denmark and Germany without any difficulty, the one in Denmark was arranged by my local Police Station who held my passport for a few hours while the Passport insert was prepared and couriered to the Station. The one in Hamburg, Germany was done on the spot after a ~30 EUR application fee was paid.

      If you cannot get a temporary visa extension issued by French immigration you can simply enter Switzerland and stay up to 90 days as a tourist without any prior application as they are an EFTA member state with different immigration practices to EU member states. The catch with getting a German Working Holiday/Youth Mobility visa is the requirement for having long-term accomodation in Germany prior to submitting your application, this would require you to find accomodation within Germany, to register your address with local Council and have a landlord witness the document or hold property ownership documentation prior to applying.

      I hope the above helps, give French immigration a call as they can help you out here, bring along a native French speaker if they’re not cooperating. 🙂

  6. Hi!
    I am intending on arriving in germany around May 2020 however i will be leaving Australia in Dec 2019, am I able to apply for the German WHV before I leave Australia even though I don’t intent to arrive in germany in the next thirty days?
    And am i current in my understanding that I am able to visit other countries in the Schengen that would contribute to my 90 days however any time in Germany on a WHV would not?

    1. Hi Isabella, thanks for asking, I’m assuming here that you’re an Australian Citizen in which case you can apply in-country/on arrival to Germany, Australians are actively disencouraged from applying before travel as it is much easier to do in Germany.

      To get your best bang for your buck I would recommend entering Europe as a Schengen tourist visa holder for up to that 90 day period then with a few days left to go present yourself to an immigration office in Germany and submit your application which in major cities (e.g. Hamburg, Berlin, etc.) can be processed on the spot; it usually takes an hour or so to process and attach to your Passport. If you run out of time on your Schengen visa as your Passport needs to sent off to a bigger city then immigration can and do issue a temporary visa extension to cover that time until your Passport is returned.

      Your 12 month period of legal stay on a Working Holiday/Youth Mobility visa in Germany commences from the day of your visa application acceptance. Once you are on a Working Holiday visa your days in Germany and/or Europe no longer count towards the Schengen visa as that is a short-term tourist visa and you are now on a long-term residence visa. That’s what makes the Working Holiday visa great for exploring the rest of Europe!

      Do keep in mind you will need to have accomodation sorted in Germany and your residence registered with your local council prior to going to immigration; this one catches alot of travelers out! Hope this helps!

  7. hey im an Australian citizen I have a drink driving charge from 6months ago will this affect my chances on the working holiday if applied wen over in Germany?

    1. Hi Tom, you’re best to contact the German Embassy or Consulate here in Australia directly with regards to this matter. With my own Working Holiday experience in Germany I did not need to submit a proof of character check from AFP so you’ll likely be fine; it would be required for a permanent residency if you decide to live in Germany after your year abroad. If you’re going to drink in Germany (or Europe in general) jump on a bicycle.

  8. Hi!

    I have recently received a 6-month full-time internship at a company in Berlin. The salary is 1000-Euros per month and I fit all the other requirements for a Working Holiday Visa (e.g. between 18-30, Australian citizen etc.). This may have been answered previously, but apart from this post I can’t find any information on whether there are any limits to how much you can work or earn during this 12 month period. So just to clarify, would I be eligible for a Working Holiday Visa under these conditions?



    1. Hi Amie, great question! I recommend you contact the German consulate here in Australia and ask them directly as “mini-jobs” are typically offered to WHV visa holders but each country has negotiated different conditions for their WHV programs. If there is a condition restricting full-time work on your current WHV visa then you can very easily transition to other work residence visa’s in-country, that is once you arrive in Germany. As soon as you know more information about full-time employment let us know as I’ll put that updated information up on 🙂

  9. Hi Michael, firstly thanks a lot for consolidating all of this information. Secondly, are you an Australian citizen? I saw on the embassy website that there were no limitations on job length for Australians on a working holiday visa. Just wanting to check as I imagine very few companies in animation and film (my career) would want to hire someone for less than three months. There seems to be several writings that say it is unlimited (including your own web page on the WHV) but then you mentioned here several times that yours currently states only three months?
    The same confusion surrounds the maximum you are allowed to earn is 450 Euro a month? But there’s no mention of this on the website of the Sydney based embassy where you apply but then several forums mention it? Any source explaining this situation as again that would prove extremely limiting in terms of taking on animation and film short term gigs and freelancing.

