Options of legal migration

If you’re interested in migrating/moving to Germany, a visa is mandatory for Gambian citizens.
A long-term stay requires a National Visa which you can apply for at the German embassy in Dakar, Senegal. National Visa exist for different purposes and you need to meet certain requirements before applying for them. Please note that meeting all of them does not mean that the German embassy is obliged to give you a visa.
To apply for any kind of visa, you have to book an appointment in advance.

Hereinafter we would like to present some reasons motivating people to move to Germany as well as basic requirements and conditions tied to a possible application.

A visa given to people who are planning on going to Germany for a stay of longer than 90 days. This is usually tied to a specific reason (other than visit, touristic reasons, or business trips) and will – connected to this reason – lead to a limited residence permit.
Those are the people coming to our office for counselling.
Please note that a passport is mandatory to apply for a visa.

Voluntary services

A work-program with a “good cause”/ for “common good”, funded by the German government (Meaning the applicant will be paid) Requirements:
• Location to work at is required (a signed contract indicating the salary and working times needs to be presented)
• Accommodation needs to be presented (either by a contract and a proof that the rent can be paid or with a rental-free accommodation, e.g. provided by the working place)
• requires level A1 of German language skills (unless the institution where the applicant will work declares that language skills wouldn’t be necessary at all and/or a German course will be attended while the applicant will be in Germany)

Voluntary services

a. FSJ (Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr):
“Voluntary social year“

• for young people from the age of 16 to 29
• operational areas are: social care (e.g. elderly care or for people with disabilities), culture (e.g. museums), preservation of historical monuments, sports (e.g. with young people), politics (e.g. parties) and schools
• duration: 6 – 18 months
• if the FSJ lasts at least a year, 25 training days are required (a participation is compulsory)

b. FÖJ (Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr):
“Voluntary ecological year”

• for young people of the age of 16 to 27
• duration: 1 year (August, 1 to July, 31)
• operational areas: Engagement in environmental centres, animal welfare and nature conservation centres, public authorities, in relation with environment

c. BuFDi (Bundesfreiwilligendienst):
„Federal Volunteers Service“, promoting lifelong learning

• applicants can be of any age
• duration: 1 year (in a very few cases from 6 to 24 months)
• usually full-time, but applicants of the age 27 upwards can reduce to a minimum of 20 hours
• from the age of 27: volunteer work possible every 5 years again
• 25 training days are compulsory
• operational areas: social, environmental, and cultural fields, sports

Work as an au-pair

The applicant will work in the household of a host family, live with them, and take care of the children. The language acquisition is one of the main targets of this program, so if the host family isn’t German, they have to proof that their family language is German (so that it’s the spoken languages at meals, conversations, etc.).
A Gambian family would most likely not be allowed to host a Gambian person.

• A contract is required
• applicants from the age of 17 to 26 (minors only with consent of the parents)
• requires level A1 of German language skills
• duration: 1 year

Family reunion

A spouse/partner in a civil union or a child is living in Germany with a residence permit. A member of the nuclear family (so a child who’s still a minor or a spouse/partner in a civil union currently residing in Gambia) wants to join him/her there.

• Marriage certificate/certificate of civil union or a proof of parentage
• applicant needs an A1-certificate of German language skills (issued by Goethe Institute in Dakar)
• children over the age of 16 need a C1-certificate of language skills
• if the person in Germany is not a German citizen: proof of sufficient income to sustain all the people of the household in Germany needs to be presented + proof of sufficient living space for all people involved as well (more than 10 qm for each person under the age of 6, for each person over the age of 6 it has to be 12 qm) + proofs showing that the relationship is kept alive (visits, pictures, phone calls, messages, etc.)


The applicant would like to work in Germany

• depending on the area of work German language skills are mandatory (requested language proficiency differs), most of the time B1
• limited or unlimited work contract is necessary (so the duration of the stay depends on this); it must be signed by both parties!
• approval for employment by the BA (Federal Employment Agency in Germany)
• recognised qualification (by the responsible authorities in Germany) must be presented
• an apartment or room (in general a place to live) should be secured, a rental contract indicating the rent has to presented
• in general livelihood has to be secured → note: it is possible to get a visa to search for a job (valid 6 months), only possible if the qualifications are recognised + German language skills are mandatory!


The applicant would like to study in Germany.

• enrolment at university must be made from abroad
• the school leaving qualification must permit you to study in Germany
• enquiries on the university’s requirements must be made at the responsible individual international offices (every university has one!)
• German language skills are mandatory when the courses at the university will be taught in German (universities have different requirements, but most of the time C1 or C2 is expected)
• an apartment or room (in general a place to live) should be secured
• sufficient financial funds must be presented (with blocked account with 10,332€ per year, a formal obligation, or a scholarship)
• proof of health insurance (valid for all the stay in Germany)
• working alongside studying is allowed but only 120 days a year or 240 when working half-days

→ note: it is possible to get a visa to search for a university place + German language skills are mandatory here as well and to secure livelihood!

Vocational training

A person would like to go for a vocational training (dual education: theory by visiting a school and practical knowledge by working).

• German language skills are mandatory (B1, sometimes B2)
• apprenticeship-contract is necessary; it must be signed by both parties (and needs to indicate enough funds – through the salary – to sustain livelihood by it)
• approval for employment by the BA (Federal Employment Agency)

→ note: it is possible to get a visa to search for a vocational training (up to the age of 25) + German language skills are mandatory here as well and to secure livelihood!



Alter Schlachthof 59, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany