Germany Business Investor Residency Program

The German Business Investor Residency Program allows investors to obtain a residence permit in Germany when investing in an own or majority-owned business.

Germany’s Residency Program for business investors involves multiple government authorities focused on ascertaining the viability of the business-immigrating entrepreneurs’ plan to create. This program, and the German residence permit for self-employed persons obtained through it, offers investors the right to work for an own or co-owned company and the right to reside in Germany - along with the additional advantages one can benefit from with German residency, including the path to permanent residency and German citizenship.

The German Business Investor Residency Program is not an official residency program, as it is known from other European countries. This program uses legal possibilities, which allow entrepreneurs and investors investing in an own company in Germany to receive a German residence and work permit as a self-employed person. This legal situation of the program offers multiple advantages, including enabling us to process applications with a considerably lower investment threshold than in countries with official investor immigration programs. Alternatively, since the program is not standardized, decisions are made on an individual basis and could complicate the process.

At Citizen Lane, we have the experience to successfully take care of the negotiation process with all involved authorities. As a Swiss-German company, this program belongs to our core competencies, and we are internationally-known for our expertise in this sector. Many international immigration agents rely on our expertise in this field.

Important: During the first three years, the residence and work permit might only be issued for short terms, depending on the progress of the business and the flow of the investment itself. Usually, the first permit is only valid between 3 and 12 months; the second usually between 6 and 12 months. The validity is decided case by case. The authorities want to assure that the business is actively-running; for these reasons, a formal renewal process has been implemented. This is just a formal act. After proof of the business and confirmation of sufficient income, you should receive a permanent residence permit after those 3 years, if you are physically residing in Germany.

Legal Basis

The legal basis of an application for German residency as an entrepreneur or investor is governed by the provision of Article 21 of the German Residency Law (Aufenthaltsgesetz), which regulates the conditions for a residence permit for self-employed individuals in Germany. 

Key Facts

  • Preparation of application: 2-6 months

  • Government processing time: 3-6 months

  • Investment must be beneficial to the German economy 

  • Investments should be at least €200,000-€500,000 

  • Innovative or promising business ventures may also be successful cases with investments as low as €50,000-€250,000 

  • Permanent residence permit after 3 years 

  • Citizenship after 6-8 years

  • Visa-free entry to all Schengen countries

Benefits of German Residence Permit


Live in Germany

The right to reside in Germany, Europe’s biggest and most prosperous country.



Good public schools, with no tuition fees, will help you to kick-start your children’s education.

EU Travel

As a holder of a German residence permit you can travel visa-free through the Schengen Zone.


University Education

Send your children to world-class universities in Germany.


The path to a permanent residence permit and citizenship in Germany


Permanent Residence Permit

After three years of business, the applicant can apply for a permanent residence permit. The permanent residence permit will be issued if the company is actively and successfully running and can pay the Client a salary of at least EUR 2,000 - EUR 3,000 monthly.

German Citizenship

After eight years of residency in Germany, applicants may apply for German citizenship.

If an integration course that is approved by the ministry of migration is finished with a certificate, it can be reduced to 7 years.

With a German language certificate of B2 or higher, the time is reduced to 6 years.

Germany Business Investor Residency Program Application Requirements


Conditions that must be satisfied for the application and thereafter are as follows:

  • Business Investment 
    The main applicant must invest in an own or majority-owned business in Germany. This business must be beneficial to the German economy. In a detailed business plan, the business must be described. There is no minimum investment threshold specified in the law. Nevertheless, and depending on the industry and business case we advise to invest at least EUR 200,000 - EUR 500,000. In cases where it is aimed to invest less, the chances of approval are reduced; nevertheless, it depends on the business case and strong cases might be successful even with substantial lower investments. The creation of jobs is an advantage (although there is no requirement to employ a certain number of employees), as well as, investments in research and development, but are not mandatory.

  • Stable & Regular Income 
    The company must pay a regular salary which is high enough to cover housing and other costs of living; this shall be at least EUR 2,500 - EUR 3,000 per month. 

  • Valid Travel Documents 

  • Health and Sickness Insurance Policy
    The insurance policy must cover the main applicant and their dependants in respect of all risks according to German law. The health insurance cover must be procured by a company licensed in Germany. 

  • Pension Funds

    Entrepreneurs over the age of 44 have to provide proof of a sufficient pension or other savings to cater for their retirement age. 

