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Documents Required For Residence Permit In Germany

Any foreign national staying in Germany for a period longer than 90 days is required to hold a valid residence permit, detailing their legal right to reside in the country. This is separate to any requirement for a visa.

Total Law specialise in European immigration documents and can help advise you on the need for any visa and/or residence permit as well as guide you through the process to apply for a document of such permission. Call our team on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online to learn more.

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    Residency permits: An Introduction

    While often confused by travellers, residence permits are not the same as international visas. A visa grants the individual entry into Germany for a set purpose permission, whereas a residency permit demonstrates the individual’s legal right to reside in the country once they have arrived.

    Known as an aufenthaltstitel in German, a residence permit is required for all non-European citizens who wish to stay in Germany for over 90 days. The permit acts as their identification while in Germany and allows the holder to travel freely through the EU (European Union).

    It is a legal requirement for a foreign citizen in Germany to present a valid residence permit when challenged. Without one, the local immigration office may rule to remove the individual from the country.

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    Requirements to apply for a German residence permit

    There are several different types of residence permit, dependent on the individual’s reason for being in Germany.

    Each type holds its own specific requirements (with German immigration authorities reserving the right to request further requirements based on the applicant’s circumstances), but generally speaking, in order to get a residence permit, the following prerequisites apply:

    • The applicant must hold a valid visa as required for their nationality and purpose for residing in Germany.
    • The applicant must have visited their local citizens’ office (Bürgeramt) to attend a registration appointment (Anmeldung) and have been successfully granted a temporary citizens’ registration certificate (Anmeldebescheinigung).
    • The applicant must hold valid health insurance. In most cases, this must be German health insurance rather than a policy taken out internationally.
    • (Where the applicant is required to demonstrate their financial means) The applicant must have opened a German bank account and hold sufficient funds within it to prove there will be no reliance on state benefits.
    • (Where the applicant has no income in Germany) The applicant must have opened a German bank blocked account (Sperrkonto). This allows for a lump sum transfer and monthly withdrawals to prove there will be no reliance on state benefits.

    Applicants must attend their local immigration office to apply for and receive a residence permit and must do so in person within the first 30 days of their time in Germany. A pre-booked appointment must be made. At the date and time of the appointment, the applicant must take with them all required supporting documents as well as means to pay the residence permit fee.

    Supporting documents required for a residence permit in Germany


    During the application process for your residence permit, there are several items of supporting documentation to be provided. Immigration authorities in Germany reserve the right to request further documents dependent on an applicant’s individual circumstances, but as standard, the following are to be provided:

    • A completed application form for issuance of a residence permit (Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels).
    • A valid passport.
    • A recent biometic photograph (of passport size and standard; a frontal shot with neutral expression and plain background).
    • Any valid visa information.
    • A temporary citizens’ registration certificate (Anmeldebescheinigung).
    • Proof of a German bank account or blocked account (or, for a residence permit extension, bank statements from the last six months for this account).
    • Proof of valid health insurance (statutory health insurance is considered sufficient but for private insurance policies, minimum coverage requirements apply).
    • Proof of main residence in Germany (usually a tenancy agreement or hotel bill/reservation).

    These are the standardised supporting document requirements. Additional document requirements vary by the visa type, and therefore type of permit required. The three main class of permit are as follows:

    Employment Residence Permit: Document Requirements

    When an individual is moving to Germany to work for a specific employer, they must already have a job offer and contract in place in order to demonstrate to the Federal Employment Agency that they’re of sufficient skilled status to enter the country. The visa application process heavily involves the employer and so most of the required documents are prepared as part of this.

    As well as the documents listed above, the applicant must also provide:

    • Proof of income that matches the minimum threshold required for the visa and matches with the salary noted on the employment contract
    • Proof of employment. This is usually the employment contract itself
    • A completed employment permission form (Antrag auf Erlaubnis einer Beschäftigung)
    • A completed job description form (Stellenbeschreibung)

    In some cases, the employment contract, employment permission form and job description form will be sent to the foreigners’ office by the employer direct and the employee will just have to take income proof. However, this doesn’t always happen and so you will need to check with your employer before the permit application appointment.

    Self-Employment Residence Permit: Document Requirements

    When an individual is moving to Germany in a work capacity but they are self-employed, a freelancer, or an artist, the proof to be provided to the Federal Employment Agency differs. More information on the business itself must be supplied.

    As well as the documents from the standardised list, the applicant must also provide:

    • An up-to-date CV
    • A business financing plan including asset lists
    • A revenue forecast covering at least the next three years
    • A company profile
    • A capital requirement plan
    • A business concept – a full set of documents including the company, industry, target customers, marketing strategy, sales strategy, market forecasts and risk analysis
    • A business plan.

    Student Residence Permit: Document Requirements

    Those visiting Germany on a student visa must apply for a specific student residency permit.
    All the standardised supporting documents should be provided, as well as:

    • Proof of enrolment at the relevant educational establishment
    • Proof of a ‘secure livelihood’. This may be a bank statement of a blocked account, a notarised declaration from parents or family members offering sponsorship, a certificate of scholarship or a declaration of commitment (Verpflichtungserklärung) from a third party.
    • For most students, a blocked account or sponsorship declaration must equate to at least €9,936; but for those attending an intensive language course, the minimum amount is €10,932.

    We can help you acquire a residence permit in Germany. Speak with our team today. Contact Us

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      How long does it take to get the German residence permit?

