How to migrate to Germany

To migrate to Germany, you can find a job in Germany, or you can also study in Germany. If you have a relative in Germany, they can also help you.

Most immigrant visas require the applicant to be sponsored by a German citizen, a German permanent resident, or a German employer.

Migrate to Germany? As a member of the Schengen region, Germany is one of a number of nations that have done away with border checks for passports and immigration.

No one’s papers will need to be checked at the borders when going to or from Schengen areas, but the Immigration Police may ask to see paperwork at any time during a trip.

All websites linked in this article are in English. Use Google Translate or any other translation app if you need to.

Migrate to Germany

If you wish to migrate and live in Germany, you can stay in the country for a long time. But the way you move might be different based on where you’re from.

If you are from the EU/EEA or Switzerland and want to live in Germany forever, you don’t need a long-stay visa (D visa). They can instead ask for a registration certificate.

People who are not from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland need a type of D visa (long-stay visa) and a temporary residence pass in order to stay in Germany for more than three months.

In accordance with the law:

According to Article 1 of the EU Free Movement Act (FreizügG/EU),

According to Article 2 of the Free Movement Act/EU,

Article 12 of the EU Free Movement Act (EEA member states).

Reference to Switzerland’s Article 28 of the Residence Act.

Moving to Germany as an EU citizen

Citizens of a European Union Member State, an EEA country, or Switzerland can move freely within the EEA. Coming to Germany and staying here is possible at any time.

With a legal ID card or passport, you can stay in Germany for up to three months. It’s not necessary to meet any other standards. Absolutely no visa is needed.

You can stay in Germany for over three months if:

  • Employed, self-employed, in training or studying.
  • Job-seeking.
  • Self-sufficient with health insurance.
  • Lawfully resident for five years with a permanent right of residence.

Germany allows free movement for your family, including non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals. Spouses, children under 21, and any family you may assist are included. Visa requirements for family members differ; see “Entry regulations”. Special section on family reunion.

Quick-Check, a Visa service.

Moving to Germany as a Non-EU Citizen

You’ll need a national visa (D Visa) if you want to migrate to Germany from a non-EU country for a long time. This visa lets you work, study, visit family, and stay in Germany for other extended periods.

Ethnic German resettlers from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union may instantly become German citizens under different laws. Germany also has special laws for Jewish immigration.

Australian, Israeli, Japanese, Canadian, South Korean, New Zealand, UK, and US citizens may visit Germany without a visa but require a work permit. If they aim to work directly in Germany, they may apply for a work visa locally or before arrival.

Check the Foreigners’ Authority directly.

Germany D visa

To stay in Germany for more than three months, you need to get a “Long stay visa,” which is also called a “D-Visa”:

Here are the German visa types:

  • Study Visa: For attending a course at a German university.
  • Family Reunion Visa: For family members of German residents.
  • Employment Visa: For those with a job offer in Germany.
  • Job Seeker Visa: For job seekers in Germany.
  • Visa for Guest Scientists & Researchers: For invited scientists or researchers.

How to apply

From the country where you need a visa to enter Germany, you will need to apply for a visa and a stay permit before you get there. You can also apply for a residence pass once you are in Germany, or you can do it before you come.

Start with Visa Navigator.

As soon as you intend a long-term stay in Germany, start your application. Visa applications might take months. Application preparation involves three steps:

First Step:

Fill out the application.

Second step:

Use the following checklists to gather the necessary paperwork for your German stay. All are PDF files.


Blue Card

Employing skilled professionals


Au Pair

Volunteering, job search, vocational training.

Family reunion

Third step:

Make an appointment online.

Jewish immigrants

Germany has specific rules for Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, including information on general requirements and special provisions for National Socialist persecution victims.

Requirements for Jewish immigrants:

  • Be from a former Soviet Union successor state (excluding Baltic states) or have been stateless there since at least January 1, 2005 (excluding Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania).
  • Have Jewish nationality or ancestry with exclusive Jewish beliefs.
  • Speak German at A1 level (CEFR).
  • Demonstrate self-sufficiency for permanent residence.
  • Show potential for active participation in a German Jewish community.

German Residence Permits

There are different kinds of German Residence Permits based on your reason for wanting to live in Germany and how long you plan to stay. It is very important that you pick the right kind of residence pass. What you need to do to apply, what papers you need, and how much you have to pay all depend on the type of pass you want.

Types of resident permits

The following types of residence passes are available in Germany:

  • Germany Temporary Residence Permit.
  • Germany Permanent Settlement Permit.
  • Germany ICT Card.
  • Germany Mobile ICT Card.
  • Germany EU Blue Card.
  • Germany EU long-term residence permit.

Source: Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash.


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