How to Apply for Ausbildung in Germany from Abroad

How to Apply for Ausbildung in Germany
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How to Apply for Ausbildung in Germany from Abroad: A Step-by-Step Guide

Embarking on vocational training in Germany, known as Ausbildung, marks a pivotal step in forging a successful career path. As you wonder how to apply for Ausbildung in Germany, it’s essential to recognize the unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experience this educational system offers. Ausbildung courses in Germany cater to a range of industries, providing a solid foundation for anyone looking to excel in their chosen field. This guides importance lies in its ability to navigate you through the complexities of applying, ensuring you grasp every opportunity Ausbildung presents, regardless of where you’re starting from.

In this article, we’ll walk you through crucial steps including understanding what Ausbildung in Germany entails for foreigners, determining your eligibility, and the actual application process for Ausbildung from abroad. We will also delve into navigating the visa process for vocational training, financing your stay, finding accommodation, and the importance of language preparation for your success. Beyond these steps, we’ll explore what life looks like after completing your Ausbildung, setting you up not just for a strong start but a thriving future in Germany. Each section is designed to provide a comprehensive overview, allowing you to embark on this exciting journey with confidence and clarity.

Understanding the Ausbildung System in Germany

Overview of the German Vocational Training System

Germany’s vocational training system, known as Ausbildung, is a highly structured program that integrates both theoretical and practical learning. The system is designed to prepare individuals for specific trades or professions by combining classroom instruction at vocational schools with hands-on training at partnering companies. This dual approach ensures that participants gain relevant, industry-specific skills that enhance their employability and career prospects.

Differences Between Dual System and School-Based Training

The dual system is a distinctive feature of the German educational landscape. It involves a partnership between private companies and public vocational schools, where the training responsibilities are shared. Trainees spend part of their week learning theoretical aspects at school and the remainder applying these concepts practically in the workplace. This system contrasts with school-based training programs, which are primarily conducted in educational institutions without the integrated work component.

  • Dual System: Trainees split their time between vocational school and on-the-job training, usually lasting two to three-and-a-half years. The cooperative nature of this system allows for immediate application of theoretical knowledge in real-world settings, enhancing learning outcomes and providing valuable work experience.
  • School-Based Training: Focuses mainly on theoretical education within a school setting, with limited exposure to practical, hands-on experience. This type of training is less common in Germany and is typically oriented towards academic rather than vocational education.

Importance of Language Proficiency

Proficiency in the German language is crucial for success in the Ausbildung system. All training programs are conducted in German, and understanding the language is essential not only for academic and professional communication but also for integration into the workplace and German society. Applicants are often required to demonstrate their language skills through standardized tests such as the TestDaF or DSH.

  • Language Requirements: Depending on the vocational field and the complexity of the tasks, the required proficiency level can range from B1 to C1. Higher levels may be necessary for fields with specialized vocabulary, such as healthcare or technical professions.
  • Language Tests: Recognized tests include the TestDaF, DSH, and Goethe-Zertifikat, which assess various levels of language proficiency and are widely accepted by employers and educational institutions in Germany.

Understanding the structure and requirements of the Ausbildung system is essential for anyone considering vocational training in Germany. Mastery of the German language plays a pivotal role in ensuring that trainees can fully benefit from both the theoretical and practical components of their education, ultimately leading to successful career development.

Eligibility Criteria for International Applicants

Embarking on an Ausbildung in Germany is an exciting opportunity for international applicants to gain hands-on experience and theoretical knowledge in their chosen field. To ensure a smooth application process, it’s essential to understand the eligibility criteria, which include age and educational qualifications, language proficiency requirements, and legal requirements for non-EU citizens.

Age and Educational Qualifications

  1. Minimum Age: While there’s no legally defined minimum age for apprenticeships in Germany, it’s commonly around 15. However, for foreign applicants, the entry age is adjusted to 18 due to legal requirements for contract signings. This adjustment is necessary as many contractual documents, including rentals and insurance, require legal capacity granted only to those above 18.
  2. Educational Background: You must have completed your compulsory education, usually up to the 12th grade. Depending on the Ausbildung program, different educational requirements may apply:
    • Some vocational training requires a Mittlere Reife (9th Class, intermediate school-leaving certificate).
    • Others may require a Realabschluss (substantive general certificate of secondary education).
    • Certain programs demand an Abitur (A-Level, 12 years, with university entrance qualification).

