Opportunity card: Application, Requirements, Points System Explained

What is the Opportunity Card?

The opportunity card (Chancenkarte) is a new visa that offers non-EU citizens a unique opportunity to come to Germany and look for work without needing a pre-existing employment contract. Qualified professionals can enter Germany based on a points system that considers factors like professional experience, language skills, and qualifications. The Chancenkarte is especially attractive because it allows applicants to live in Germany for a year while searching for a suitable position, even permitting side jobs during this period. This opens the door to simplified entry and labor market access, eases the transition, and offers the chance to stay in Germany permanently and pursue professional and personal development. For everyone dreaming of working and living in Germany, the Chancenkarte represents a significant step towards realizing this goal.

Who is the opportunity card intended for?

The opportunity card is specifically designed for skilled professionals from non-EU countries who are interested in working and living in Germany. To qualify for the opportunity card, applicants must demonstrate at least a two-year vocational training or a university degree recognized in their home country. The target group includes a wide range of professions, from craftsmen and technicians to IT specialists and engineers, all of whom can contribute to addressing the skilled labor shortage in Germany. Professions in high demand include those in areas currently experiencing a shortage, such as nursing, the crafts sector, engineering, or information technology. The opportunity card offers these professionals the chance to establish themselves in the German job market, advance their careers, and become long-term members of German society.

What advantages does the opportunity card offer?

The opportunity card offers numerous advantages for individuals looking to move to Germany to work and live. A key benefit is the ability to enter Germany without a prior employment contract, allowing you to look for a suitable job on site. This provides unique flexibility and eases access to the German labor market. Additionally, the opportunity card permits holders to engage in side jobs while searching for employment, thus securing their livelihood. Another advantage is the prospect of permanent residency in Germany if you find an appropriate job. In short, the opportunity card opens the door to new professional opportunities in Germany and lays the foundation for long-term personal and professional development in one of Europe's strongest economies.

What are the requirements for the opportunity card?

To apply for the opportunity card, applicants must meet various requirements, which are divided into basic requirements and a points system, with at least 6 points needed. Below you can find how to earn these points:

Basic Requirements:
  • German language skills at level A1 or English language skills at level B2.
  • At least a two-year vocational training or a university degree recognized in the country of origin.
  • Proof of financial security, for example, through part-time employment (up to 20 hours per week). This can be verified by an employment contract or a blocked account with 11,208 euros, enabling work in areas such as gastronomy or crafts.
Collection of 6 Points (Language Skills, Professional Experience, Age, and "Connection to Germany"):
  • 4 Points for partial recognition of a foreign professional qualification or for the permission to practice a regulated profession (e.g., educator, nurse, or engineer).
  • 3 Points for five years of professional experience in the learned profession in the last seven years and a two-year vocational training according to the rules of the country of origin or for good German language skills at level B2.
  • 2 Points for two years of professional experience with preceding vocational training in the last five years, for applicants under 35 years, or for sufficient German language skills at level B1.
  • 1 Point for applicants under 40 years, for a previous stay in Germany of at least six months (tourist stays excluded), for very good English skills (C1), sufficient German skills (A2), a training in shortage occupations, or when applying together with a spouse/partner.

These structured requirements are designed to ensure that only qualified professionals who can contribute to the German economy receive the opportunity card and thus build a long-term perspective in Germany.

From when can one apply for the opportunity card?

If you find a job in Germany after entering the country with the opportunity card, this allows you to immediately start your new full-time position. A major advantage of the opportunity card is that you can not only start working right away but also have the opportunity to get your foreign qualifications recognized in parallel.

Furthermore, you must apply at the competent foreigners' authority for the conversion of your opportunity card into a residence permit for employment that matches your found job. This step is necessary to put your stay in Germany on a long-term basis. The authorities will then review your application, taking into account your employment contract and other necessary documents. After a successful review, you will be granted a residence permit that allows you to work and live in Germany.

It is advisable to inform yourself about the required documents and the process early on to avoid delays and ensure a smooth stay in Germany.

How to apply for the opportunity card?

The opportunity card comes into effect from June 1, 2024, and applications will only be possible from this date onwards. Applicants can submit their application at the competent German diplomatic mission in their home country by providing all necessary documents, such as evidence of their qualifications and language skills. Additionally, it is important to provide proof of sufficient financial means to support your stay in Germany during the job search. Upon submission and review of the application, if the decision is positive, you will receive the opportunity card, which allows you to enter Germany and look for a job. It is recommended to start the application process early and prepare thoroughly for the required steps.

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