Temporary Residence Permit Germany

Foreign nationals wishing to live, work and study in Germany for more than three months can apply for temporary residence permits, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.

For more details about how you can obtain a temporary residence permit in Germany, whether you meet the eligibility requirements, what supporting documents you will need to submit, and to receive bespoke immigration advice, call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or send a message online.

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    Overview of a Temporary Residence Permit in Germany

    A temporary residence permit in Germany allows a non-EEA/non-Swiss foreign national to live, work and study in the country lawfully for more than 90 days. There are different pathways to obtain a German temporary residence permit, such as through work, study, or family reunification.

    Alternatively, you may take the investment route to residency in Germany, or retire in the country. In addition, non-EEA/non-Swiss foreign nationals may also apply for a German temporary residence permit for humanitarian or political reasons.

    The rules and procedures for obtaining a temporary residence permit in Germany are complex in nature. Moreover, the eligibility requirements and supporting documents vary depending on which route you take to apply for a temporary residence permit in the country.

    It is, therefore, advisable to consult an immigration lawyer when you plan to apply for a temporary residence permit in Germany for yourself, and also your family members (if any). Dial +44 (0)333 305 9375 today to speak with one of our expert immigration advisers.

    If you fulfil all stipulated terms and conditions, you will be issued with a temporary residence permit by German immigration authorities. These are usually valid for one to three years, renewable thereafter provided you continue meeting the original terms and conditions.

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    Benefits of a Temporary Residence Permit in Germany

    The temporary residence permit in Germany comes with several benefits, such as access to the country’s high-quality education and healthcare infrastructure, legal and justice system, social security benefits (e.g. unemployment benefits in case you lose your job), and access to the domestic job market (or local workforce in case of foreign entrepreneurs).

    As a temporary resident in Germany, you can enter and exit the country freely, and bring your eligible family members to the country under the family reunification principles. It may also pave your way to permanent residency in Germany and eventually to German citizenship by naturalisation, provided you fulfil the eligibility criteria.

    Temporary resident permit holders may apply for permanent residency after lawfully living and working in Germany for a certain period of time, which will vary depending on their work permit types.

    After living and working in Germany for eight consecutive years on a permanent residence permit, you may also be eligible for applying for German citizenship.

    Routes to Obtain a German Temporary Residence Permit

    There are many pathways to obtain a temporary residence permit in Germany, the requirements for which will vary depending on your chosen route. In this section, we have discussed the various options along with their respective eligibility criteria.

    Residence Permit Through Working in Germany

    A non-EEA/non-Swiss foreign national wishing to work in Germany for more than 90 days, may be eligible to apply for a temporary resident permit for work purposes, provided they already have a valid employment offer from an employer in Germany and fulfil other related terms and conditions.

    A resident permit for work purposes is valid as long as your employment contract is valid. It can also be renewed as long as your situation remains the same, i.e. you stay in the same job.

    Qualified overseas professionals may also be eligible to apply for an EU Blue Card. It is a special residence title for foreign nationals with a university degree or comparable tertiary-level qualifications, or those in IT professions, who are seeking to take up qualified employment in Germany.

    Residence Permit Through Studying in Germany

    Foreign nationals who have either been accepted by state-recognised universities or higher educational institutions in Germany, or have enrolled in full-time language courses, vocational training or internships, may be eligible to apply for a temporary residence permit for study purposes, if the duration of their course is more than 90 days.

    They must also have sufficient financial means to cover their stay and tuition fees in Germany.

    A temporary residence permit for study purposes is usually valid for two years, and can be renewed thereafter if your course duration is longer than two years. It will also allow you to work in Germany for a maximum of 120 days (or 240 half days) per year.

    Your time spent in Germany on a temporary residence permit for study purposes will not be counted while calculating your duration of stay in the country for permanent residency purposes.

    Jobseeker Residence Permit

    International students may extend their temporary residence permit for a maximum of another 18 months after completing their courses/training in Germany. Such permits are issued to foreign students to enable them to seek employment related to their academic qualification achieved in the country.

    After having received a valid employment offer in Germany, a foreign national student can change their temporary residence permit for study purposes into a work permit for qualified professionals or obtain an EU Blue Card, where applicable.

    German Residence Permit Through Family Reunification

    Eligible family members of a German citizen, an EU citizen or a German resident may join them in Germany under the family reunification principles.

    EEA or Swiss family members of EU citizens can move to Germany without any permit, and can live, work or study in the country without any restrictions. However, non-EEA/non-Swiss family members of an EU citizen residing in Germany will need to apply for a family reunification residence permit.

    Third-country foreign nationals who are holding resident status in Germany may also be eligible to bring their spouses/civil partners and minor children to the country via the family reunification route, provided they fulfil the specified terms and conditions.

    Your spouse/civil partner will be able to lawfully work in Germany without any restrictions once their residence status is granted.

    German Residence Permit by Investment

    Although Germany does not have a Golden Visa programme in the same sense as that of Portugal, Spain or Greece, foreign entrepreneurs or freelancers may be eligible to apply for a self-employment visa to travel to Germany, and then apply for a temporary residence permit upon their arrival.

    Different conditions will apply based on whether you are a foreign entrepreneur seeking to set up your own business in Germany, or a freelancer to be engaged in in one of the recognised liberal professions in the country.

    A temporary residence permit in the above scenarios is issued for up to three years initially, and can then be renewed as long as your business/profession is making profits and you are able to cover the living costs for yourself and your family members in Germany.

    If you are setting up a business in Germany, you may be able to apply for permanent residency in the country after three years, provided you meet the other relevant conditions.