    1. Hi Dane, thanks for reaching out! I’ve spoken with Maria as she did the research on that country and her confirmation was that an employer can hire you as an Australian Citizen for up to 50 days as a full-time employee or the 12 months as a “mini-job”. The best way to confirm the above is to call the Embassy/Consulate here in Australia.

      In your circumstnace I would recommend applying for a freelance residence visa and invoicing the client or alternatively apply for a generic work residence visa as you are skilled. You can transition from a WHV to a residence visa very easily in-country, and you can apply for a WHV on arrival as a tourist.

      Applying for a freelance or generic work residence visa from abroad will take alot longer as it needs to go through either the Embassy/Consulate (ideal case) at home or a third-party visa processor (worst case).

      Let us know how you go!

      FYI: I have a task to phone up and confirm these details for each visa country but first need to do more work on the Working Holiday Visa’s website before validating the data.

  10. Hi Michael,

    I’m an Australian travelling to Germany and wanting to apply for the Working Holiday Visa. I’ll be staying with some family friends.

    Do I need a residence card?
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Ben, good question, there are different requirements if you are being hosted for the duration of your stay.

      Bring a member of that household along with you when you submit your Working Holiday visa application as they’ll likely need to sign a statutory declaration and/or form that you will be living with them for the duration of your stay. You may still need to register for a residence card so ask ahead if possible by visiting the immigration office. Hope this helps!

  11. hey, I overstayed my Schengen visa by 2 days due to a miscalculation… I left Germany without issue and have been back in Australia for over 180 days but I want to apply for a youth mobility visa. do you think me overstaying by 2 days will mean I am unable to get the youth mobility visa for Germany? I am desperate for any info! Thanks in Advance!

  12. Hey, great forum!
    Here’s my situation – Canadian, currently studying abroad, heading to Hamburg in a few months for a 5 month internship job as part of university co-op program. For complicated reasons, it’s inconvenient to apply for Youth Mobility Visa before arrival, but would like to get that as soon as possible upon arrival.

    Is Altona the only Kundenzentrum you can go to without an appointment, and that can issue both the registration certificate and YM Visa the same day?

    Do you know if appointments need to be booked to get registration certificates at any of the Harburg or Hamburg Customer Centres? (Should I try to get this first, before queuing up for the YM Visa?)

    Do all the Harburg or Hamburg Customer Centres issue both registration certificates and YM Visas?

    I saw you mentioned a 3 month limit per employer on the YM Visa, but I’ll be working 5 months. Will that be a problem?


    1. Hi Jordyn, yes you can apply upon arrival, even if you enter on a tourist visa (Schengen visa) all you need is a valid visa and to visit a Kundenzentrum. If you’re in Hamburg I recommend Altona only because the facilities to issue the residence card (Anmeldung) and Working Holiday visa are ~150m from each other. 😀

      – Altona District Office Customer Center (Bezirksamt Altona Kundenzentrum) for your residence card
      – Customer Center Altona – Foreign Affairs (Kundenzentrum Altona – Ausländerangelegenheiten) for your Working Holiday visa

      Appointments are not required at the above locations but typically yes they are, you will need to get in very early on the mornings that they are open to the public (non-appointments). Drop by any day and ask them when they take non-appointments.

      Each country has it’s own restrictions on working (e.g. Australia-Germany is different to New Zealand-Germany) so speak to the case officer about any work restrictions. I hope this helps!

      1. I won’t have any visa at all when I enter Hamburg. Will that be a problem?

        I was thinking that, since it’ll be at least a couple of months before work starts, that maybe I could book an online appointment at Altona. I found this site: (through the Altona Customer Centre) but it just says “no free appointments” and doesn’t have an option to search for available time slots. Do you know how I could book ahead of time?

