Germany is very well known as Europe’s land of opportunity. Excellent universities offering both theoretical and practical experience are just one of many reasons why students decide to study in German cities. Job opportunities, both during and after your studies, are another great reason to choose to come to Germany. Cologne in particular is a very diverse city, which allows students from abroad to find a job more easily than in other cities. So, if you are a student who wants to find a job in Cologne let us show you how.

Work in Cologne during study

You are a student who comes from the European Union or the European Economic Area

If you are a student coming from the European Union or the European Economic Area, you will have the same employment rights and opportunities as German students. This means that you can work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week. Unless you are doing an internship as part of your studies, you are entitled to at least the minimum wage of 8.50 per hour. This provides for a comfortable student life in Cologne.

You are a student from a non-member state of the European Union

If your country is not a member of the European Union, it doesn’t mean you can’t look for a job during your studies. You can work up to a maximum of 120 days during the year full-time, or 240 days part-time. This does not include internships, being a research assistant or other activities that are an integral part of your studies. You must also keep in mind that students outside of the European Union are not allowed to work as freelancers.

Students in Germany usually earn up to 450 Euros per month. It is highly recommended to apply for a part -time job related to the course of your study in a company of your interest. This can be very useful for building up your resume and broadening your experience. Unskilled jobs are easy to get, including in retail or restaurants, such as McDonalds. Being able to speak German is a huge plus in your job search and opens many more opportunities.

Make sure you don’t forget to concentrate on your studies during this time. Finding a balance is crucial. This is especially important if you come from outside of the European Union because completing your studies successfully will allow you to find a job in your field of interest and live in Germany afterwards.


Work in Cologne after study

If you are a Non-EU international student and you want to work in Cologne after completing your studies, you will need to apply for a residence permit before entering the country.

There are three residence permits for work purposes:

General employment

General employment refers to jobs that doesn’t require highly educated of skilled workers. In order to apply for this type of residence permit, you need to have evidence of your qualification and a written offer of your employment in Germany.

Specialist professional

In order to apply for this type of residence permit you need to be a graduate with special professional knowledge and experience, university teacher with outstanding career profiles or experienced manager with an offer of a job carrying a salary of not less than 86.400 Euros per year.

Additionally, you need to have written offer of employment and evidence of sufficient funds.


To work on a self-employed basis, you need to prove that your business will fulfil a need in Germany, have a beneficial economic impact and be fully financed by a bank loan or your own capital. The first two conditions are fulfilled if your investment is worth 1 million Euros and creates 10 new jobs.

Also, you have to ensure the sustainability of your business. So you have to have a business plan, relevant experience, and show how your business will contribute to innovation and research in Germany.

However, If you are a citizen of the European Union, or a citizen of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the Republic of Korea you can  stay or work in Germany with just a valid passport or ID card and apply for a residence permit after entering the country.