Last modified 10/07/2023

German immigration source :

Foreign citizens from Latin America, Africa and Asia who want to immigrate to Germany legally must apply for a visa, residence permit or work permit.

Only citizens from countries in the European Union, Norway, Iceland and the Principality of Liechtenstein do not need a visa to immigrate into German territory. Citizens from Canada, the United States, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and Israel do not need to apply for any permit if they want to travel and live in Germany for a maximum of three months.

In the next lines we will provide information about application procedures for a German visa and immigrating legally to this country. We must say that existing immigration regulations are rather confusing, so we will also refer to the legal aspects of immigration.

In the first place, all foreign citizens interested in immigrating to German territory must start their visa application well beforehand, because procedures last longer than usual. Visas must be requested in the immigrant’s home country, at least six weeks before the planned travel date.

It is necessary to be very careful when choosing which visa to apply for, as residence benefits depend on the requested visa. For instance, there are tourist visa, student visa, work visa, etc.

It is worth mentioning that foreign citizens must apply for a residence permit once they are settled in German territory. This permit is granted depending on the type of visa. Thus, the reason given for applying for a German visa cannot be changed once the immigrant has arrived in Germany. If immigrants want to change their residence status, they must leave Germany and apply for a new visa.

Now then, all immigrants must submit these documents to apply for a German visa:

– Valid passport, with a blank page for the German visa.
– Application form, which varies according to the immigrant’s nationality.
– 2 passport-size photographs
– Proof that immigrants have sufficient funds to get by during their stay in Germany.
– Proof that visa applicants have a health insurance.
– Proof of the real reason for travelling to Germany, for instance: hotel bookings, round trip tickets, etc.
– If immigrants apply for a student or work visa, a letter written by the school, university or company must be presented.

When immigrants arrive into German territory, they must first register their address in the local resident registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt in German). If immigrants decide to stay in Germany for longer than three months, they must apply for a residence permit in the local foreigners’ registration office (Ausländeramt in German). If immigrants want to work in Germany, they must apply for a work authorization with the local employment office (Arbeitsamt in German).

Finally, we recommend foreign citizens immigrating to Germany not forget to take originals and copies of these documents: birth certificates, health insurance, secondary school degree or other academic degrees, international driving licenses and vaccination registries.

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