Language Proficiency Requirements

  1. German Language Proficiency: The Ausbildung programs are conducted in German, making proficiency in the language a crucial requirement. You need to demonstrate that your level is at least B1/B2. Over 90% of companies offering apprenticeships state that language skills are essential to complete a training course. Recognized tests include the TestDaF, DSH, and Goethe-Zertifikat, which assess various levels of language proficiency.

Legal Requirements for Non-EU Citizens

  1. Valid Residence Permit: You must have a valid residence permit for Germany to apply for an Ausbildung. This permit is crucial for ensuring your legal stay in the country during your vocational training.
  2. Visa Requirements: Non-EU citizens must meet specific visa requirements, including:
    • Confirmation from the training company.
    • Proof of language proficiency.
    • Financial proof, with a requirement of having sufficient funds (863 Euros per month) to maintain the cost of living in Germany for the duration of your stay before the start of your Ausbildung.
    • Educational background documentation.
    • Health insurance valid for at least the first year or before the start of your vocational training.

By meeting these eligibility criteria, international applicants can embark on their journey to applying for an Ausbildung in Germany, setting the foundation for a successful career in their chosen field.

Steps to Apply for Ausbildung in Germany from Abroad

Research and Choose the Right Profession

  1. Identify Your Interests: Start by assessing your skills and interests. This will help you determine which profession aligns best with your career aspirations and personal strengths.
  2. Research Industries: Explore various industries that offer Ausbildung programs. Consider sectors like healthcare, IT, engineering, and hospitality, as they are prominent in Germany and often seek skilled apprentices.
  3. Understand Demand: Look into the demand for specific trades or professions in Germany. High-demand areas might offer better employment prospects post-training.

Finding Ausbildung Positions and Applying

  1. Utilize Online Platforms: Leverage websites such as the Federal Employment Agency of Germany (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) and other specialized Ausbildung portals to find available positions.
  2. Network: Engage with industry professionals through online forums, social media groups, or virtual job fairs. Networking can provide valuable insights and potential leads for Ausbildung positions.
  3. Apply Strategically: When you find positions that match your interest, customize your application to highlight why you are a suitable candidate for that specific role and company.

Preparing Your Application Documents

  1. Craft a Compelling CV: Ensure your CV is up-to-date and formatted according to German standards. Highlight your educational background, skills, and any relevant experience.
  2. Write a Motivational Letter: Your motivational letter should express your enthusiasm for the chosen field and explain why you wish to pursue Ausbildung in Germany. Tailor this letter to each application to address the specific requirements of the Ausbildung position.
  3. Gather Required Documents: Prepare essential documents such as your passport, educational certificates, language proficiency proofs, and references. Ensure all documents are translated into German, if necessary.

By following these steps and preparing thoroughly, you can enhance your chances of securing an Ausbildung position in Germany from abroad. This strategic approach will guide you through the application process, helping you to embark on a rewarding vocational training journey in Germany.

Navigating the Visa Process for Vocational Training

Embarking on vocational training in Germany is an exciting journey that requires careful planning, especially when it comes to navigating the visa process. Understanding the types of visas available, preparing the necessary documentation, and acing the visa interview are crucial steps toward achieving your Ausbildung dreams. In this section, we’ll guide you through these essential stages, ensuring you’re well-prepared for this important part of your vocational training journey in Germany.

Types of Visas Available for Vocational Training

Germany offers specific visa types for individuals looking to pursue vocational training (Ausbildung) within its borders. These include:

  1. Residence Permit for Vocational Training (Section 16a AufenthG): This permit is essential for both school-based and company-based vocational training programs. It’s issued for the duration of the vocational training program, which usually lasts at least two years. This permit also allows you to take a second job for up to 20 hours per week, provided it does not interfere with your training.
  2. Visa for the Purpose of Seeking a Vocational Training Place (Section 17 (1) AufenthG): If you haven’t secured a vocational training position yet, this visa allows you to enter Germany and stay for up to nine months to find a suitable place. During this period, you’re permitted to work up to 20 hours a week and complete up to two weeks of trial work.

