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Europe Work Visa: Everything you need to know
4 min read
Updated on May 14, 2024

Each European Union (EU) member state maintains unique visa policies, which vary significantly from one country to another. These work visa schemes have been developed to address the labor demands of each nation and to mitigate job shortages that have emerged over recent years.

Consequently, the criteria and prerequisites for work visas, along with the application procedures, are highly dependent on the specific labor requirements and legal frameworks of each country.

Europe Computer Work

Now, let's explore some of the most frequently asked questions regarding employment in Europe.

Can anyone work in Europe?

Anyone who meets the established criteria and requirements can work in Europe.

Citizens of the United States, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland, as well as citizens within the EU, do not need to apply for a work visa for Europe. However, upon arrival in the country where they will be working, they do need to apply for a residence and work permit.

Citizens of other countries must apply for and obtain a work visa before entering European territories for work purposes.

Types of work visas for Europe

It's important to clarify that there is no such thing as a Schengen work visa. Such documentation is available only for purposes such as tourism, family and friend visits, business trips, and medical reasons, among others.

Therefore, if your aim is to work in any EU country or a country within the Schengen area, you must seek the relevant work permit directly from the specific European country where you intend to be employed.

Some common categories of work visas across European nations include:

  • General work visas: For individuals who have a job offer from an employer in the host country. These are often subject to quotas and may require a labor market test.

  • Skilled worker visas: Aimed at professionals with specialized skills, qualifications, or experience that are in demand in the host country. Countries may have specific lists of eligible occupations.

  • Seasonal worker visas: For employment in sectors that require additional labor during certain seasons, such as agriculture, tourism, and hospitality.

  • EU Blue Card: A work and residence permit for non-EU/EEA nationals that allows highly skilled workers to live and work in any EU country (except Denmark, Ireland, and the UK), based on their job qualifications and a binding job offer or active work contract.

  • Intra-company transfer visas: For employees of multinational companies who are being transferred to a branch or subsidiary in the host country. These often apply to managers, specialists, and trainee employees.

  • Researcher and Academic Visas: For scientists, researchers, and academics taking part in research or teaching activities in the host country.

  • Artist and Entertainer Visas: For individuals in the cultural and entertainment sectors going to perform, exhibit, or engage in artistic activities.

  • Startup and Entrepreneur Visas: For individuals planning to start a business or engage in entrepreneurship in the host country. These visas often require proof of a viable business plan and financial means.

  • Freelancer and Self-Employed Visas: Designed for individuals who wish to work independently or start their freelance business. Applicants usually need to prove they have the financial resources and a client base in the host country.

Each country in Europe has its own application process, eligibility criteria, validity, costs, and required documentation for these visas, reflecting its economic needs and policy priorities. It's crucial to check the specific requirements and procedures with the embassy of the country you're interested in working in.

You can find more information on the EU government website.

Easiest European countries to obtain a work visa

Europe is known for being a difficult place for non-European citizens trying to relocate for work. Today, however, this is changing. Here is a list of Schengen countries where it is easiest for non-European citizens to obtain a work visa.


Germany, through a points system, the "Chancenkarte", allows job seekers in Germany to move to the country before they have found a job, instead of having to apply from abroad.


Denmark urgently needs workers in all kinds of sectors and is looking for professionals from other countries to help. The greatest urgency is in fields such as science and engineering, or professionals in law and healthcare, from teachers and IT specialists to electricians, blacksmiths, and metal workers.


Getting a work visa is relatively easy in Ireland. You must have already found a job before you can apply for a visa permit.

The country has two main work visas: the Critical Skills Employment Permit for highly skilled workers and the General Employment Permit.


Portugal has launched a short-term visa for workers who intend to stay in the country for up to nine months. You are also allowed to work for more than one company, as long as it is for a seasonal job.


Finland has a 14-day expedited process for highly skilled workers to enter the country, accompanied by their families. The government defines people who can benefit from this service as specialists and start-up entrepreneurs, giving them access to the country.

Are there visas for digital nomads in Europe?

Many European countries offer digital nomad visas to foreign telecommuters. These include Portugal, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Malta, Romania, Spain, and Norway.

I have more questions; who can I contact?

For more information about working visas in Europe or about iVisa, you can contact our customer service team or write to us on [WhatsApp]https://wa.link/9ng7z1).

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