    Retiring in Germany

    Germany does not have a retirement visa. However, if you have sufficient financial means to support yourself and your family members (if any) in Germany, and will not have to rely on any employment opportunity in the country to make a living, you can apply for a temporary resident permit.

    You must also have health insurance covering you and your family members in Germany. After residing in the country for at least five consecutive years, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent EU Residence Permit.

    German Residence Permit for Humanitarian Reasons

    Foreign nationals may also be able to apply for temporary resident permits in Germany, if they are:

    • Entitled to asylum in the country
    • Eligible for refugee status or subsidiary protection status
    • Victims of human trafficking or a criminal offence, or
    • In need of residence in Germany on urgent humanitarian, political or personal grounds

    On this type of residence permit, you will have access to the German social security benefits, such as social welfare, child benefits, integration allowances and other such assistance. You will also be allowed to work in Germany if you have an asylum status or a refugee status.

    For help navigating the legalities of German temporary residence visa, speak with our team today. Contact Us

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      Application Process for a Temporary Residence Permit in Germany

      The application procedure for a temporary residence permit in Germany varies depending on your chosen pathway to obtain the same, e.g. work, study, investment etc. We have provided here a general outline of the application process.

      Visa-exempt country nationals can enter Germany without a visa, and stay there for a maximum of three months, within which timeframe they must begin the application process for their temporary resident permits.

      However, foreign nationals from visa-required countries for Germany will have to apply for a long-stay national visa in the local German embassies or consulates in their countries of residence, to travel to Germany. Please note that you cannot enter Germany on short-term visas, e.g. a tourist visa or a business visa, if you are going to apply for a temporary residence permit.

      After arriving in Germany, you will have to register your address in Germany with the local foreigners’ office. You will also have to get health insurance and open a bank account in the country.

      The health insurance must be valid for the entire duration of your proposed stay in the country. The bank account will be required to prove that you have sufficient financial means to cover your stay in Germany.

      Next, you will have to fill in the specific application form, depending on the type of residence permit you are going to apply for, and arrange for all supporting documents relevant to your chosen route.

      Once you have completed the application form and arranged for all required documents, please book an appointment with your local foreigners’ office in Germany. On the date of your appointment, you will have to attend an interview with an immigration officer, submit your application form and supporting documents, and pay the processing fees.

      Required Documents for a German Temporary Residence Permit

      The supporting documents you must submit will vary depending on the type of your permit. Please get in touch with your local foreigners’ office in Germany for a complete list of documents depending on your circumstances.

      The supporting documentation usually includes:

      • A valid passport
      • One passport photo
      • Completed and signed temporary resident permit application form
      • Certificate of registration of your Germany address
      • Certificate of no criminal record in your country of residence/origin
      • Proof of health insurance in Germany
      • Proof of sufficient financial means or a blocked bank account in Germany (for students or unemployed applicants)
      • Specific documents to prove the purpose of your stay in Germany, such as:
        • Employment contract for work purposes
        • Approved business plan for foreign investors
        • Marriage certificate for spouse or birth certificates for minor children, if applying via family reunification route
        • Acceptance letter from a German educational institution for students
        • Proof of a pension plan for retirees etc.

      Processing Time

      A temporary residence permit in Germany usually takes 2-4 weeks to be processed, from the date of your interview. During the waiting period, your stay in Germany will be covered by a certificate stating that you are applying for a residence permit in the country.

      To avoid any unnecessary delay in processing, please ensure you have filled up the relevant application form completely and correctly, and have duly submitted all supporting documents required in your case.

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        Fees for Temporary Residence Permit

        The non-refundable processing fee for your temporary residence permit in Germany will vary depending on the type of permit you are applying for.

        For temporary residence permits valid for up to one year, the processing fee is €50. If the permit is valid for more than a year, the processing fee will be €80.

        A EU Blue Card processing, on the other hand, will cost you €100.

        What If My Application Has Been Refused?

        Your local foreigners’ office will inform you in writing in case your German temporary residence permit application has been rejected, outlining the reasons for such rejection. In most cases, the rejection occurs when an applicant fails to provide necessary supporting documents along with their permit application.

        The letter will also advise you on the next steps, including how you can lodge an appeal against the rejection decision, where applicable.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        Applying for a temporary residence permit in Germany is a difficult and complex process, given that the eligibility criteria, required documents and even the application procedure vary depending on your personal immigration circumstances.

        It is, therefore, advisable to seek legal help before you apply for a temporary residence permit in Germany, to increase the chances of approval.

        Total Law can help.

        Our team of sympathetic immigration advisers have the required expertise and legal knowledge to assist you, regardless of your situation or the complexity of your case.

        If you are seeking overall advice with your temporary residence permit application or you would like an immigration expert to complete your application on your behalf, we are happy to help.

        Our legal team also offers document and application checking services, in case you just need a final check to confirm that your documents and application adhere to German immigration rules.

        To discuss further about how we can help you, do reach out to us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or send a message online, to speak to one of our immigration lawyers.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  No. To apply for citizenship in Germany by naturalisation, you will have to live in Germany as a permanent resident for at least eight consecutive years, among other eligibility conditions.

                  So, if you wish to obtain German citizenship eventually via the naturalisation pathway, you will first have to obtain a permanent residence permit in the country.

                  No. EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, who wish to stay and work or study in Germany for more than 90 days, will not require to obtain a residence permit. However, they must register their address in Germany with their local foreigners’ office within 90 days of their arrival in the country.

                  You will be allowed to work in Germany on a temporary residence permit only if that is clearly mentioned on your permit.