Documentation and Prerequisites for Visa Application

Before applying for a visa, it’s essential to gather and prepare the necessary documentation. The key documents required include:

  • A Valid Training Place: Confirmation of an in-company or school-based vocational training place in Germany.
  • Proof of Language Proficiency: German language skills at level B1 of the CEFR are typically required unless the training institution has already assessed your language skills.
  • Financial Proof: Evidence that you can cover your living costs for the duration of your stay. For school-based training, this might involve a blocked bank account or a declaration of commitment, while an in-company training allowance can suffice for company-based training.
Document Requirement

Training Place Confirmation

In-company or school-based vocational training place in Germany

Language Proficiency Proof

German language skills at level B1 of the CEFR

Financial Proof

Blocked bank account, declaration of commitment, or in-company training allowance

Tips for a Successful Visa Interview

The visa interview is a critical step in the application process. Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  1. Understand the Ausbildung Program: Be clear about the vocational training you’re pursuing and why it interests you. This shows your commitment and readiness for the program.
  2. Demonstrate Language Proficiency: Be prepared to communicate in German, as this will be essential for your training and integration into German society.
  3. Show Financial Stability: Have clear evidence of your financial arrangements to cover your living expenses throughout your stay.
  4. Be Clear About Your Plans Post-Training: Whether you intend to return to your home country or seek employment in Germany, have a clear plan for after you complete your vocational training.

Navigating the visa process for vocational training in Germany requires attention to detail and thorough preparation. By understanding the types of visas available, ensuring your documentation is in order, and preparing for your visa interview, you’re setting yourself up for a successful start to your vocational training journey in Germany.

Financing Your Stay During Ausbildung

Financing your stay during Ausbildung in Germany is a critical aspect to consider as you prepare for this vocational journey. Understanding the financial landscape, including apprenticeship salaries, cost of living, and available financial aid, is essential for a smooth experience. Here, we delve into these aspects to help you plan effectively.

Overview of Apprenticeship Salaries

The amount you earn during your Ausbildung varies significantly based on the profession and the year of training. As a general guideline, the minimum remuneration starts at €585 per month in the first year, adjusting to €620 in 2023. This amount increases progressively, reaching at least €690 in the second year and €790 in the third. Post-apprenticeship, starting salaries range between €25,000 and €30,000, heavily dependent on the field. For instance, a starting salary in hairdressing might be around €1,200 per month, while mechanical and industrial engineering can offer around €2,840 per month.

Year of Training Minimum Salary (2023)







It’s important to note that school-based apprenticeships do not offer a salary, necessitating other means of financial support.

Cost of Living and Financial Planning

Living costs in Germany can vary widely depending on your location and lifestyle. For a modest lifestyle, apprentices can expect to cover their basic expenses with their salary, although saving might be challenging. The cost of living is generally higher in cities like Berlin compared to more rural areas. For the absolute minimum, you might need around €900 per month, which includes €450 for personal expenses and €400 for housing.

Given these expenses, financial planning becomes paramount. In some cases, opening a blocked account is necessary to prove you can support yourself financially. This account limits monthly withdrawals, ensuring you have sufficient funds throughout your stay.

Scholarships and Financial Aid Options

Germany offers a plethora of financial aid options for apprentices:

  1. Apprenticeship Allowance: Available to apprentices with German citizenship and, under certain conditions, to EU and non-EU citizens. The Federal Employment Agency provides more information on eligibility.
  2. Student Loans: These loans come with low interest rates and flexible repayment plans, making them a viable option for financing your Ausbildung.
  3. Part-Time Work: Apprentices are allowed to work up to 10 hours per week in a job unrelated to their apprenticeship, offering a way to earn extra income.
  4. BAföG: A government-funded program providing financial support based on needs and circumstances, available to both German and, under exceptional cases, international students.
  5. DAAD Scholarships: These scholarships, which do not require repayment, offer monthly payments and are primarily aimed at graduates and doctoral students for study and research in Germany.
  6. Private Loans and Bildungskredit: Various private and semi-private loans are accessible to students, including the Bildungskredit, which provides up to €7,200 per year and requires repayment to start four years after graduation.

Understanding these financial aspects and planning accordingly will ensure you can focus on your Ausbildung without undue financial stress, setting a solid foundation for your future career in Germany.

Accommodation and Living in Germany

Finding accommodation in Germany requires early planning, especially for international students. The process can be daunting due to language barriers, high demand, and regional price differences. Here’s how to navigate finding a place to call home.

Finding Accommodation

  1. Start Early: Once your course confirmation arrives, begin your accommodation search. Utilize the International Office at your educational institution for guidance.
  2. Understand Rent Types: Familiarize yourself with Kaltmiete (basic rent) and Warmmiete (rent including utilities) to budget effectively.
  3. Explore Student Residences: Many students opt for student residences due to affordability and the opportunity to socialize. On average, rent in student residences is around 267 EUR per month.
  4. Consider Flatshares: Sharing an apartment with other students can be cost-effective and offers a communal living experience. Rent ranges between 549 and 950 EUR per month for a room in a shared flat.
  5. Rent Your Own Flat: For more privacy, renting your own flat is an option, though it’s the most expensive, averaging 1100 EUR per month.
  6. Interim Lets: If permanent accommodation isn’t secured by semester start, explore short-term options like subletting or staying in hostels.
  7. Online Portals and Social Media: Websites like WG-Gesucht and ImmoScout24, along with social media groups, are valuable resources for finding housing.

