Employment Law

Certain legal regulations apply to international students wishing to work alongside their studies. Don’t forget that your main aim should be the successful completion of your degree!

Non-EU member states

Students from non-EU member states are only permitted to work a limited number of hours. The maximum period of employment is 120 whole days or 240 half days in one year. Every student must be able to prove how many hours they have worked. Therefore, it is advisable to make a note of the following things for all paid work carried out in Germany:

  • The name of the employer
  • The employment contract stating the duration of employment with the start and end dates
  • The exact amount of hours worked

This rule does not apply to student assistants and research assistants. These students are allowed to work more hours. However, they are obligated to inform the Foreign Citizens’ Office!

Important: The 120/240-day rule also applies to voluntary (even unpaid) internships!

An occupation which exceeds the 120 whole days or 240 half days in one year requires a work permit. This can only be issued by the Foreign Citizens’ Office in exchange for a concrete job offer.

Employment law for international students from non EU-countries (German)   (46.5 kB)

EU member states (including Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland)

Students from EU member states are subject to the same rules as the Germans. They are not allowed to work any more than 20 hours per week during lecture periods. In holiday times they are permitted to work as many hours as they desire. The 20-hour limit can be exceeded during the lecture period, providing that the student is only carrying out short-term employment. This is defined as employment not lasting longer than 2 months or 50 days in one year.

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Anna Potreck

Natascha Wulff