  • Language skills are not required.

  • Due Diligence 
    A due diligence exercise will be undertaken on the main applicant and dependants.

Germany Business Investor Residency Program
Eligibility Criteria


All individuals who are third-country nationals (outside of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland) and can meet the requirements will be eligible for this German residency program. The rights granted through the Business Investor Residence Program can be availed by: 

  • The main applicant; 

  • The main applicant’s dependants if they chose to set up the main residence in Germany, being: 

    • The spouse of the main applicant,

    • Minor children.

The term “children” is meant to refer to the children, including adopted children, of the main applicant. The main applicant’s dependants will only receive a residence permit if they choose to set up their main residence in Germany; attending school is compulsory for minor children.

Germany Business Investor Residency Program Application Process


Creating and presenting a viable business plan is an important part of the process. Together with a dedicated industry consultant, we develop the business plan in a way that does not only fit economical and managerial aspects but will also have the highest chances of being approved by the involved authorities. Aspects such as the entrepreneur’s education and experience, investment amount, and employment targets are all considered when authorities make their decision. The authorities make their final decision based on how beneficial they deem the investor’s business for the German economy. It is necessary to employ the employees the company requires to fulfill its business operations and to invest the investment amount as outlined in the business plan. We will then discuss the business plan in detail with the investor and begin the negotiating process with the authorities in Germany, which usually takes at least several weeks but can take up to a few months.


We recommend investors attempt to create local jobs, invest at least EUR 200,000 to EUR 500,000, and learn conversational German (although not necessary). Higher investment amounts always increase the chances of a successful application, but are not the main factor in the decision-making process. Our team can help to structure the business plan in a way that gives our clients the best chances of success for the application. Even young entrepreneurs with innovative and very promising business ideas, and meticulous business plans, may successfully apply for a residence permit with investments as low as EUR 50,000 to EUR 100,000.

Once the business plan is complete, we will arrange meetings at a notary public and a bank in order to set up the company and prepare the payment of the share capital. Finally, the application will be lodged with the authorities. The investor will then receive a short term visa to enter Germany, within the validity of this visa he/she needs to register as a resident and provide proof of certain documents. The whole process is guided by a Citizen Lane relationship manager and lawyer.

After three years of residency in Germany, the investor or entrepreneur can apply for a permanent residence permit if the business can be realized successfully. This means the business must be:

  • Well-financed;

  • Has paid its taxes and social contributions to the state;

  • Provides a salary that is high enough to support the applicant and his/her family.

Moreover, the applicant needs a clean criminal background. After six to eight years of residency, one can apply for German citizenship.

As a Swiss-German firm, Citizen Lane is uniquely qualified to help entrepreneurs make their case and secure residency in Germany through this program. 


Apart from our costs, the following government and visa fees relative to the process are applicable: 

  • Notary Fees: Noraty fees must be paid for the incorporation of a company of ca. € 800 - € 1,000.

  • Visa Fee: A visa fee of € 75 (or equivalent in local currency) needs to be paid in cash.

  • Additional Fees: As we are co-operating with a selected consultant for every case, these fees are not included in our service charge. Additional fees are charged by the consultant for their work – the fees depend on several aspects such as industry, size of the business, level of seniority, etc. 


Corporate Taxes

The company will be subject to German tax on its profits. Corporate taxes are composed of a federal tax (“Körperschaftssteuer”) which is 15% and a municipal tax (“Gewerbesteuer”). The municipal tax rates depends on the location of the company and range from 0% up to ca. 15%, with an average of ca. 10% of the net profits.

Personal Taxes

If the application is successful, and the main applicant moves to Germany, he/she will be subject to income tax in Germany and has to tax his world-wide income in Germany. There is no wealth tax in Germany.

If one does not spend more than 183 days per year in Germany and has no family in Germany, one might opt to be tax resident in another country, with proof.

Our Guidance & Assistance

Through our dedicated experience in the field and building our dependable network over the years, we are confident in our abilities to successfully guide and support you through Citizenship and Residency programs.

Citizen Lane respects every client’s unique situation and will be able to discuss details in confidence. We will provide you with comprehensive advice and find the appropriate solution for you and/or your family. Visit us at our offices located in Malta, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, or contact us by phone/email/contact form. Our team is ready to arrange a WhatsApp, Skype, or Zoom call with you.

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