Entry & stay

Your arrival in Germany: file a motion for a visa, type of residence permit required

Foreign nationals are generally required to obtain a visa for stays of longer than 3 months to take up a professional activity in Germany. However, there are exceptions, including EU citizens, citizens of the EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland. The following applies to all other nationals: The national visa for a long-term stay must generally be filed with the responsible foreign representation before entering the country. 

Exception: Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America have the option of filing a motion for the required residence permit even after they have entered the country. 

Young woman is admiring the view from in a train window

Regular and accelerated visa procedure

Regular visa procedure: the procedure has no fixed deadlines, and the duration is unknown. It depends on the appointment, the processing status of the diplomatic mission abroad and the domestic authorities. 
Accelerated visa procedure: under this procedure, deadlines are set, and the estimated duration is 1 to 4 months. 
The Skilled Immigration Act offers the possibility of an accelerated skilled labour procedure for qualified skilled workers. To take advantage of this, employers - with the authorisation of the skilled worker - conclude a contract with the responsible Foreigners' Authority, which may lead to a considerable reduction in the duration of the procedure. 
You can find more information on the accelerated visa procedure here

Which residence permit do I need depending on the reason for my entry?

For your stay in Germany, it is necessary to file a motion for a residence permit after your entry, which is issued for the following purposes: 

  • for the purpose of training 
  • for the purpose of gainful employment 
  • for reasons of international law, humanitarian or political reasons
  • for the purpose of family reunification

In addition to taking up employment, there are other reasons for which a motion to obtain a visa to enter Germany may need to be filed. Special entry and employment regulations must also be observed for certain occupational groups. Read more about other types of visas that offer the prospect of a long-term stay in Germany. 
Here you will find an overview of the various reasons for entry. 

Are there special regulations for academic specialists and shortage occupations?

Yes, the EU Blue Card is a residence permit for academic professionals. The Blue Card is associated with certain benefits, such as a permanent settlement permit after a shorter period of time or the possibility of easier family reunification. 
Requirements for the EU Blue Card: 

  • German, recognised or foreign university degree that is comparable to a German one
  • A concrete job offer from a company in Germany
  • Job corresponds to qualification
  • Gross salary: at least EUR 45,300 (in 2024). A reduced minimum annual salary of at least EUR 41,041.80 (in 2024) applies to shortage occupations.

Find out more about the EU Blue Card
In addition, the accelerated skilled labour procedure in accordance with Section 81a Residence Act in Germany enables employers to shorten the administrative procedure until the foreign skilled worker enters the country in cooperation with the Foreigners' Authority. This procedure was newly introduced as part of the Skilled Labour Immigration Act. Employers may actively initiate the accelerated procedure with the responsible Foreigners' Authority in Germany by submitting a specific job offer and an authorisation from the skilled worker. However, the skilled worker still has the option of using the regular visa procedure to enter Germany. 

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