How can I stay in Germany after completing my doctoral degree?

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Read this article to know how you can stay in Germany after completing your doctoral degree and get employed.

How can I stay in Germany after completing my doctoral degree?

Once you complete your doctoral degree from a German university and become a postgraduate doctoral student, like all other doctoral students, you will try to get employed in a job related to your study and research field. Right? Well, it is indeed the right thing to post your doctoral studies. Germany is considered an ideal place for not only higher education, but also for living and getting a job. As a country, Germany has a plethora of job opportunities for all students – local or international and provide superior-quality life to all the residents, including students. It is because of this that Germany is considered to be one of the leading nations amidst all European countries.

Once you’ve completed your doctoral studies in Germany, staying back and finding a suitable job will be a fabulous idea. As a doctoral student, you can work in a German non-university research institution, university, or the industry. Moreover, if you get employed in Germany as a doctoral student, your future will be very bright. Going forward, as a doctoral student employed in Germany, you will get numerous opportunities in the worldwide labor market. After all, Germany is one of the most reputed labor markets in the world.

Also, once you complete your doctoral studies in Germany, you can apply for post-doctoral research and continue your research activity. Post-doctoral research is popular among international students pursuing a doctoral degree from Germany.

Legality of post-doctoral employment in Germany

The German labor market has tons of job openings for post-doctoral students. If you plan to look for a job opportunity after finishing your doctoral students in Germany, there’s nothing to be worried about. There’s something special for each one of you out there. Germany welcomes research students like you with open arms. And, if you are lucky to grab a work contract during your doctoral research, you can stay in Germany and continue working there.

Don’t worry about staying in Germany after finishing your doctoral studies; you can do it! Your decision to pursue a doctoral degree from Germany was spot on. Be happy and work towards a brighter future!

Residence permit for staying in Germany and work permit

Whether or not you have a job offer in hand after completing your doctoral studies, you can stay back in Germany after getting a work permit. If you start a job without having a residency permit in your hand, you’ll be deported from Germany and sent to your home country. Also, specific penalties will apply to you in this case. 

What happens after you sign a job contract in Germany?

Once you sign a job contract post your doctoral studies or if you want to run a business you need a proper residence and work permit to continue staying and working in Germany.

Getting a residence and work permit in Germany as a researcher

In accordance with the Resident Act, Section-19, as a qualified doctoral student and researcher, you can apply for residence and a work permit without the approval of the German Federal Employment Agency. 

To obtain the residence and work permit, you are required to:

  • Present your work contract
  • Have financial backing and secure living in Germany 

The advantage of residence and work permit for highly-qualified researchers:

The most significant benefit of getting a residence and work permit in Germany as a researcher is that you can convert your residency for employment into a permanent residency title. 

Getting the EU Blue Card permit as a qualified job seeker in Germany

As an international doctoral student, you can also apply for the EU Blue Card – a particular kind of residence and work permit for international highly qualified job seekers in Germany. 

To obtain the EU Blue card, you are required to:

  • Present your doctoral degree completed in Germany
  • Present your work contract with a minimum income of 52.000 Euros (2018)

Advantages of the EU Blue card:

  • Your EU Blue card work permit can get converted into a settlement permit post thirty-three month of successfully staying employed and proving your proficiency in German language B1 level
  • If you are able to showcase your proficiency in German language B1 level much earlier, you can get a settlement permit twenty-one month after proving a continued employment in Germany

Getting a residence and work permit in Germany as a self-employed researcher

If you plan to run your own research-based business after completing your doctoral studies in Germany, you must apply for residence and work permit in Germany. 

To obtain the residence and work permit as a self-employed researcher in Germany, you are required to:

  • Present your doctoral degree completed in Germany
  • Prove a need for your research-related business in Germany
  • Provide proof of financial backing for your research-related business 

Advantages of residence and work permit for self-employed researchers:

  • You will get the permit for three years
  • Once you complete three years of successfully running your business, you will be subjected to a secured living in Germany and get a settlement permit

Residence for finding a job in Germany after your graduation

There can be a situation where you don’t have a job in hand soon after completing your doctoral studies. So, what will you do in this case? How will you search for a job in Germany?

Well, you will be delighted to know that in such a scenario, you can apply for a temporary residence permit. Once you get the temporary residence permit, you can stay in Germany for up to eighteen months and find a suitable job. During this period, you can also accept a job offer which is not related to your qualification, so that you can meet your living cost during that period. 

Once you find a suitable job related to your doctoral qualification, you will be required to apply for a residence and work permit as mentioned in the previous section. Your temporary residence will not be applicable in this case.

Research and employment prospect post-doctorate

Your doctoral degree is your entry pass to the German labor arena. As a highly qualified researcher, you will be subjected to several amazing employment opportunities in university, non-university research institutes, and the industry. In this section, we will cover different employment opportunities you can explore as a doctoral student in Germany. Let’s look at them one by one.

University professor

After completing your doctoral studies in Germany, you can become a university professor. However, you need to be eligible for doing so. A doctoral student eligible to become a university professor is known as “Berufungsfähigkeit.” The teaching experience you gain after becoming a university professor can help you a great deal in your career. The research papers published by you during your doctoral studies can help you in qualifying for becoming a university professor. 

To become a university professor after completing doctoral studies, you need to:

  • Complete your doctoral studies with superb achievements
  • Have extracurricular theoretical accomplishments 
  • Have tutorial skills
  • Be enrolled in a habilitation process and passed the exam that checks the doctoral student’s ability to become a university professor for teaching a specific subject
  • Have published multiple research papers based on science in global science-based journals

Various openings for teaching positions:

  • The leader of a research team
  • Junior professor

Scientist or post-doctoral researcher


If you have plans to stretch your research, then you can get enrolled in postdoctoral studies. During postdoctoral training, you can engage in research projects as well as in a job or separate scientific and research projects at the university, non-university research organization or in a research-based company. 


There are numerous scholarships offered for those wanting to do postdoctoral research in Germany. One such award is the German Research Foundation (DFG) which encourages you to work for two years in research activity in collaboration with an academic foundation.

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