Cultural Adaptation and Integration Tips

  1. Learn the Language: Basic German skills are appreciated and essential for integration. Engage in language courses and practice regularly.
  2. Respect Cultural Differences: Germans value punctuality, privacy, and rules. Understanding and respecting these aspects will ease your integration.
  3. Socialize and Network: Join clubs, attend local events, and engage with both locals and expats to build your social network.
  4. Accept and Extend Invitations: Participating in social activities and inviting others is key to forming lasting friendships.
  5. Be Patient and Proactive: Building relationships and integrating into German society takes time and effort. Stay open-minded and proactive in your approach.

Health Insurance and Other Essentials

  1. Mandatory Health Insurance: All residents, including students, must have health insurance. International students need to ensure their coverage meets German standards.
  2. Types of Health Insurance: There are private and statutory health insurance options. Most students opt for statutory health insurance, which offers a basic plan covering essential medical services.
  3. Coverage and Costs: Health insurance covers medically necessary treatments, prescription medications, and some preventive care. Student health insurance costs between EUR 120 and EUR 130 per month.
  4. Seeking Medical Care: For health issues, start with a general practitioner. Referrals may be needed for specialist care. Emergency services can be reached at 112, and on-call doctors are available via 116 117.
  5. Important Considerations: Proximity to the university, access to public transport, safety, and access to essential services should be considered when choosing accommodation. Engaging with university accommodation services or online platforms can simplify the search.

By preparing early, respecting cultural norms, and understanding the essentials like health insurance, you can navigate accommodation and living in Germany successfully. This foundation will allow you to focus on your studies and enjoy your time in Germany to the fullest.

Language Preparation for Ausbildung Success

To achieve success in your Ausbildung in Germany, perfect preparation is essential. This includes not only acquiring language skills but also gaining basic knowledge and intercultural skills necessary for integrating into German society. Let’s explore how you can prepare effectively.

German Language Levels Required

For a smooth start to your apprenticeship, it’s crucial to have a solid foundation in the German language. The required proficiency often starts at level B1 for most Ausbildung programs, enabling you to understand and communicate in everyday situations and follow work-related instructions. However, some professions may demand higher proficiency, up to level C1, especially those involving specialized vocabulary or patient communication, like nursing. Here’s a breakdown of the language levels and their significance:

  • B1 Level: Understands the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • B2 Level: Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
  • C1 Level: Can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognize implicit meaning. Can express ideas fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.

Best Resources for Learning German from Abroad

Learning German from your home country has been made easier with a plethora of online resources. Websites and apps like Duolingo, Memrise, and Deutsche Welle offer free courses that cater to various proficiency levels. These platforms use engaging methods such as games, flashcards, and interactive exercises to enhance learning. For a more structured approach, websites like Deutsch Akademie provide access to over 20,000 grammar and vocabulary exercises. Additionally, platforms like The German Project offer lessons with audio sessions and practical language use, making it easier to grasp the basics of the language.

Language Courses in Germany upon Arrival

Upon your arrival in Germany, enrolling in a language course can significantly boost your proficiency and prepare you for your Ausbildung. It’s possible to attend an intensive language course for up to twelve months, with at least 18 hours of tuition per week. These courses are designed to provide a thorough knowledge of German and are a prerequisite for many vocational training programs. Additionally, the residence title for vocational training includes attending a work-related German language course, further facilitating your integration into the German workforce.

Course Type Description

Intensive Language Course

Offers daily tuition for a thorough knowledge of German, ideal for beginners and intermediate learners.

Work-Related German Course

Focuses on vocabulary and language use in professional settings, preparing you for the communication requirements of your Ausbildung.

Integration Course

Aimed at helping newcomers integrate into German society, covering language as well as political, historical, and societal aspects of Germany.

By engaging in these preparatory steps and utilizing the resources available, you can set a strong foundation for your Ausbildung journey in Germany. Remember, apart from language skills, understanding the cultural context and societal norms plays a crucial role in your overall success and integration.

