What is the process of obtaining a work permit (to work in Academia) in US and Europe? I have noticed on many job postings there is a question along the lines of "are you authorized to work in Europe" (or US).

If one is offered a position, then I assume the university arranges the work permit. But my question is focused on getting the work permit in advance to increase chances of getting an interview.

Thank you in advance.

  • 1
    In most European countries, you cannot obtain a work permit without a work offer, so you cannot really obtain this in advance. The work permit is evaluated according to the work offer you obtain, so everything depends on that.
    – Dr. Snoopy
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 18:27
  • 2
    I have worked at a German university's English department for twenty years and have hired academic personnel below professorial level: a work permit has never been a prerequisite. Actually, the university has acted as though getting the work permit was solely the applicants responsibility. It has always worked like this: person (e.g. from Africa) applied, was selected to get the contract, then approached the state's foreigners' office with the work offer to get a permit, then was given the contract. It is sometimes tedious (e.g. from African states), but has always worked in my experience. Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


In the US at least, you need a position before getting a visa.

If a posting mentions needing to be allowed to work in the US, they're probably talking about a contingency, not a prerequisite: if you fail to get a visa after being offered a position, the offer sensibly becomes void. If there is some legal reason you cannot get a visa, you shouldn't even bother applying, but otherwise it certainly isn't expected nor possible that you have prior authorization.

If a question is asked about whether you are authorized to work in a country when you apply, you should answer honestly; this is not necessarily used to deny you a job, it's likely they need to know if you don't have authorization so that they can help you get it.

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