German Opportunity Card (Chancenkarte)

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author-photo Nadia Dardon
German Opportunity Card (Chancenkarte)
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German Opportunity Card (Chancenkarte)

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What is the German Opportunity Card?

With the shortage of highly qualified workers, Germany is actively looking to overcome this with the Opportunity Card, also known as the Chancenkarte. This Card will open the path for an easier way to immigrate to Germany.

This permit will allow non-EU citizens to enter and live in Germany, and look for job opportunities in their specialty.

German Opportunity Card (Chancenkarte)

Germany’s Recent Immigration Law Changes

In March 2023, the Federal Cabinet of Germany approved the draft of the law for the further development of skilled worker immigration. This bill seeks to attract skilled workers from third countries and counteract the current shortage of skilled workers. This will be done with an Opportunity Card, which will become effective on March 1st, 2024.

The Purpose and Objectives Behind Germany’s Chancenkarte Visa Initiative

German Opportunity Card (Chancenkarte)

Germany has one of the largest economies in the European Union. However, the country is facing large shortages due to its population aging. Studies have shown that there are over 1.7 million job openings nationwide, which are not being filled.

In order to help mitigate this issue, the country introduced the Chancenkarte, a system that will allow non-EU citizens to come to work in Germany.

Industries in Germany Seeking More Skilled Workers

The German Opportunity Card is aimed towards “skilled-workers”. In this context, it means to people with a vocational or university degree.

The skills shortages in the country are most evident in the sciences, engineering, and healthcare sectors. However, there are plenty of skills gaps that need to be filled.

Any highly skilled professional who can demonstrate that they hold certain qualifications may be more in demand than a lower-skilled or entry-level professional.

It is important to know that Germany categorizes workers into three groups:

  • Skilled or Qualified Professionals – People who have completed at least two years of vocational training.
  • Specialists – People with a master craftsperson’s or technician’s training, or someone who has a university degree or similar qualification.
  • Experts – People who have completed at least four years of university study or equivalent qualification.

According to this Government website, the following professions are the most in demand:

  • Nursing professionals
  • Physicians
  • Engineers
  • IT specialists
  • Scientists
  • Craftspeople
  • “Green Jobs”

Who Can Get a German Opportunity Card Visa?

German Opportunity Card (Chancenkarte)

Unfortunately, the German Opportunity Card isn’t available to just anyone. There are specific requirements you must meet in order to qualify.

Because the Chancenkarte has not been implemented yet, there are no specific citizenship requirements yet, although they might be added at a later date.

You must meet at least three of these criteria:

  • Have a university degree, vocational training, or professional qualification from a recognized institution.
  • Have a minimum of three years of professional experience related to the job applied for.
  • Have language proficiency or prior residency in Germany to demonstrate familiarity with the German language and work culture.
  • Be 35 years old or younger.

All criteria are equally weighted. If you meet three of these, then you’ll likely be eligible, even if you don’t have a job offer yet.

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Opportunities with the Germany Chancenkarte

The Chancenkarte will open a world of opportunities for you. If you meet the requested criteria, then you’ll be able to enter and live in Germany while looking for a job in your specialty.

It is not required for you to already have a job offer when applying, you can actively job-seek once you’re in the country. You’ll be allowed to work at any job during this time, for up to 20 hours a week.

Once in Germany, you’ll be allowed to work on a trial basis. If the company hires you, then you’ll be able to go to the immigration office in Germany and get a longer visa or update your current status.

You can also work part-time while searching for a job in your specialty.

German Opportunity Card (Chancenkarte)

Duration of the Chancenkarte: How Long Can You Stay?

The German Opportunity Card allows you to stay in the country for one whole year, with the chance to extend that time for two more years if you’ve found a job. However, if you still haven’t secured a job in your specialty, then you won’t be allowed to renew the permit.

How to Apply for Opportunity Card Germany

German Opportunity Card (Chancenkarte)

Because the Chancenkarte Opportunity Card Permit has not been implemented yet, there isn’t an application process detailed as of yet. The permit will become available in March 2024, so more information will be provided then. We’ll keep updating this page as soon as more information is available.

What we know so far is the following:

  • You might be able to apply online, as with any other German visa. The online portal will most likely ask you to upload your personal, educational, and work-based documents.
  • You’ll most likely have to prove you have sufficient funds to support yourself, but a minimum income has not been set yet.
  • The number of Opportunity Cards available annually will be limited to 25,000, and there will only be a limited number of appointments per country for this visa.

Understanding the Point System for the German Opportunity Card

The Chancenkarte also works on a points-based system. If you are not a skilled worker recognized in Germany with a recognized degree or vocational training, then you can still apply as long as you reach enough points.

The point system of the Opportunity Card is based on qualifications, language skills, work experience, connection to Germany, and age. You must earn a minimum of 6 points in order to qualify.