        Do they speak English at both customer centres in Altona? 😉

        Where do I register for a tax account?
        Do you know where I can get my tax return done in Germany at the end of my work term?

        Thanks again! I really appreciate how helpful your posts are!!

        1. Hi Jordyn, as a Canadian you will be entering Germany on at least a Tourist/Schengen visa, very likely a study visa prepared by your university co-op program.

          Re: online appointments, yup, that’s pretty normal. You need to go there in person and ask to take an appointment for any cancellations which happen often.

          English language isn’t an issue at the Kundenzentrums, they’re very friendly just get in early for walk-in appointments. Take your time and ask questions.

          Re: tax accounts, I never worked in Germany and didn’t proceed to creating a tax account in Germany so you’re on your own for that. It might be worth visiting the Chamber of Commerce (Handelskammer Hamburg) and asking for help creating a tax account there; get your residence card sorted first before going down this route. Let us know how you go with creating your tax account!

      2. Hi Michael,

        Thank you for all of your wise words!

        I also just arrived in Berlin (Australian) but am looking to go elsewhere to get the residence card and Youth mobility visa. I have a friend in Hamburg who I am visiting July 30/31st. I just rang the hotline for Hamburg – Bezirksamt Altona Kundenzentrum to ask what days they are open for non-appointments – he said only in a case of emergencies can you show up without an appointment. Is this right? The earliest appointment they have is August 6th 7am, which I guess I can go back for. Then head to the Ausländerangelegenheiten to get visa, should I be able to do this straight after getting the resident permit? I can’t find on the foreign affairs website info on which day has non-appointments or where to book in any case. I realise you’ve been answering similar questions a lot already, I just couldn’t find exact details.
        Still seems easier then in Berlin.!
        Thank you!


        1. Hi Liz, the trick with dealing with German Immigration and the Citizen Centres is always doing it in person.

          You could wait until that appointment but if there is anything missing in your appointment then you might be cutting it close, since the next appointment available is so far away you can apply under those emergency circumstances, you’ll be joining many other German locals who can’t wait months for their appointments to speak with a representative.

          You’ll be fine, just get up really early and join the before opening hours queue!

  13. Hi Michael,

    Useful article. Any chance you have any idea of how the letter of invitation (for the free accommodation) needs to look like?


    1. Hi Dinnie, there’s not much available about the expected format of the invitation letter where you are staying with family, relatives or friends for the duration of your Working Holiday visa so a short formal letter will do. Ensure you fill these requirements:

      – Who is the host, what is their nationality, residential address and contact details, what is their role/position?
      – Who is the applicant, what is the relationship to the host?
      – What duration will the applicant be staying?
      – A short declaration that the host will be responsible for you and ensure you have a good experience in Germany.

      What is clear is that your host in Germany needs to write the letter, the letter needs to be dated and signed by the German host and also have it noted (witnessed by an authority). The invitation letter (original if possible) as well as photocopy of their passport needs to be given to you to provide to the case officer when you do apply for the Working Holiday visa.

  14. Hi Michael!

    I am an Australian citizen, and have luckily managed to set up a job in Munich for a few months later in the year (August and September). I’m travelling from April onwards, and will need to apply for the working holiday visa in Germany in the first couple of weeks / months after I arrive in Europe.

    I have found your posts extremely helpful (particularly given how difficult it is to find information about this visa), but would love to clarify a few questions before I leave in the next week.

    – As the job is in Munich, will I need to apply for my working holiday visa in the same city or will visas granted in other cities (i.e. smaller cities with less waiting times) allow me to work in Munich?
    – Will my employer need to provide any documents?
    – What is the point of registering an address? Will immigration authorities visit the house or send letters?


    1. Hi Tom, glad it’s helping! I’m working on a new website dedicated to Working Holiday visas where I will focus on this further. 🙂

      Re: your questions:

      – You can apply for your Working Holiday visa anywhere in Germany and it is valid for anywhere in Germany. You will need a “good reason” for applying for your Working Holday visa in another district than where your residence card (Anmeldung) is issued, I went with “my local immigration authority were clueless” and they accepted that; be courteous and they’ll take care of you.

