Germany is a co-founder of the Eurozone, the largest member state of the European Union by population, and a member of the Schengen area. The country has a robust economy, rich cultural history, and high quality of life. For these reasons it makes perfect sense that the country is the second most popular migration destination in the world. 

Although Germany is a very popular migration destination, there are limited paths to migrate to Germany. This is particularly true for non-EU residents. One option for non-EU residents to become a German resident is to obtain a work permit that allows migration. This is not a simple route to relocate to Germany. It requires a valid work agreement and authorization by the Federal Employment Agency. To gain this authorization, the employing company has to prove that there were no suitable employees in all of the EU or EFTA countries to fill the job vacancy. Given Germany’s highly skilled labour force, let alone workers in the EU and EFTA countries, migrating to Germany through this route is unlikely.

Fortunately, there is an alternative path to meeting residency requirements, and this is residence through investment. Investors who invest in and own business that will have a positive economic effect on the German economy have a possible path to residency. There is a definitive, step-by-step process in this path to residency and a minimum investment threshold of 25,000 euros, which is the minimum share capital of a GmbH (LLC).

How to Obtain Residence Through Investment to Germany

Setting up a business in Germany is a step-by-step process and a great deal of paperwork has to be completed, documents provided, and filed with the relevant authorities. There is even more documentation necessary when applying for a residence permit through investment. At Citizen Lane we understand the many steps of this process and we can be your trusted immigration advisor. With the assistance of out immigration lawyers we can assist in this process.

The Basics of the Process

After paying the retainer and signing our agreement we will guide you through the process which includes drafting articles of association, naming your company, drafting an executive agreement and registering the company. The process does not stop there. As your immigration advisor the next steps we will guide you through include opening a bank account and paying in the full company capital, finding a tax advisor/accountant (a tax advisor is necessary before starting the business). We will help with the visa application for the managing director. The managing director will have to provide his credentials including proof of education. We will also help make sure you have other required documents in order, including the business plan, commercial register, employment agreement, articles of association, company profile, contracts, etc.

Logistics of the Residency Application

The application for residence permit could take up to three months. First, you will be granted a special visa that is valid for 90 days, and during that 90 days you have to get your visa converted to a temporary residence permit. The temporary residence permit is usually valid for 12-18 months, and a further extension of 12-18 months can be granted provided that the company is progressing. Your Citizen Lane immigration lawyer will assist you through this process, including the filing of an extension, if necessary. Spouses and children will also have to complete a residence application. Once a visa has been granted as your immigration advisor Citizen Lane can help you with other steps necessary for immigration, including residence entry into Germany, health insurance and setting up a personal bank account. 

The Path to Permanent Residency in Germany and Citizenship

A permanent residence permit is possible after three years if company still running and in a good financial position. In addition, the residence permit applicant must be able to prove he can pay his personal expenses. If the applicant is over 45 he most also prove that he has enough pension funds or alternative assets.

Residency can also open the path to citizenship. For a resident to become a citizen you must be a legal resident of Germany for at least 8 years. You must be able to prove that you can support your  dependents without requiring social assistance and you must have adequate German language skills. You must be of good moral character, which means having no criminal convictions. You are required to swear an oath to the German constitution, and, in many cases renounce your former citizenship.

Key Facts

Minimum investment: EUR 100,000

Preparation of application: 2-4 month

Government processing time: 3-5 months

Visa free travel: 26 countries (Schengen zone)

Factsheet Germany [PDF]

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As your personal partner for Citizenship and Residence Planning we are pleased to provide you with comprehensive advice.