Here’s a summary of the points system:

Criteria Points
If you have a university degree or vocational training 6 points
If you match one of the shortage occupations 1 point
If your work experience matches your formal qualifications 3 points
If you are 35 or younger 2 points
If you are between 36 and 40 years old. 1 point
If you have German and English language skills. 4 points
If you have previously lived in Germany for at least 6 months. 1 point
If your spouse also meets the requirements for an opportunity card. 1 point
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Pros and Cons of the Chancenkarte

Just like any other visa or work permit, there are pros and cons. Here’s a breakdown of what we consider to be the benefits and drawbacks of the Chancenkarte.

Pros

  • Companies in Germany prefer candidates who are already residing in Germany or at least in the European Union in order to hire them.
  • You do not need to have a work offer while applying.
  • You can actively seek the perfect job after you’ve entered the country with this permit.
  • The qualifying criteria aren’t as strict as other work schemes.
  • You can work part-time while searching for a field Job.
  • You don’t need a sponsorship letter for the visa
  • The Opportunity Card is similar to what the existing Jobseeker visa offers.

Cons

  • There will be an upper limit on how many opportunity cards are issued.
  • Not everyone is eligible for a visa under this scheme.
  • Because the permit is new, it might lead to additional verifications and bureaucracy leading to longer wait times for visa approval.
  • The age limit of 35 years.

It is important that you consider all of these points carefully before making a decision on whether or not you wish to apply for the Germany Opportunity Card.

German Opportunity Card vs. Different Visa Types

This isn’t the only work visa or similar scheme that Germany has to offer. Do you want to see how they all compare to each other? Check out the information for other related visas and see if the Chancenkarte is really the one for you.

Opportunity Card vs Blue Card

Opportunity Card Blue Card
This visa allows you to enter Germany and search for a job there. You can only get the Blue card after you secure a job in Germany or Europe.
Opportunity card is valid only within Germany. The Blue Card is valid throughout Europe.
You apply for the Opportunity card when you are still in your home country. You apply for the Blue Card once you are in Germany on your Employment visa
There is no requirement for a minimum salary to apply for this visa as of right now The Blue card has a minimum salary requirement
Prior stay in Germany or the knowledge of the German language is required Prior stay in Germany or knowledge of the German language is usually not required

Opportunity Card vs Jobseeker Visa

Opportunity Card Jobseeker Visa
The visa has not been implemented yet. Jobseeker visa is an existing type of visa.
German language proficiency is needed for this visa. German language proficiency is not required for this visa.
An opportunity card can be granted to degree holders and professionals with a minimum of 3 years of experience. A jobseeker visa is granted to highly skilled professionals with a work experience of 5 years or more.
There is an age limit for the Opportunity Card. There is no age restriction for the jobseeker visa.
There is no minimum income or bank balance requirement as of yet. You need to maintain an average balance of at least USD 7500 in your bank account.
You can work part-time while searching for a job in your specialty. The jobseeker visa doesn’t allow the visa holder to work part-time.

Opportunity Card vs Employment Visa

Opportunity Card Employment Visa
The visa has not been implemented yet. The Employment visa is an existing type of visa.
The Opportunity Card allows you to enter Germany and search for a job there. The employment visa is applied when you already have a job offer/contract from Germany.
You must satisfy the eligibility criteria to apply for the opportunity card. In order to apply, all you need is a a job offer from Germany and a valid degree certificate recognized by Germany.
There will be a limit to how many opportunity cards will be allotted each year. There is no limit on the number of employment visas that can be allotted each year.
Knowledge of the German language is required for the Opportunity Card. German language proficiency is not required to get an employment visa.

FAQs About German Opportunity Card

What Is the Duration of Validity for the Opportunity Card in Germany?

The Opportunity Card allows you to live in Germany for one full year while searching for a job. Once you’ve found one, you can extend your time for two more years. 

Is It Possible To Extend German Chancenkarte?

Yes! Once you’ve found a job in your specialty, you can extend your Chancenkarte for two more years.

Can I Apply for a Germany Opportunity Card Online?

The application process is unknown at the moment, however, it is highly likely you’ll be able to apply online for the visa.

Who Is Eligible to Receive a Chancenkarte?

Any non-EU citizen who meets the required criteria may apply for the Chancenkarte.

What are the Requirements for the Chancenkarte Germany Application?

You must meet at least three of these criteria:

  • Have a university degree, vocational training, or professional qualification from a recognized institution. 
  • Have a minimum of three years of professional experience related to the job applied for.
  • Have language proficiency or prior residency in Germany to demonstrate familiarity with the German language and work culture.
  • Be 35 years old or younger.

If you don’t meet at least three of them, you can still apply, as long as you reach 6 points on their pointing system (check the points breakdown above.)

I Want to Ask Another Question

Do you still have questions about the German Opportunity Card (Chancenkarte) and how to apply? Get in touch!

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Author

author-photo

Nadia Dardón is a freelance writer from Guatemala. In early 2022 she embarked as a digital nomad, traveling through Europe, focusing mostly on the literary history of each country.

She has worked fully remotely for the past four years as a reader, writer, and content creator with experience creating pieces for different industries. She also has a personal blog where she writes about her cultural and literary travels.

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