As a foreign student in Germany, one has a 120-full-days or 240-part-days work limit during the year.

I have also noticed that different laws about foreigners not only depend on one's city but are moreover even open to interpretation by the foreigner's office, that is one can observe different behaviors for equal/similar cases.

After an inquiry I was told that the main point behind this law was for the student to focus on his studies and the important bit was that the student made progress in his studies.

My question now is, assuming the study process doesn't get harmed, would there be any consequences if one exceeded this limit? For instance if you surpass it to 130-full-days, what would happen?

  • To assist others, can you cite the law(s) you refer to? – Rock Ape Feb 2 at 15:41
  • Hmm, I am not sure how I can find that since my German isn't solid. Any suggestions? – Bendemann Feb 2 at 15:49
  • I don't think this is about a law but rather about the visa you have. The visa allows you to live in Germany, study here and do a limited amount of work. If you don't obey the rules and are caught, your visa might be revoked and you will be send back to your home country. – quarague Feb 2 at 16:03

The DAAD has published a summary of the legal constraints when working as a foreign student in Germany. While the document is only available in German, it is complete and rather authoritative. I summarize the main points here.

On a student visa, you are eligible for 120 full days or 240 half days in accordance with §16b (3) AufenthG. This is a legal constraint. It is not up to interpretation. Only mandatory internships constitute a right to further work.

In individual cases, the Ausländerbehörde (foreign registration office) can grant authorization for additional work. The authorization will only be granted if the extra work will not jeopardize the purpose of your stay in Germany, which is studying full-time. In particular, work in a study-related job such as a student assistant will generally be eligible for an extension. This is up to the judgement of the office. Thus, there can be differences between different cities.

If you intend to surpass the 120/240 day limit, you must get prior authorization. You are otherwise violating the conditions of your visa, which can result in fines and deportation. Additionally, no upstanding employer wants to provide illegal work as they would be subject to penalties themselves.


  • penalties and potentially jail. – Trish Feb 3 at 13:08
  • On another topic, its one's responsibility to inform oneself about such laws when one moves to another country, right? I see so much confusion among my fellow students and no pointers or programs by the German government to teach these stuff. – Bendemann Feb 4 at 9:33
  • 1
    @Bendemann Yes you have to inform yourself about the local rules. As a foundational principle of Western law, ignorance about the law is no excuse if you could have known. To research this answer, I started on the study-in-germany.de and DAAD websites which are both available in English, are likely to be read by foreign students, and are funded by the German government. – amon Feb 4 at 9:55

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