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Working in Berlin?

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Sean Henderson

Living in Germany, from Canada

"The good thing about InterNations is that I got to know the expat community in Berlin as well as internationally minded locals."

Anna Maria Osario

Living in Germany, from Argentina

"Through InterNations I met so many other Argentinean expats in Berlin, which made the transition period really easy for me."

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Berlin at a Glance

Working in Berlin

Will you soon be working in Berlin as an expatriate? Good choice! The city offers many opportunities, from global companies to middle-sized businesses or start-ups. Our InterNations guide to Berlin explains business etiquette, visa regulations, and admin issues for expats in Berlin.

Working in Berlin is a wise choice, as Berlin has a strong economy due to its weight in the international market and close ties with Eastern Europe. As a result, many people working in the German capital come from that area, and many companies of interest for expats are run by Eastern Europeans. The fastest growing economic sectors in Berlin are communications, the media, life sciences, mobility and services, energy technology, and green tech.

You should note that the great majority of the workforce in Berlin are employed in the service sector. Those who are considering a career in the technology sector will be delighted to know that Berlin has become a leader in implementing new technology fields: The city has even set up a fund to encourage the linking of business with technology.

The new Adlershof also attracts many people who are interested in working in Berlin. It promotes the city’s image of being a “City of Science, Business, and Media”. Some 15,000 people call the Adlershof their office.

German Business Etiquette

Germans take their work very seriously, and you should not be surprised to find out that work and pleasure are two things not to be mixed. Germans in general are rather reserved and have a great respect for personal space. They do not overstep personal boundaries and would be rather insulted if you did so.

Depending on which country you come from, you may want to keep the following points in mind when working in Berlin with German colleagues:

Want to know more about business culture in Germany? Check out the Jobs and Business section of our detailed Germany guide! 

Visa Requirements

If you are contemplating working in Berlin but are not from a Schengen area or EU country, you need an employment visa and a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis). For your work visa, you have to prove that you already have a job lined up before coming to Germany. In that case you only need to present a copy of your work agreement to the respective German mission and thus prove you’ll be working in Berlin.

However, the citizens of selected countries are allowed to enter Germany without an employment visa and look for work there during a limited period of several months, provided they have enough money to support themselves. Please ask the German embassy or consulate if this applies to you. Thus, you could even start working in Berlin without having to applying for an employment visa from abroad.

Our articles on how to get a German visa and getting a work permit for Germany also provide useful overviews. 

InterNations Expat Magazine