Immigration to Germany – from Visa to Gaining German Citizenship

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Germany with a population of 84 million and the fourth largest economy in the world happens to be the second most popular “immigration country” after the US. Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants from all over the world find their new home in Germany and more than 100 thousand foreign nationals living in Germany acquire German citizenship through naturalization. Today, one out of six Germans was born outside of Germany whereas one out of four persons living in Germany has at least partial foreign roots. That is, more than 22 million German inhabitants have a migratory background (i.e., they are either former immigrants or foreigners born in Germany, or they have one immigrant or foreign parent). About half of the people with a migratory background living in Germany have a German passport.

1. Purposes for Immigrating to Germany

There are millions of people, especially in the impoverished third-world countries, who dream of moving to Germany permanently. Some will manage to fulfil their dream someday but many will not. Although Germany is among the countries most open to immigration, certain criteria must be met. That is to say, the second biggest immigration destination in the world can be picky. Hence, in order to receive a residence title in Germany a person must have a strong case – unless one is a citizen of the EU/EFTA country. To assess your chances you should know who is welcome and who is less so. This list of the most common purposes for immigrating to Germany should help you with that:

  • Studying and vocational training
  • Internships and research (under the immigration category “scientist”)
  • Employment (as “skilled professional” for occupations where chronic shortages exist) and self-employment
  • Family reunification
  • Seeking political asylum

Most migrants come to Germany for study or work, or as refugees seeking political asylum while many also get there through family reunification. Germany has relaxed its immigration laws already in 2005 and then in 2020 and is going to reform its main piece of immigration law, the “Skilled Immigration Act“, again between November 2023 and June 2024 to attract highly skilled professionals from around the world to fill the gaps in its labour market. However, for unskilled labour the door has remained closed so far. An exception are the citizens of another EU or EFTA country (commonly known as the European Economic Area, which includes all EU member states plus Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland) who, though technically foreign migrants, must be treated as German citizens when buying properties, seeking employment or pursuing higher education in Germany. All other foreign nationals need a special residence title in order to stay, study or work in Germany.

So, before you start getting ready your papers and spending money on translations into German and immigration lawyers, consider whether you fall within any of the aforementioned immigration categories.

2. General Requirements for Immigration to Germany

Whether you are looking for information on immigration to Germany or only on moving to Germany for a definite period, we have you fully covered. This guide has been compiled to provide a general overview of all immigration options and necessary requirements for anybody from anywhere in the world who would like to move to Germany. You will find here basic information on all relevant topics from securing an initial entry visa and residence title to extending the residence permit and finally naturalization.

As a general rule, individuals wishing to immigrate to Germany (others than refugees and EU/EFTA citizens, i.e. EEA nationals) must have a clean criminal record, their health insurance policy must cover Germany and they must be in good financial standing to secure an initial residence title. That is, they will have to prove to the German immigration authorities that they can support themselves financially for the duration of their stay. In addition, depending on the purpose of their intended stay in Germany, candidates must demonstrate a certain level of proficiency in the German language.

3. Entering Germany

Nationals of third countries (that is non-EEA nationals) need a residence title to stay longer than three months, study or work in Germany. Many of them also need a visa to enter Germany. They will have to apply for a visa in person at the nearest German embassy or consulate. You can get all the necessary information on the type of visa, requirements and application procedures as well as contact details for the nearest consulate or embassy from the Federal Foreign Office.

3.1. Types of Visa

3.1.1. Schengen Visa and Business Visa

In general, a tourist visa or a business visa allows the holder to stay in Germany (as well as in all other countries within the Schengen Zone) for a maximum of 90 days within a six-month period. However, it does not allow the holder to take up any work during their stay. People who will be visiting Germany regularly for private or professional reasons may also apply for a multiple Schengen visa.

Nationals of some countries (e.g., Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the USA) do not need any entry visa for a visit shorter than 90 days, while they may use this time for job hunting or applying for admission to the university. If they meet certain conditions they can then apply for a corresponding residence permit while still in Germany.

3.1.2. German Study Visa

Those who wish to study in Germany will need to apply for a study visa (if already accepted to the university) or a study applicant’s visa. Visa applicants will have to demonstrate that they can support themselves financially for the duration of their stay. Once enrolled at the university, this type of visa will be converted into a residence permit for study purposes. Foreign students from non-EEA countries are allowed to work a maximum of 120 full or 240 half days a year (140 full and 280 half days from March 2024). It goes without saying that there are no such restrictions imposed on EEA citizens.

3.1.3. Visa for Vocational Training in Germany

Foreigners from third countries wishing to pursue a vocational training course in Germany may apply for a visa for the purpose of school-based training leading to acquisition of vocational qualification or for the purpose of basic and advanced in-company training, also known as dual vocational training. These permits are usually granted for training programmes where there is a shortage of suitable candidates from Germany and other EEA countries. In case of ‘school-based training’, applicants must prove they have sufficient financial resources (903 euros per month as of 2023) to support themselves for the duration of their training course which usually lasts two years. In an ‘in-company vocational training programme’ the company typically pays the trainees a salary. If it is at least 1,137 euros a month gross (i.e., 909 euros netto), it is assumed they are financially fully covered. Should it be less than 909 euros a month after tax, the applicants must prove they can cover the difference themselves (applies to 2023). However, the blocked account is in many cases not required from trainees in dual vocational training even if their gross salary is below 1,137 euros a months. Besides that, to help them finance their stay, foreign trainees from non-EEA countries are allowed to work for a maximum of 10 hours per week (20 hours per week from March 2024) in a job that is not related to their training.

