Job Search Opportunity Card

07.06.2024 - Article

Job Search Opportunity Card

General Information

An opportunity card has been introduced to enable jobseekers to stay in Germany to look for employment. This card can be obtained in two ways: Third-country nationals who receive full recognition of their foreign qualifications and are therefore considered “skilled workers” under Section 18 paragraph 3 of the Residence Act (AufenthG) can obtain an opportunity card without any further special requirements. All other applicants must provide evidence of a foreign university degree, a vocational qualification of at least two years’ duration (in each case recognised by the state in the country of training) or a vocational qualification issued by a German Chamber of Commerce abroad. In addition, a basic knowledge of German (level A1 CEFR) or English (level B2 CEFR) is required.

If these requirements are met, points are awarded for criteria such as recognition of qualifications in Germany, language skills, professional experience, age, links to Germany, and the potential of accompanying partners or spouses. Applicants must score a minimum of six points to receive an opportunity card.

Opportunity cards are issued for a maximum of one year, provided that the holder is able to support themselves for that period. It allows the holder to do work trials or take up secondary employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week during their stay in Germany. If an applicant is subsequently unable to obtain another residence title for employment purposes under Part 4 (Sections 18 to 21 of the Residence Act [AufenthG]) but, nevertheless, has an offer of qualified employment, the opportunity card can be extended for a further two years.

How does the points system for opportunity cards work?

The points system is only relevant if Option 2 applies to you, i.e. if you are unable to demonstrate that you have a German qualification or that your foreign qualification has been fully recognised. To apply for an opportunity card visa, you must also provide evidence of formal qualifications and the necessary language skills. You can score points for the following criteria:

- Equivalence of qualification: If you have already applied for recognition of your foreign qualification and it has been found to be partially equivalent, you will receive four points. You will still receive the four points if, in the case of a regulated profession, you are required to participate in compensatory measures before obtaining a licence to practise your profession.

- Qualification in a shortage occupation: If your formal qualification is in a shortage occupation, you will get one point. To find out which occupations are considered to be in short supply, consult the List of shortage occupations.

- Professional experience: You will also be awarded points for your previous professional experience in relation to your formal qualification. Two points will be awarded if you can demonstrate that you have at least two years’ post-qualification professional experience within the last five years. If you have at least five years’ professional experience within the last seven years, you will get three points.

- Language skills: You will also earn points if your German language skills are above level A1 (CEFR). One point is awarded at level A2, two points at level B1 and three points at level B2 or above. An additional point will be awarded if you have English at level C1 or above, or if you are a native speaker.

- Age: You also receive points if you are a certain age. People who are no older than 35 get two points until the day they turn 35. All those aged between 35 and 40 are awarded one point.

- Previous stays in Germany: Have you already lived in Germany? If you can prove that you have resided legally in Germany for a continuous period of at least six months in the last five years, you will receive one point. Examples of such stays include study, language and work stays. Stays for the purpose of tourism or visiting people do not count. Copies of old passports and the visas and entry stamps they contain can be submitted as evidence.

- Skilled worker potential of spouses or life partners: Are you married or in a partnership and would like to come to Germany with your partner on an opportunity card? If your partner already meets the requirements for an opportunity card, you will be awarded one point in the points system. With this in mind, he or she can also do the self-check: opportunity card.

For both Option 1 and Option 2, you must have sufficient financial resources to fund your job search in Germany. During the visa process, you can demonstrate this ability with a blocked bank account (containing a minimum of €1,027 net per month, amount applicable in 2024) or a declaration of commitment.

Processing period

The processing period may take 2-3 months. During the processing period you cannot inquire about the status of your application. Upon expiry of the processing period only the applicant, his/her legal representative or persons holding an authorization letter from the applicant may inquire about the status of the visas.


The fee is 75,00 €, payable in BWP cash or by international credit card in Euro (Mastercard, Visa). Euro cash, checks or debit cards are not accepted. The application form can be downloaded for free.

Necessary documents

Please bring the following documents in the mentioned order to your appointment at the Embassy. Additional documents may in some cases be requested. Documents sent in advance will not be archived.

1-5 application, passport, Botswana residents, options

6-9 professional /language skills, funds, appointment

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