      – You will not be issued a Working Holiday visa if you do not have a residence card (Anmeldung), it’s a requirement and there’s no budging on it. It’s just something that Germany does – you also need to register that you’re leaving Germany permanently too… that’s called Abmeldung – until recently immigration authorities were pretty loose about it with travelers but the rules have been tightened and are now enforced.

      – A Working Holiday visa does not require any documents from your employer. When you are preparing to work then you will need to register for a tax account and your employer will organise social insurance for you if you’re earning over 450 EUR a month.

      1. Hey Michael!

        Do you happen to have information on applying for the visa and registering in Hamburg?

        I have my appointments for Berlin Thursday but no where to register, I do have a friend in Hamburg though. But I have been searching for days on information to apply in Hamburg for both residence and the visa.

        Appreciate your reply on my other post too!


        1. Hi Kim, if you’re heading to Hamburg and against the clock then “Customer Center Altona – Foreign Affairs” (aka Rathaus Altona) is your go to destination. Welcome Center Hamburg requires you to make an appointment.

          Rathaus Altona don’t require prior bookings but you will need to get in early as it’s a popular spot; opens at 7:30am/8am 4 days a week (check Google Maps). They may bump you over to Altona District Office Customer Center (Bezirksamt Altona Kundenzentrum) just up the road to complete your residence card (Anmeldung) but I wouldn’t be suprised if they do it all at Rathaus Altona. Explain your circumstances and have your friends address in Hamburg on hand (even if it’s not signed).

  15. Hi Michael!

    I am from New Zealand and have booked in to apply in Berlin, unfortunately the friends I was going to stay with have changed their mind about filling out the forms stating that I am living with them, even though I intend to mainly travel. I don’t wamt to commit to a month or so at a hostel and I have heard they won’t let you register anyway!
    I’m terrified I won’t be issued the visa and my last 90 day is on the 26th March.

    Do you need to have a residence if you apply in Hamburg? And do you think it might be easier to do this???

    Would love some advice as you seem to be very informed!


    1. Hi Kim, thanks for asking!

      Don’t stress, arrive in Berlin, drop by your nearest German immigration authority and schedule your Anmeldung meeting and go from there; since your visa expires on 26/03 explain that you’re racing the clock and whether any cancelled bookings are available; they can give you a bridging visa until your Working Holiday visa is completed if you do run out of time.

      Explain that you will be traveling around Germany and do not yet have a fixed address and you should be fine; they’ll ask you to register your residence (Anmeldung) when you do have an address. Have your friend’s address on-hand even without the completed and signed document as case officers do make exceptions and may just pencil in that address. Get the Anmeldung process done then you can breeze through the Working Holiday visa process.

  16. Hello,
    I just have a question that I don’t think has already been asked. I’m looking at the information for working holiday visas for New Zealanders (I assume once in Germany it’s all the same more or less no matter what nationality). It says that I can get a job for up to 6 months and ‘this may be in the form of jobs with a monthly pay of up to Euro 450’.
    I’ve asked the embassy if they’re honestly serious about there being a monthly maximum earning potential of 450 euros and they said ‘You can, however, that type of employment is allowed for 50 days maximum.’.

    My question is once in Germany do they actually impose this ridiculous limit per month or is this just some bullshit out of date info that my embassy is still sticking to. Does anyone actually care? Is there any prejudice from German employers for hiring working holiday goers?

    Thanks for all your help,

    1. Hi Rebecca, great question! Welcome to the maze that is German social insurance rules. There’s two parts in your question which need to be clarified.

      If you regularly earn more than 450 EUR per month in your job while in Germany you are required to apply for an income tax number, this will automatically trigger social insurance to be paid by your employer which is why it is common for employers to take on Working Holiday/Youth Mobility visa holders in “mini-job” positions (that is intentionally paying you less than 450 EUR per month to get you under this limit). At the end of the financial year (December 31) you will need to declare your income to the German tax authority.

