Can you work on a student visa

German student union

Anyone who works in Germany usually needs a tax number. You can obtain this from the citizens' office in your place of residence. However, there are also so-called marginal jobs (mini-jobs); As a rule, you do not need an income tax card for this.

In principle, the following applies: There are also different social contributions for the various forms of employment.

Minor employment = 450 euros job = mini job

If students have a long-term job with which they do not earn more than 450 euros a month, the so-called mini-job rule applies: You do not have to pay taxes and can be exempt from pension insurance contributions.

The employer, however, pays pension insurance contributions for the mini-jobbers; they acquire entitlements in the pension insurance. Students can increase the employer's contribution through their own voluntary contributions.

There are also mini-jobs in private households - but for you as an employee there are hardly any legal differences to mini-jobs in business.

Mini-jobs are registered by the employer at the mini-job center. If you work in several mini-jobs at the same time, the total income must remain below 450 euros. Otherwise you will have to pay taxes.

More than minor employment

If you regularly earn more than 450 euros a month in your job, you need a tax number in Germany. Certain deductions are automatically withheld from your wages: For students, this is the pension insurance contribution and taxes. As a rule, however, students get their taxes back at the end of the year. To do this, they must submit an income tax return to the tax office.

The percentage of your income that is paid as a contribution to the pension insurance depends on the amount of your income. If the income is between 450 and 850 euros, reduced contributions to the pension insurance are due. The contributions increase gradually, with monthly income of 850 euros or more, students pay the full pension insurance contribution of 9.45 percent.

Students who work up to 20 hours per week can remain insured with their student health insurance. If you work more than 20 hours a week, you usually have to pay contributions to health insurance and unemployment insurance as well!

Working in the semester break ("lecture-free time")

During the semester break, special legal regulations apply to students.

Jobs during the semester break are taxable, but even here students mostly get their taxes back at the end of the year via income tax equalization.

If the employment occurs exclusively during the lecture-free period, students do not have to pay separate health insurance contributions, even if they work more than 20 hours per week.

During the semester break, there is no obligation to pay into the state pension scheme: This applies if the employment relationship is limited to a maximum of 2 months or 50 working days per year.

Freelance workers, work contracts, freelance or self-employed activities

Sometimes students are also offered activities on a freelance basis. If you are self-employed, you do not need an income tax card.

In this case, your employer or client usually asks you to submit an invoice, or you agree on a work contract with him.

Income that you generate in this way will not be taxed for the time being. However, you must report this income to the tax office at the end of the year and file an income tax return.

Attention: International students who do not come from the EU or the EEA are usually not allowed to work independently!

Helpful links and information:

  • Explanatory video "Tips for international students - How do I finance my studies in Germany" ...