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Opportunity card - national visa (Section 20a and 20b Residence Act)

01.07.2024 - Artikel

The opportunity card is a new feature in the German Residence Act allowing eligible people to come to Germany to look for a job. As well as looking for a job, successful applicants can also take part in additional training for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications in Germany.

There are two ways to obtain the opportunity card:

  • Option 1: Third-country nationals who can prove full equivalence of their foreign qualification and are thus considered to be skilled workers can receive an opportunity card without meeting any other special requirements if they provide evidence that they can support themselves.
  • Option 2: All other applicants have to provide proof that they have completed a degree from a foreign university, an at least two-year vocational qualification (both of which need to be officially recognized by the country in which they were completed) or a vocational qualification issued by one of the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad.
    In addition, applicants need to have either basic German (level A1) or intermediate English skills (level B2). If these requirements are met, varying numbers of points can be collected for criteria such as recognition of the qualification in Germany, language skills, professional experience, age and connection to Germany, as well as an eligible civil partner or spouse who is accompanying you. You need at least 6 points to be granted the opportunity card.

The opportunity card is issued for a maximum of one year provided you can support yourself for this period. During your time looking for a job in Germany, you can complete work trials or engage in secondary employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week.

You can find out more about the opportunity card (including a self-check) as well as general information on living and working in Germany here: 'Make it in Germany'.

Required documents:

Please make sure to prepare a complete set of the following documents (collated in the order as listed below with a legible, unstapled copy in DinA4 format) to submit during your appointment:

The following documents are to be submitted in full with every application for an opportunity card (option 1 and option 2).

  • Fully completed and signed application including declaration pursuant to Section 54 Residence Act
  • 2 recent biometric passport photos (see specimen photos)
  • Valid passport with at least two completely empty pages. The passport must have been issued (not extended) within the past 10 years and the validity must exceed the duration of the intended stay in Germany by at least 3 months.
  • 1 uncertified copy of the data page of your valid passport
  • Norwegian residence permit (card) – original + 1 copy (front and back)
  • Proof of address in Norway: Printout from the Population Register from „Skatteetaten“ (not older than 2 months) – original + 1 copy
  • Proof of financial means:
    You can cover your living costs in Germany with your own funds or a formal declaration of commitment. In addition, if you have concrete plans, income from secondary employment that is permitted with an opportunity card can be taken into account.
    To stay in Germany, each individual applicant must have at their disposal at least 1027 euro per month, which for the standard 12-month stay with an opportunity card totals 12,324 euro.
    Please provide the following proof depending on your individual case:

    - Private resources in a bank account: You can prove you have sufficient resources by presenting a so-called blocked account. Please open the blocked account in good time before you apply for a visa. When applying for a visa, only the official confirmation of the opening of the account issued by the bank, including information on the amount paid in and the amount available per month, will be accepted. Confirmation which does not cite these amounts is not sufficient, nor is proof of transfer of funds without confirmation from the bank.


    - Declaration of commitment: Proof in the form of a formal declaration of commitment pursuant to Sections 66 and 68 Residence Act to the German foreigners authority in which a third person undertakes to cover all costs (original document + copy)

    If you have a concrete opportunity for secondary employment in Germany, you can present an employment contract or a binding job offer detailing the weekly working hours and your monthly wage.
  • Private health insurance (so-called incoming travel insurance, not travel health insurance) valid in the entire Schengen area for the entire period of validity of the opportunity card, minimum coverage of 30,000 euro (proof to be provided at the latest when collecting the visa!).

The following documents are required depending on option 1 or option 2:

  • Additional documents for option 1:
    If you qualify as skilled worker, please see here which additional documents need to be submitted as proof of qualification.
  • Additional documents for option 2:
    If you do not qualify as skilled worker because your foreign qualification is not fully equivalent, please see here which additional documentation is to be submitted.

The fee of 75 € is payable by Visa/Mastercard in €.

Important information:

Missing documentation delays the procedure and can result in your application being rejected.
The embassy reserves the right to request further documents.

The processing time is as a rule ca. 2 weeks, but can take longer in individual cases.

Please do not contact the embassy to check the status of your application during the normal processing period.

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