      On average, a residency permit is issued within four weeks, although in big cities such as Berlin it can take more like five to six weeks. Processing times are, for the most part, dependent on the workload of the relevant immigration office. However, more complex applications do take longer than simple ones. The immigration officer completing the residence permit interview will be able to give an estimation of how long they think the processing period will be.

      A residence permit must always be in place for an individual to be legally resident in Germany and so it is recommended that any appointments for an extension are made at least six weeks before the expiry of any existing permit.

      Financial requirements for residence permit in Germany

      Those resident in Germany either under a valid visa or without the need for a visa (dependent on nationality, home residence and circumstances) must be able to demonstrate that they are able to sufficiently manage their finances while in the country without any reliance on state support. As such, there are two ways that an applicant may prove this:

      • For visa types that stipulate a minimum income (such as a work visa or family reunion visa), a German bank account must be opened. This can then either then have a lump sum transferred into it and/or a monthly salary paid in. Bank statements will demonstrate the balance of the account and prove whether it is considered an adequate amount based on the type of visa; OR
      • For visa types that don’t allow an income while in Germany (such as a retirement visa), a German blocked account must be opened. This bank account type allows for the transfer of a lump sum with monthly withdrawals permitted, but no credits to the account may be made. Bank statements will demonstrate the initial balance of the account and prove whether it is considered an adequate amount based on the type of visa.

      The financial requirements for visas vary widely and are often updated annually in line with the average cost of living.

      Health Insurance for residence permit in Germany

      It is a legal requirement that everyone living in Germany has sufficient health insurance. There are two types of insurance: public (GVK, gesetzliche krankenversicherung) and private (PVK, private krankenversicherung).

      Emergency medical treatment will be provided to anyone who needs it, but anything non-emergency will only be administered to those with insurance; or the individual will be personally liable to pay for care.

      Most residents of Germany have GVK, but PVK does offer a wide range of coverage.

      Employers will sign up their employees to GVK, but otherwise individuals must do so themselves.

      Coverage includes, as standard, GP care, in-patient and out-patient treatment, basic dental care, prescriptions, pregnancy care, statutory sick pay (SSP) and family health insurance. A portion of everyone’s income in Germany contributes toward GVK.

      PVK provides access to additional premium healthcare alongside further flexibility and customisation of treatment plans. However, not everyone is eligible for it. According to German law, residents must meet one of the following eligibility criteria to enrol in PVK:

      • Be self-employed or a freelancer
      • Be a civil servant
      • Earn more than €5,550 monthly
      • Be a student aged between 23-30 whose domestic insurance isn’t valid in Germany

      The costs of PVK are dependent on an applicant’s personal characteristics rather than a percentage of their salary.

      Both GVK and PVK can be combined under supplementary insurance policies, if desired.

      Applicants are free to choose whichever health insurance policy they like but given the criteria, and the fact that overseas policies are rarely accepted, it is most common to opt for GVK.

      Our legal experts are experienced in German immigration law. Let's help with your residence permit. Contact Us

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        Language requirement for residence permit in Germany

        There is no set language requirement for applicants of a residence permit, but it should be noted that the appointments for the initial registration and for the residence permit application will both be held in German. There may be separate language requirements for whichever visa the applicant needs to enter the country.

        Residence permit application fee

        The fee for application varies between residency fee types and the jurisdiction of the address within Germany. Generally speaking, however, German residency permits cost between €50-110, and up to €90 for an extension.

        Application fees are non-refundable, even in the event of a denied application.

        How to apply for a German residence permit

        Anyone who is a non-EU citizen staying in Germany for a period of over 90 days must apply for a residency permit. The application process is as follows:

        Register at the local citizens’ office

        The applicant must attend a Bürgeramt to register themselves. They will receive a Anmeldebescheinigung certificate, which will form part of the supporting documentation required at the residency permit appointment.

        Obtain German health insurance

        Sufficient coverage from a public or private German health insurance policy will need to be in place prior to application for a residence permit and so this must be arranged as soon as possible.

        Open German bank account

        Either a standard German bank account or blocked account will need to be arranged in advance to demonstrate the applicant’s financial means.

        Attend local foreigners’ office to apply for residence permit

        An advance appointment should be booked: usually as soon as possible upon arrival into Germany. A digital version of the residence permit application form can be downloaded and printed in advance ready for the interview. All supporting forms should be taken along with this form. At the interview, the application fee will also need to be paid. Not all foreigners’ offices accept cards and so the applicant may need to take cash with them.

        Await application assessment

        Depending on the office’s workload and the complexity of the case, it usually takes around four weeks to process a residency permit application but may be up to six weeks.

        Collect residence permit

        Once the applicant has been notified of their successful application, they will be issued with a PIN code by post. They must again attend the foreigners’ office with this PIN code to collect their permit.

        For bespoke guidance, enlist our specialist lawyers in the application of your German residence permit. Contact Us

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          How Can Total Law Help?

          If you’re looking to get a visa or residence permit for Germany, Total Law’s team of specialist immigration lawyers can guide you through the application process. Depending on the circumstances of your application, we can support you from start to finish throughout and can offer further help through the compilation of supporting documents, information gathering and even through appeal processes.

          Call our team today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, for a free chat with no obligation and no jargon. We’ll have you on your way to Germany in no time.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    Until 2021, residence permits were paper certificates. These have since been replaced by credit card sized ID cards which the holder should carry with them at all times.

                    In most cases, an Aufenthaltstitel will be granted the same-day as the initial appointment at the Bürgeramt.

                    While there is technically no language requirement to obtain a residence permit in Germany, it should be noted that individual visa classes hold their own requirements and that no one can obtain full German citizenship without a good level of spoken, written and read German language.