      I’ll follow up later today with the second part as I need to confirm what’s on my own residence card (tucked away in my passport) as I recall it having a restriction of employment duration being no more than 6 months for a single employer.

      1. Thanks for your response Michael, I don’t think I would have ever found that information through google. So are people with working holiday visas technically allowed to apply for a tax number? Does that mean it would be hard to find a part-time or full-time job involving tourism, are there really only these mini-jobs available for people with working holiday visas? My German is a bit average but my French and Spanish a fluent so I was hoping I would find something half decent somewhere 🙂

        1. Since you hold a long-term residence visa (Working Holiday/Youth Mobility visa) yes you can register for a tax number, if you are expecting to take on a “mini-job” then this is not necessary. If you expect to earn over the 450 EUR “mini-job” limit then your employer will need your tax number to pay your social security contributions.

          Regarding Youth Mobility visa working restrictions, looking at my own residence card there is a limit of 3 months per employer for the duration of the visa. That means you can have up to 4 employers for a period of 3 months each during your extended holiday in Germany.

          Finding a job abroad is much like back home, it’s a game of applying for the right job, from the right employer at the right time; that’s a home run! I hope this helps 🙂

  17. Hi,
    I have all my documents printed and ready to go except for the working holiday visa application form, do you have a link I can print it off


      1. Thanks, I’ve also just been told by a friend who is a permanent resident in Germany now that I don’t have to submit my stuff at the immigration office, that I can hand it in at the local shire. Can you confirm if this is true or not? I arrive in Germany 5 days before my 31st and don’t want to stuff it up.

          1. That’s the one! I don’t recall if there was a separate Youth Mobility form that also needed to be completed but that Application for a national visa is definitely relevant.

        1. You can do either (apply from Australia or when you arrive in Germany) but as your birthday is so close I wouldn’t risk it (e.g. arriving in Germany on a Friday, and the Citizen Services office just happens to be closed on a Monday…), get it done while you’re here in Australia and explain your circumstances.

          1. I live in Perth and the German mission here doesn’t do visas, only Sydney embassy can process them. So I’ve decided to do it in Germany. I’ll have 3 working days once I arrive. The bit about submitting it at the local shire when I get my residence permit true? Or will I need to go to immigration office

          2. Hi Shane, you’ll be cutting it close and will need to go to a Kundenzentrum in your closest city. The office needs to be able to process visa applications on the spot rather than forward it onto another office so check that detail.

            There are limited hours and days that you can just walk in to Kundenzentrum’s and get help – in Altona I queued at 5:30am and got to speak to someone by 9am… – this is as Germans prefer to make a reservation online months ahead so there are strict walk-in hours.

            If you weren’t turning 31 I’d tell you to kick back and relax as your local shire can forward it along to a bigger office and it will get processed but those few days could come back to haunt you so do consider the expense of going to Sydney to get it sorted. Alternatively consider getting your visa sorted in a bigger city that can process visa applications on the spot.

            (I traveled from Brisbane to Sydney to get my first Working Holiday visa for Denmark)

          3. If I go to Sydney to get it done, is it granted on the spot or is there a certain amount of processing time?

          4. You’ll need to ask the Embassy. Different countries have different requirements, from my experience in Hamburg I was given a stamp and visa conditions card that was kept in my passport on the spot so there’s a good chance you can get it all done in Sydney.

            In my case for Denmark I had to submit biometrics in-person (fingerprints) which were then forwarded on Danish Immigration which took weeks to be processed and a visa issued.

          5. Hello Michael, I’m now in Germany. 8 had my friends call the immigration office on my behalf before I got here to make an appointment. They were told to go to the local shire and submit my documents. So once I arrived on Friday I did, with being close to turning 31 I was told it would be from the date I submitted it there and may take up to 3 weeks to be processed once forwarded on. They also asked me for a rental agreement and a letter of an agreement signed by someone who is going to employ me.. didn’t sound right to me, I’ve never read online anyone providing that. How are you meant to sign contracts if you don’t know if your visa will be granted? It makes me wonder if the local shire hasn’t signed me up for the right visa ?

