Ways to immigrate to Germany: EU Blue Card, labor, student, investment, business, humanitarian, family union, political asylum, Pros and cons of immigration to Germany
Does Germany need immigrants?
Germany is a country with an open immigration policy. The state encourages immigration due to a lack of workers and low birth rates. In addition, the immigration policy is influenced by the historical past: returnees are welcomed back and immigration of Jews from the post-Soviet space is encouraged. Today, more than 12 million people that live in Germany were born outside the country — Germany takes second place by the number of immigrants right after the United States.
Reasons to immigrate to Germany
Visa-free access. It is not surprising that a German passport is one of the most desirable. Germans have visa-free access to 189 countries, which include all EU countries, the USA and Australia.
High salaries. Germany has one of the highest salaries in the EU. The average monthly salary is about 3,999 USD.
Multicultural society. Many immigrants live in Germany, and this may ease the adaptation — a foreigner will not feel alienated in a multicultural society.
Great medicine. So much so that Germany is one of the world centers of medical tourism.
Geographical proximity to other countries. Living in Germany means living in the heart of Europe. The rest of the European countries are close at hand.
Low levels of corruption. Germany is one of the least corrupt countries in the world. And although the Germans have not yet been able to eradicate corruption completely, compared to other states, Germany has achieved fantastic results.
Reasons to not immigrate to Germany
Dual citizenship is prohibited. Therefore, upon obtaining German citizenship, you will have to terminate the citizenship of your native country.
High taxes. Germany has a progressive tax scale, and the tax depending on income is up to 45%. With an average salary of about 3,999 USD the amount of tax is already approaching the maximum possible. There is a chance that a good and sought-after specialist will be able to earn that kind of money at home, without giving up almost half of the salary.
Bureaucracy. The process of immigration to Germany is associated with a large number of bureaucratic procedures. This can be felt as soon as the stage of collecting documents for an entry visa.
Long stay for citizenship. In addition to the need to perfectly know the language and structure of the country, before obtaining citizenship, in most cases, you need to live in the country for eight years.
In order to immigrate to Germany, it is necessary to brace yourself for bureaucratic red tape: the candidate will need to collect more than a dozen documents, the processing and translation of which may take even more time than applying for the visa itself. On the other hand, moving to Germany is relatively inexpensive due to the geographical proximity of the state (if we speak about Europe) and reasonable visa fees. In addition, candidates who have correctly collected all the documents without any problems receive permission to move to Germany. The most important thing is to carefully study all the requirements for the desired type of immigration and prepare for it in advance without unnecessary anxiety and haste.
University studies, preparatory courses, vocational education
High qualification with an invitation, science and research work, doctors, artists by invitation, opening a business, Freiberufler (a special form of freelancing in Germany), finding a job, advanced training and subsequent employment
From 1 month
Fiancé(e) of a citizen or resident
Spouse, a close relative
German roots, Jews and ancestors of Jews affected by the persecution
Refugees and people seeking protection
Main stages of immigration
Choose a method of immigration;
Obtain a D visa for the chosen immigration method;
Enter Germany to apply for a residence permit;
Acquire citizenship after living for 3 years in Germany.
Please note that citizens of EU/EEA member states, Switzerland and some other countries are exempt from the German long-stay visa requirement. They usually apply for a residence permit right after their entry to Germany without a visa. Check the complete list of exemptions on the Federal Foreign Office website.
Documents for various stages of immigration
Reason for obtaining
Entry for registration of residence permit / Blue card
To obtain a D visa, you must collect the required documents and personally submit them to the German Consulate. Processing an application for a visa will take from a week to several months — depending on the method of immigration, after which it will be possible to pick up a passport with a visa.
Apostille on all originals of documents of civil status, except issued by the German registry office;
Notarized translation into German for all documents that are not in German (including apostilles), except for passports and insurance;
Two copies of all originals and translations;
Documents must be retained for further stages of immigration.
Please check with the German Embassy in your home country for an updated list of documents requirements for each type of visa.
