How can I remain in Germany after my doctoral studies as an eligible worker?

Being a foreign doctoral postgraduate from a German university, there is a common thing if your interest is to remain in the country to jump into a qualification-related job. There is no oddity there as Germany rests as a world-attraction to work and live in, not only to you, but to many more professionals, as of its extensive advantageous job opportunities and high quality of life. Well, that is why Germany is considered the biggest and the most prosperous nation amongst other EU countries.

Remaining in Germany after finishing your doctoral studies, you can largely benefit from a wide-ranging job opportunities, as the quality of your doctoral degree received makes you a competitive candidate for working in a university, non-university research institution or industry. What is more, your chances to have a profitable employment in the global labor market, as a postgraduate doctoral candidate from a German university are incalculable, being aware of the global high reputation of Germany in the world as regards of education in research and innovation.

On the other hand, as an alternative option for you to remain in Germany, is to advance your research activity with a postdoctoral research, something that attracts many other foreigners who finish their doctoral studies in Germany.

Legitimacy of postdoctoral work as a foreigner

There are decent academic and research opportunities for the qualified workers to get a place in the German labor market. As you are already in Germany after finishing your doctoral studies and willing to remain there to get hired at a job matching your education, then make sure you do not forget that Germany welcomes highly qualified worker as you. On the other hand, if you were lucky enough to already have a signed sound work contract related to your qualification then, enjoy your time, because you are on the right way to get the proper eligibility for staying and working there.

Well, you should not be worried anymore! You are allowed to work in Germany as a postgraduate candidate from doctoral studies. You made the right choice having a doctorate in Germany! Congrats and enjoy the new waves of opportunities in your career!

Residence and work permit

Either you have in hand a job offer or not, if you want to remain in Germany after your doctoral studies, you surely will need the proper permit to do so. Involving in an economic activity such as getting a job lacking the proper entitlement – the residence and work permit, you will immediately be deported in the country of origin and against your employer sanctions and other penalty measures will apply.

If you have signed a work contract while in Germany

If you have there just signed the contract of employment or have a realistic business plan yourself, then surely there are good chances for you to apply and get the proper entitlement to stay and involve into the economic activity of Germany.

Residence and work permit as a researcher

As a highly qualified person, as a researcher – according to the Residence Act, Section 19, you can require a residence and work permit without the consent of the German Federal Employment Agency.

To get the residence and work permit as a researcher, you must:

  • Prove having a sound employment contract (i.e. Researcher, academic position, etc.) – with no minimum incomes required,
  • Have a secured livelihood.


There is a possibility to change this permit into a permanent residence title.

The EU Blue Card permit as a highly qualified worker

Another option for you is to get the EU Blue Card – also a special residence and work permit for foreign qualified workers.

To get the EU Blue Card you must apply to the following documents:

  • The doctoral degree you received in Germany,
  • The sound work contract or offer related to your qualification with a minimum salary of 48.800 EUR.

Benefits of EU Blue Card:

  • There is a possibility to be changed into a settlement permit after 33 months of highly-qualified employment record and prove a German language proficiency of level B1,
  • If the language proficiency can be proved earlier, the settlement permit can be issued after only 21 months of such record.

For more information please click: How to get EU Blue Card for Germany?

Residence and work permit as self –employed research

If your alternative way to involve into the economic activity of the Germany is pumping into your own research-related business, then this is also another optional opportunity to get the residence and work permit.

To get the residence and work permit in such case you must prove:

  • Having a doctoral degree received in Germany,
  • There is a need for this specific economic activity in Germany,
  • Financial coverage for the business plan related to the research activity.


  • It is given for a maximum three years,
  • After three years of a proven successful activity, secured livelihood you can get a settlement permit. 

If you want to seek for a job while in Germany

There is also a possibility for you to not immediately return after your graduation, but seek for a job for a certain period. For that, you will need to apply for the temporary residence permit. The time you can receive in your disposition from the residence permit for the purpose of job-seeking is up to 12 months after graduation. This residence permit allows you to work during this period in a job that needs no special qualification, in order to cover your living costs during the job-seeking period.

Once you get a gainful employment contract related to your qualification, you must immediately apply for one of the aforementioned residence and work entitlements. There is absolutely no chance for you to get involved in the economic activity of the country without the proper entitlement.

Employment and research prospect

Being a doctoral graduate, is a passport giving you better chances of employment within the German labor market. There are lots of thrilling opportunities of employment for you as a qualified professional, such as in academia, research institutions or in industry. Let us see one by one what are the positions typically offered for the doctoral graduates.

Becoming a university professor

There is an opportunity for you to become a professor in a university after finishing your doctoral studies. To be so, you need to become “Berufungsfähigkeit” or eligible professor. Becoming a professor, your research and teaching experience gained during doctoral studies at university, non-university and even industry can help you in the future. Your scientific research publications you have made during your studies are also another factor supporting you on your way to become a professor. If you possess these qualities you will be eligible to become a junior professor, managing position in research group or industry.

To become a university professor you must have:

  • Completed a doctoral degree of an excellent achievement,
  • Have pedagogical skills,
  • Have extracurricular academic achievement,
  • Have been enrolled in the habilitation process (capacity building) and passed the examination that examines the candidates ability to become a professor of the specific academic subject,
  • Have published several scientific and research papers in international scientific peer-reviewed journals.

Forms of involve in the teaching process in a university are the followings:

  • Junior professor
  • Leader of a research group
  • Work position in industry

Becoming a postdoctoral researcher or scientist

If your intentions are to continue your research, then you have the possibility to go through the postdoctoral studies. The postdoctoral education is a form where you engage in research activities as well as in a job or other scientific and research activities at university, non-university research institution or in a research-oriented company.

There are several scholarships offered for those interested to do a postdoctoral research in Germany, such as the German Research Foundation (DFG) which gets you in a position to work for two years in a research project in cooperation with an academic institution.

Postdoctoral research in university

Working on a research project after studies is amongst popular forms of postdoctoral engagements of students. Typically the candidate engages in a research project for a certain period in order to advance its academic capacity.

The postdoctoral job you can get into a university can vary, such as as a research assistant, research associate or funded project by a third party.

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