          6. Hi Shane, that sounds like they’re signing you up for a work residence visa, not a Youth Mobility visa… don’t use the words “Working Holiday” around immigration in Germany, the term is “Youth Mobility Programme” (Jugendmobilitätsprogramm).


            Explain that you’ve just arrived and are staying with friends or at a hostel, persist until they relent as they can make exceptions, you’re racing the clock now!

  18. Hi,

    I am looking at getting the Working holiday visa. Do I need to enter Germany to activate my visa? I turn 31 in March so I need to apply before then, but I might not be able to fly into Germany until after March. If I have the visa confirmed before March can I enter Germany and use it in say June? I realise I will only have 9 months left on it. Also do I need to have flights booked at the time of application, or is it enough to show I have the funds for a return flight? Thanks

    1. Hi Sandra, you’ll need to have your visa confirmed in writing before the day of your 31st birthday (March) – I’d recommend having all paperwork confirmed by the German Embassy here in Australia – but you’re right that will mean you only have 9 months left on it if you enter in June.

      If you’re an Australian, New Zealander or Citizen of Japan then you won’t need a return flight booked but will need to provide evidence of funds for your stay including flight in the form of bank statements or a letter from your Australian bank.

      As mentioned to Hamish earlier today do keep in mind that other European countries have reciprocal Working Holiday and Youth Mobility programs so if you wish to travel longer in the Schengen Area consider applying to neighboring countries at the end of your German Working Holiday visa. 🙂

    2. Hi Sandra, a little more information that might be of help. The start date on the visa can be adjusted to be the date of flight arrival so there’s a good chance you’ll get your full 12 months of residence! Speak to the Embassy about the age requirement.

    3. Hi There,

      I am coming to Germany In January 2020 and am staying in a smaller town in the ease, near Cologne. I have mistakenly heard that I have to apply for the residence permit and working holiday visa in berlin? I’m hoping this isn’t true as it will mess with my plans a lot – I am doing a workaway for a couple of months in this town, so could I apply for everything in the town?? And maybe my host will provide proof of residency or whatever I need.


  19. Hi Michael,

    I have been doing some research, but can not find some definite answers to some questions, including among your blog posts. I hope you can help, please!

    I am an Australian citizen and I have just returned from 8 months in Germany, where I had a 12-month Working Holiday Visa. The visa expires in May 2018.

    1. Am I able to use this same visa if I was to return to Germany before it expires? Or must I apply for a second Working Holiday Visa visa?
    2. Would I be able to apply for a second Working Holiday Visa after it expires?
    3. I am currently 30 years old, but I turn 31 in July. Am I still eligible to apply for a visa before I turn 31 years old?

    Thank you for your help!

    Mit freundlichen Grußen,


    1. Hi Ben, happy to help! Here goes…

      Yes you can leave and enter Germany (e.g. return to Australia and fly back to Germany, or travel to the US and return to Germany) without restriction until your German working holiday visa expires. Once your working holiday visa expires you are not permitted to enter again with that visa and will need to be issued an alternate entry visa on your next entry into Germany (e.g. tourist visa, student visa, work visa, etc.).

      As far as I’m aware you can only apply for a Working Holiday visa in Germany once up and including the age of 30 years old, so you will not be able to apply twice for the same category visa; Working Holiday and Youth Mobility visa. Alternate visa categories to explore include a work employment visa sponsored by a Germany company, joining a language school or if you are self-employed applying for a freelance visa.

      Here’s a different spin on things, look at the Working Holiday visa programmes in neighbouring countries and continue to live in Germany for the next 12 months, Working Holiday visa’s are essentially extended tourist visas so there’s a lot of wiggle room if you don’t need to work in the country that issues your residence visa. Hope this helps, prost!

      1. Awesome, that’s a big help.

        I’m guessing, however, that Working Holiday Visas are only valid for the country they are granted in? E.g. A visa granted in Austria is not valid for Germany.

        1. Working Holiday visas grant residence and short-term work opportunities to the country of issue but you are not restricted from travel within the EU so you could stay/holiday in Germany or anywhere in the Schengen Area during that period. Whether Germany accepts this is another point but it’s worth looking at.