After Completing Your Ausbildung

Job Prospects and Career Opportunities

After successfully completing your Ausbildung, you’ll find that many doors open in terms of career opportunities. German companies are actively seeking vocationally trained skilled workers, enhancing your chances of being offered a job directly after your training. If your training company cannot employ you, or you wish to explore opportunities with other companies, there are valuable resources and tips available in the “Looking for a job” section that can guide you through the job-seeking process.

Pathways to Further Education or Specialization

Continuing your education after Ausbildung is a viable option that can lead to further specialization and career advancement. Depending on your field, you might consider:

  • Pursuing further training to become a certified engineer (staatlich geprüfter Techniker) if you are in construction or mechanical engineering. This usually involves at least two years of full-time education at a higher vocational school and culminates in a state examination.
  • Training to become a master craftsperson (Meister), which not only enhances your qualifications but also enables you to take on apprentices and potentially open your own business.
  • Starting a degree course at a higher education institution. The German Meister qualification allows you to study any subject at German universities. Alternatively, if you have substantial work experience in your trained vocation, you may be eligible to study related subjects at university.

Options for Permanent Residency and Citizenship

Completing your Ausbildung can be a significant step towards achieving permanent residency in Germany, especially if you continue to work in the country. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Residency and Work: After your Ausbildung, you can stay in Germany for up to 12 months to find qualified employment, under a job-seeker’s visa. Securing a job related to your training can lead to a residence permit for qualified employment.
  • Permanent Residency: If you have worked in Germany for two years following your vocational training, you may be eligible for a settlement permit, provided you meet additional requirements such as language proficiency and economic self-sufficiency.
  • Citizenship: While Ausbildung alone does not automatically qualify you for German citizenship, it can pave the way to permanent residency, which is a crucial step towards citizenship. For citizenship, you typically need to have lived in Germany for eight years, show B1 language proficiency, and pass a citizenship test.
Requirement Details

Job-seeker’s Visa

Allows 12 months to find employment post-Ausbildung.

Residence Permit for Work

Granted after securing qualified employment.

Settlement Permit

Possible after 2 years of employment post-Ausbildung, with additional requirements.


Requires 8 years of residency, language proficiency, and passing a citizenship test.

By understanding these pathways and preparing accordingly, you can maximize the benefits of your vocational training in Germany, leading to rewarding career opportunities and the potential for long-term residency or citizenship.


Venturing into the Ausbildung system in Germany presents a promising avenue for personal and professional growth, offering a perfect blend of practical experience and theoretical knowledge across various industries. The comprehensive guide provided elucidates the critical steps from determining eligibility to securing accommodation, navigating the visa process, and leveraging financial resources, setting the foundation for a successful vocational journey. It emphasizes the importance of language proficiency and cultural integration, underlining their significance in not just excelling in the chosen field but also in smoothly assimilating into German society.

Completing an Ausbildung in Germany is not merely about gaining vocational training; it’s about opening doors to vast career opportunities and pathways for further education or specialization. The prospects for permanent residency and eventual citizenship highlight the long-term benefits of pursuing vocational training in Germany. Armed with the insights and practical advice from this guide, individuals are well-equipped to embark on this enriching journey towards building a rewarding career and life in Germany, making the most of the opportunities that Ausbildung presents.


1. How can foreigners locate apprenticeship opportunities in Germany?
Foreigners can find apprenticeships in Germany by exploring the Federal Employment Agency’s job listings. Simply select “Ausbildung” from the “Sie suchen” drop-down menu to access a comprehensive list of apprenticeship opportunities across various occupations in companies throughout Germany.

2. What qualifications are needed to enroll in an Ausbildung program in Germany in 2024?
To be eligible for an Ausbildung program in 2024, applicants must have completed their 12th grade education, possess a valid National Type D visa, have German language proficiency at the B1/B2 level, and be at least 17 years old.

3. What is the procedure for international students to apply for vocational training in Germany?
International students must complete several steps to apply for vocational training in Germany, including submitting the VIDEX application form along with an additional declaration, paying a visa fee of 75 Euros, providing a biometric photograph not older than six months, a declaration of employment, a valid passport, a birth certificate, school leaving certificates, and a curriculum vitae (CV).

4. Which Ausbildung programs are highly sought after in Germany?
The most in-demand Ausbildung programs in Germany, especially for Indian students in 2024, include medical and nursing services, IT and computer science, hospitality and tourism, engineering, business and administration, dental assistant, automated systems, and automobile technology. These fields are particularly attractive due to the high demand for skilled workers in these areas.

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