Immigration

How can I legally reside in Germany?

Young woman works in Germany

Foreign citizens who want to reside in Germany need to obtain a residence permit. For a short-term stay, a visa will suffice - but if you'd like to stay longer or plan to make Germany your new home, you must apply for and acquire a residence permit. Citizens of other EU states, however, are exempt from this rule, i.e. they may stay in Germany without a visa or residence permit.

Here, you will read about some options for foreign citizens to obtain longer-term right of residence in Germany.  From March 2020, new laws will come into effect. You can read more about the new legislations in the section " Various ways of obtaining a residence permit from March 2020". If you would like to apply for a residence permit under the new laws, you can start reading from the first step and start gathering required documents as you go along.

If you have fled to Germany, read the chapter "Residence Permit for Refugees", where you can find all essential information concerning right of residence for asylum seekers.

Various ways of obtaining a residence permit

Vocational Training ("Ausbildung")

Study

Job Hunting

Employment

EU Blue Card

Self-employment

Research Work

Family Reunion

Where can I apply for a visa or residence permit?

Various ways of obtaining a residence permit from March 2020

Vocational Training (“Ausbildung”)

Study

Job hunting

Searching for a vocational training programme

Measures for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications

Employment for skilled workers

EU Blue Card

Self-employment

Research Work

Family Reunion

Where can I apply for a visa or residence permit?

Important

If you are a citizen of an EU country or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland or Norway, you do not require a residence permit for vocational training, studying, working or residence in Germany.