Visas for work in Europe after graduation

Publication date: 05/08/2021

Many EU Member States want to retain international talent after graduation. They may seek to facilitate the integration of non-EU/EEA graduates into the local labour market to do so.

Woman at a desk stretching with a coffee

Searching for employment 

Non-European Union (EU) / European Economic Area (EEA) graduates of higher education study programmes in the EU can typically be granted the possibility to stay in their host country for a period of time ranging from up to 6 months (for example, in Denmark) to up to 18 months (in Germany) to find a job or start a business after completing their studies.

In some EU Member States, this possibility is made available as an extension of a student residence visa, in others as a separate temporary residence permit for the search of employment or to engage in entrepreneurship. 

Other EU Member States make a specific job search permit available. 

Find out more about visas

The EU Immigration Portal is a useful source of information about coming to work or study in the EU for more than 90 days. 

It offers the possibility to compare the conditions for working across different EU Member States. 

To access this information

  • choose the EU country in which you want to work or are already studying
  • then tick the ‘Student’ status
  • click ‘Find Information’
  • go to ‘Rights’
  • and see under ‘Employment after studies’ or ‘Change of status’

National procedures

From here, you’ll need to access further information about the specific procedures and deadlines and receive the relevant documents to complete through the competent national authorities. 

National regulations may change, so make sure to regularly check first-hand sources of information and leave enough time to complete (what can be lengthy) procedures. 

Applying for a visa extension

In many EU Member States, students need to apply for a visa extension to look for a job after graduation.

You will likely need to do this before the expiration of your residence permit for study, so be sure to check well in advance the conditions for applying for any extension.

The higher education institution at which you graduated might be able to offer guidance on applying for an extension of your visa to look for a job. 

Longer term options for work

Once you have a job offer, you could be entitled to apply for the EU Blue Card or for other longer term residence permits in line with national regulations.


Header image: © iStock/Daisy-Daisy, 2020.