Student immigration to Germany
You can immigrate to Germany through education if you enroll in a university or vocational school and get a student visa, and after graduation, you can get a job and stay in Germany. Obvious arguments for this method of immigration are a low cost of higher education and the absence of German language requirements if the training program is in English. A student visa can be obtained not only by those who already have an invitation from the educational institution but also by applicants who have just submitted application documents or take foundation courses in Germany — the main goal is to show that a future student has money to live before and after admission, as well as the ability to pay tuition. If the university is ready to accept the candidate, and the candidate has enough evidence of funds, then he will receive a visa and a residence permit without any issues when he arrives in Germany.
120 days full-time (40 hours a week) or 240 days part-time (20 hours a week);
Work as an assistant on campus without restrictions;
Mandatory practice/internship as part of the exam preparation;
Voluntary practice, which is not included in the curriculum (90 days a year or with the permission of the Labor Department).
EU/EEA nationals are allowed to work for a maximum of 20 hours a week during term time (including volunteering).
Labor immigration to Germany
To immigrate to Germany as an employee, it is necessary not only to find a job in advance and receive an official invitation from the future employer, but also to confirm your degree and/or work experience. When this is done, you can apply for a work visa. It will allow you to enter the country and give the right to obtain a residence permit or a Blue card.
Types of labor immigration
Up to 4 years
Businessmen, Freiberufler (German freelancers), scientists and researchers, artists
How to confirm your degree
The process of confirming higher education and qualifications:
Find your university in the ANABIN database. It must be accredited (have the status of H+), and the specialty or degree must be on the list for this university. This means that the education received in it corresponds to the one in Germany;
If specialty/higher education institution is not listed in the database, or are treated as category "meets/comparable", educational certificates of such institutions must be validated. This can be done at the Central Office for Foreign Education (Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen, ZAB). This information can be found on the official website. The cost is about 210 USD. A diploma from an accredited university may also require a validation — details must be checked with official representatives of the department.
Documents for confirmation of higher education
A CV in tabular form (education and work experience) in German;
Diplomas / certificates with a notarized translation into German;
Skilled university graduates who have found an employer in Germany can enter the country on a work visa and receive a blue EU card. The blue card is an analog of a residence permit, but with better conditions: it is valid for 4 years, allows you to stay outside Germany and the EU for up to 12 months, and obtaining it does not require the knowledge of German. With these cards, the European Union attracts the best professionals, providing them with good living conditions. Registration of a blue card takes about 6 weeks after applying. The card gives the right to work and social guarantees.
Collect documents (original + translation + 2 copies) for D visa;
Apply for a D visa in person at the German Consulate;
Obtain a visa within 1-2 months;
Enter Germany and register a residence permit.
Requirements for international personnel exchanges within the company or for those who enter as contractors may slightly vary.
Entry for job search or recognition of qualifications with subsequent employment
Visa D can also be obtained for a job search in Germany. All requirements for documents for labor migration are preserved, but you do not need to have a confirmation of the employment. Instead, you need to confirm the availability of funds for the duration of the job search — in this case, a visa will be issued for six months. Sometimes employment is possible only after recognition or advanced training in Germany. In this case, in addition to the contract with the future employer, documents about the planned training must be attached.
How to increase the chances of obtaining a visa for work
Attach a full set of documents. Lack of even one of them will cause denial;
Add letters of recommendation from previous places of study and work.
Business immigration and Freiberufler in Germany
Does Germany need entrepreneurs?
Immigration of entrepreneurs and investors is important for Australia, as well as for many other countries: foreign entrepreneurs and investors provide capital inflows, create jobs, and fill up the shortages of goods and services in the market. Before immigration, the businessman must analyze the local market, negotiate with potential partners, states and territories, if necessary, present a business plan. In other words, the host state must believe in the economic success of the future enterprise.
