Part-time work & Student jobs

As an international student it is difficult to finance your degree by working here in Germany. Regulations state that international students are not allowed to take a full-time or permanent job and it can be difficult to find suitable part-time jobs as most jobs require students to have a good command of German. Please also bear in mind that it is very difficult to work and keep up with the requirements of the degree programmes.

Non-EU students are normally allowed to work for up to 120 days or 240 half days per year without a work permit. In addition, they are allowed to work as a student assistant (so-called Hiwi jobs) on campus for a maximum of 46 hours per month.

There are a limited number of on-campus student assistant jobs available in the faculties and in central services such as the library or marketing department. Students often need to have a good command of German. Information about positions available can be found here or by contacting the faculty or department directly.

Job opportunities in local companies are advertised on the notice boards at the university. Here also students usually need to have a good command of German.

Work Permit

EU-nationals and citizens of Iceland and Liechtenstein do not need a special permit to work in Germany.

If you are from another country and enrolled at an institution of higher education in Germany, you are usually entitled to work for 120 days or 240 half days per year. If you find employment on campus, you do not need a work permit, given the work is predominantly of a scientific nature. A work permit may be obtained through the job centre (Agentur für Arbeit, Lantwattenstr. 2, 78050 Villingen-Schwenningen)

Students from another country who do not intend to enrol but would like to do an internship for up to six months, must apply through one of the following institutions:

  • Zentralstelle für Arbeitsvermittlung (ZAV) in Bonn
  • Koordinierungsstelle für die praktischen Studiensemester in Baden-Württemberg (KOOR) in Karlsruhe
  • Any other official student exchange organization, recognized by the ZAV

Each of these organizations may issue an exemption certificate that entitles you to carry out your internship (Freistellungsbescheinigung von der Arbeitserlaubnispflicht) without a work permit. Further information can be obtained from the university International Center. For students from partner universities the International Center deals with this administrative procedure.

Paying Taxes

Students employed in Germany for six months or longer have to obtain a tax card (Lohnsteuerkarte). This card can be obtained at the town hall where you register for residency. In the case of regular employment, as is the case in a long-term internship, taxes are deducted automatically from your salary. If your annual income is not over a certain threshold (currently about €8,354), your earnings will be exempt from tax. In this case, any taxes deducted from your pay during the year can be refunded. You have to file a tax return with the regional revenue agency (Finanzamt) to receive a tax refund. You can file a tax return at the end of the fiscal year in which the taxes were paid.

If you conduct an internship for less than six months, no tax card is required. In this case you have to file for a tax exemption permit. This is done at the regional revenue agency (Finanzamt). This agency will then contact your employer directly.