          In the case of Denmark you must be holding a valid residence visa in Germany when applying from there otherwise you have to do it from Australia, the same goes for neighboring Czech Republic; as a New Zealand Citizen you can apply up to the age of 35 so you could jump between Working Holiday visas for years to come!

  20. Hi

    I’m currently on a working holiday visa and i’m from Australia and I’m told that without sponsership from a company I can not extend my visa?

    I’m in Germany with my Girlfriend who is German and she is back home to study so my plan is to stay 3-4 years until she has finished her studies.
    How do i go about this?
    My current visa runs out end of September and finding work has been really difficult due to only knowing English.
    I need some help in ways to extend my visa or to apply for another visa that will allow me to stay 4 years minimum.
    what are my options?


    1. Hi Dan, unless you take on German language studies full-time you are limited to two options (that I’m aware of):
      A) Find employment and get sponsorship for that period of time that you are in Germany.
      B) Get married. Germany is old-school, once you’ve signed a Marriage Certificate waltz over to your local Kundenzentrum.

      Option B was on the cards in my situation but we had the flexibility to move whereas your partner with studies in Germany doesn’t. Good luck!

      1. Thankyou Michael much appreciated.

        One more question
        If I manage to get a job and study German fulltime how can i stay longer?

    1. Hi James, nice! Simple start looking for work!

      While you’re applying for jobs register yourself a Steuer-Identifikationsnummer with the tax department. I’d visit your local Kundenzentrum (Citizen Center, ala Council) and they’ll step you through any paperwork. In my case the Welcome Center Hamburg was connected to Handelskammer (Chamber of Commerce) and they sorted it there on the spot. Hope this helps!

        1. I don’t think so, just the tax number. The working holiday visa is your residence visa, check with Kundenzentrum when you’re there but once I got my working holiday stamp I was good to live there for 12 months before exploring other visa opportunities. 🙂

  21. Quick question mate, I am also going to apply at the Altona auslanderamt tomorrow. Do you know/did they tell you how long we are allowed to work for one employer for? From what I read it appears to be unlimited duration, but I also heard 3 months.

    1. Hey David, it’s a 3 month per employer limit. Quote from my passport insert:

      “Working Holiday. Beschäftigung max. 3 Monate beim selben Arbeitgeber.”

  22. Hi, you make it sound so easy!
    I’m planning to head to Berlin next month and want to apply for a visa. I’ve heard wait times for appointments can be months and sometimes longer than the Schengen visa is valid for. I tried to book online in Berlin however I couldn’t secure an appointment. I am considering visiting a smaller German town to apply for my visa as it appears to be quicker, Hamburg seems like a good option. What did you do about proof of residency though if you don’t plan to live in Hamburg? Also do you know how official this needs to be? I’ve booked accom at an air bnb for a month however I’m assuming I may need a rental agreement? Would hugely appreciate your advice 🙂 thanks!!

    1. Hi Lani, I covered how to get the proof of residency bit (Anmeldung) as a traveller in this post linked below. It’s not hard but is a requirement for most residence visas.

      You can use a hostel or even your AirBNB address, when you arrive scout out your local Ausländerbehörde, if you’re moving to inner- Berlin look at an office a little further out of the city and say they were too busy for foreigners and sent you here. 😉

      Regarding the appointment waiting time (if there is one), you can visit any Ausländerbehörde and ask for a temporary visa extension if you’re worried about your visa period lasping. That will give you an immediate 90 day extension to stay in Germany and resolve your visa application, that’s covered in the post below.

      If you need any help just ask here, prost! 🙂

    1. Hi Peta, I’m a New Zealand and Australian Citizen so could apply within Germany, I did it in-person and without an appointment at my local Ausländerämter (Foreigners Authority). Do check which Ausländerämter you will be submitting at as some require prior appointment as well as specific days for submitting visa applications.

      It took 3-5 hours from arrival at the Ausländerämter, that includes queuing, submitting my completed Working-Holiday visa application, then waiting to receive my modified Passport. 🙂

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