Business immigration to Germany involves two types of activity. The first is entrepreneurship, and the second is private business when a highly qualified professional works for himself. In German law, he is called a Freiberufler, or a freelancer. This is not just any freelancer though — the Freiberufler is a certified specialist, registered legally. He is not considered an entrepreneur and does not pay entrepreneurial tax, although he can hire assistants. Such professions include consultants, educators, translators, writers, psychologists, nutritionists, lawyers, dentists, and some others.
Is it easy for a businessman to immigrate to Germany?
It may seem that immigration through business is a very simple way because to open a company you can have only 1 USD in the authorized capital, and a Freiberufler is completely exempt from such a requirement and taxes. However, everything is not so simple: the amount of the authorized capital is taken into account and matters when deciding whether to issue a visa to a future businessman, and the future free employee must prove his professionalism. After the candidate has prepared his business project or documents on professional qualifications, he can apply for a visa. If it is approved, it will only be necessary to enter the country and apply for a residence permit.
Requirements for obtaining a visa for business;
Share capital depending on the type of the company (from 1 USD for UG company and from 26,199 USD for GmbH company);
Conducting preliminary procedures for starting a business: creating constituent documents, drawing up a business plan, etc.
Requirements for obtaining a visa for Freiberufler
Confirmed professional qualifications;
Documents for a visa for business and liberal professions
This is the easiest way to immigrate to Germany that does not require language skills, education or professional experience. For marriage immigration, you need to get a special visa for the fiance — such a visa is needed to enter the country and marry a citizen or resident of the country. After that, you can easily get a permanent residence in Germany after 3 years of consecutive stay. The disadvantage of this type of immigration is a large number of bureaucratic obstacles that prevent the arrangement of a fictitious marriage. If the migration service discovers that the marriage is fictitious, then the fraudster is extradited from the country. Same-sex marriage is also legal in Germany.
Requirements for a marriage visa
18+ years old;
Lack of registered or civil marriage;
Lack of family ties with the future spouse;
Compliance with the conditions of marriage law in their country;
Knowledge of German of at least level A1;
The date of marriage must be set before obtaining a visa.
When it is unnecessary to confirm German proficiency
According to the rules of the German Federal Foreign Office, a certificate can be omitted in a number of exceptional cases, such as:
Candidate’s language proficiency is obvious and can be checked at an interview for a visa;
The candidate has a German child;
The spouse has a blue card;
A candidate is married to a German citizen who has lived in another EU state for a long time;
A candidate married to a German citizen tried to master German, but failed to do so (confirmation of training within 1 year and convincing reasons for the situation are required);
If the candidate’s spouse is a citizen of Australia, Canada, Israel, the USA, South Korea, Andorra, Monaco or San Marino;
If the candidate or (future) spouse are citizens of one of the EU countries;
It is not possible to confirm language proficiency due to illness;
The candidate does not intend to stay in Germany for a long period of time;
The marriage was already concluded at the time of the spouse's moving to Germany as a refugee, professional, scientific worker, etc.
Two copies from the passport of the current marital status page;
Marriage ability certificate (Ehefähigkeitszeugnis);
Certificate from the German registry office about filing an application with the date of marriage (can be submitted by the time you get a visa, but no later);
Certificate from the German registry office about the existence of all prerequisites for marriage, if the application to the registry office has not been filed at the time of applying for a visa;
All certificates of civil status, if at the time of filing there is not a single certificate from the German registry office;
Certificate of knowledge of the German language (from A1);
All certificates from the registry office and the court on the conclusion/dissolution of marriage/death (if the marriage is not the first);
The application of the bride/groom made in Germany on the adoption of obligations on expenses and planned residence in Germany, may be in an official form — a partner in Germany receives it at the Foreign Office closest to the current address;
2 copies of a passport or identity card of a partner from Germany;
2 copies of a certificate of registration at the partner's place of residence not older than 6 months
The process of immigration with a visa for marriage
Affix an apostille on all documents of civil status and provide a notarized translation of all documents (including Apostille) into German;
Submit the documents to the German registry office and obtain a marriage certificate, or
Obtain a certificate in the same office proving the presence of all the prerequisites for marriage, or
Confirm marriage ability;
Collect the documents for D visa (original + translation + 2 copies);
Apply for a D visa in person at the German Consulate;
Wait for an examination of visa application D which takes up to 1 month;
Submit the documents to the German registry office (if not filed yet);
Obtain a D visa for entry and marriage;
Enter Germany, marry and obtain a residence permit on the basis of marriage;
It is possible to obtain permanent residence or citizenship after three years of living with a residence permit.
Family reunification in Germany
Сlose relatives of a German citizen or resident (these are spouses, minor children and parents) have the right to immigrate. Relatives who require medical care in Germany can also go there. To immigrate to a loved one, you need to prove family ties with him with the help of birth certificates, marriage certificates and other documents in accordance with the case circumstances. After applying for a visa and entering the country, the candidate receives a residence permit.
2 copies of the marital status passport page with a stamp with an apostille;
Certificates from the registry office and the court on the conclusion/dissolution of marriage/death, if the marriage is not the first;
2 copies of the partner’s identity card from Germany;
2 copies of a certificate of registration of a partner at the place of residence not older than 6 months;
A free-form invitation for cohabitation from a partner from Germany;
A free-form statement on the taking of expenses for the moving person;
Certificate of knowledge of the German language (from A1).
How to increase the chances of obtaining a visa for marriage and family
Attach a full set of documents. Lack of even one of them will cause failure;
Attach the maximum possible number of documents proving future cohabitation.
Humanitarian immigration to Germany
People who cannot stay in their own country due to persecution or humanitarian disaster can receive asylum in Germany. In this case, the candidate must provide evidence that will convince the immigration service to give him protection. To obtain asylum, you must arrive in Germany with any visa and apply to the refugee reception center. Arriving illegally and applying for help at the border will get you a temporary housing for the duration of the proceedings. They are also given food, personal hygiene products, clothing, free medical care and pocket money. In addition to evidence of persecution, like with any other method of crossing the border, you must have your identification documents that the immigrant has managed to take with him: passport, driver's license, birth certificate.
Who can count on asylum in Germany?
Asylum in Germany can be granted to people who are persecuted in their home country on the grounds of:
Membership in a social group (including sexual minorities);
Those who fled from their country because of a humanitarian catastrophe — war, famine, genocide and massive violations of human rights can also count on protection.
How to prove the fact of the persecution
It is necessary to provide as much evidence of the persecution as possible:
Inquiries from medical institutions;
Received letters with threats;
Evidence of engagement with human rights organizations.
It must be reported if the refugee was subjected to torture, serious bodily harm was inflicted, or there is a threat of his death penalty at home due to persecution based on the indicated signs.
The process of obtaining asylum
Appeal to the border officers, the police, the migration service or directly to one of the refugee reception centers;
When applying for a visa for the purpose of entry and obtaining a residence permit or permanent residence, the candidate has the right to take with him close family members — spouse and children. In this case, you need to apply for a visa for each family member. Sometimes a German language proficiency test is required not only from the main candidate but also from members of his family — this requirement depends on the method of immigration. All family members must apply and be present when receiving a visa in person.
Obtaining German citizenship
German passport gives the immigrant political rights and the possibility of visa-free entry to most countries of the world, however, to obtain it, you will need to renounce your previous citizenship. Since work rights and social guarantees can be used with a residence permit, permanent residence and the Blue Card, obtaining citizenship is not always a vital step for an immigrant.
Requirements for obtaining citizenship
German proficiency (at least B1);
EU blue card, or
A visa not obtained for study/internship/volunteering, or
A residence permit, or
An unlimited EU residence permit;
Knowledge of the social structure of Germany;
Stay in Germany for 8 or 6–7 years upon successful completion of integration course and certificate B2, or 3 years in marriage immigration;
Be self-sufficient and have funds to support yourself and family members;
Lack of criminal record;
Recognition of the values of a free democratic public order.
Documents for obtaining citizenship;
Current identity card (residence permit, permanent residence);