3.1.4. Visa for the Recognition of Foreign Qualifications

Foreigners whose professional qualifications were not recognized as being fully equivalent to German qualifications may take part in a qualification programme in Germany that will help them acquire the skills they are lacking. Examples of such qualification programmes are company training courses or preparatory courses incl. language courses. For this, they will need to apply for a visa for the purpose of recognition of professional qualifications. Holders of this type of permit can work up to 10 hours a week (20 hours a week from March 2024) in a job not related to their course or programme.

3.1.5. Jobseeker’s Visa and Work Visa for Germany

Individuals who want to come to Germany specifically for job hunting and stay longer than 90 days may apply for a special type of visa called “jobseeker’s visa”. Jobseeker’s visa is usually granted only to graduates of institutions of higher education and vocational training programmes whose degree is recognized in Germany. This visa allows the holder to stay in Germany for six months but, just like any other visitor type of visa, it does not allow them to take up any employment except for a tryout job of a maximum of ten hours per week (20 hours per week from March 2024). Once they find a job that corresponds to their professional qualifications, they may apply for a residence permit for gainful employment or an EU Blue Card without having to leave Germany. Likewise, those highly-skilled foreign nationals from third countries who were offered a job in Germany while staying abroad (i.e., outside Germany) will need to apply for a work visa at the nearest German consulate or embassy and, once in Germany, they will be issued a residence permit for gainful employment or an EU Blue Card.

3.1.6. German Visa for Internship and Research

Young talented scientists from non EEA-countries may apply for a visa for internship or a visa for research. When approved they will be issued a corresponding residence permit after their arrival in Germany.

3.1.7. Visa for Self-Employment in Germany

Foreign freelancers and business people from third countries may apply for a visa that will allow them to conduct business on German soil. Once approved, they will be issued a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment.

3.1.8. Van Der Elst Visa

Non-EEA employees of the European firms who were relocated to Germany from another country within the EEA are entitled to a Van Der Elst visa, which will allow them to work for their company in Germany.

3.2. Types of German Residence Permits

Residence permits are handled by the alien’s office (Ausländerbehörde) and granted for a definite (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) or indefinite term (Niederlassungserlaubnis). Please note that a residence permit is not the same as a visa but in many cases a valid visa is a prerequisite to having a residence permit issued once you are in Germany. Simply put, you need a visa to enter Germany and stay for up to 90 days while a residence permit allows you to stay for longer than 90 days.

  • A limited residence permit (i.e., definite), or Aufenthaltserlaubnis in German, is issued for a specific purpose such as study, internship, vocational training, employment, self-employment or family reunification. Therefore, we speak of a residence permit for the purpose of study or for the purpose of gainful employment, etc. A limited residence permit does not automatically imply that the holder is allowed to work and depending on the type of a residence permit restrictions may apply.
  • An unlimited residence permit, also known as a settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis), is issued for indefinite term and is only granted to foreign nationals who have been living in Germany for quite some time (2-5 years, depending on the purpose of their stay). Holders have an unrestricted access to the German labour market.
  • A permanent EU residence permit is very similar to the settlement permit mentioned above and is issued under similar conditions. But, a permanent EU residence permit, as its name suggests, allows the holder to also migrate to any other EU country and get a residence permit there on privileged terms. Moreover, this title allows the holder to stay outside of the EU for up to 12 months (not just Germany) without losing it. In contrast, with the German settlement permit you cannot stay outside of Germany itself for more than 6 months.

In addition to the abovementioned three types of permits, there is a special resident permit called the EU blue card intended for foreign academics who were in Germany offered a job with an annual salary of over 43,800 euros (as of November 18th, 2023, previously 58,400 euros) and in case of the STEM graduates (natural scientists, IT & technology, engineering and mathematics) at least 39,683 euros (previously 45,552 euros). The EU blue card is a limited residence permit.

4. Studying and Vocational Training in Germany

German secondary schools and, especially, German universities are open to students from all over the world. There are plenty of opportunities for foreign students and trainees to participate in intensive language courses, secondary-school exchange programmes, school-based vocational training courses, in-company vocational training programmes, dual studies, university exchange programmes and university courses for international students as well as regular university study programmes.

The good news is that public schools and public universities in Germany typically charge no tuition fees. However, students from third countries (i.e., countries outside of the European Economic Area) need a residence permit for study purposes, whereas one of the requirements for issuing this permit is the proof of sufficient financial resources. Once finished with their studies, foreign graduates can stay in Germany for another 18 months looking for a job. Those who find a job will have their residence permit for study purposes converted into a residence permit for work. After two years of staying and working in Germany they are entitled to a permanent residence title also known as a settlement permit (upon meeting certain other conditions). For more detailed information on immigration opportunities available to foreign students please refer to the section “Study in Germany“.

Similarly to foreign university graduates, graduates of dual study programmes and those who have completed a vocational training programme in Germany are welcome to stay in the country if they are offered or find a job within 18 or 12 months, respectively from the end of their programme.

5. Employment and Self-Employment in Germany

Citizens of the EEA countries have an unrestricted access to the German job market. For other nationals, access to the German labour market is less straightforward. They need a residence permit for work and their chances of securing this permit largely depend on their qualifications and professional skills. Germany is welcoming people from all over the world to fill labour shortages in many areas. These include healthcare professionals, electrical and mechanical engineers, IT specialists, natural scientists, teachers, skilled trades workers of certain professions and some other professionals. However, the majority of humanities graduates or unskilled labourers will find it difficult to secure a residence permit for work purposes.

There are also restrictions for those citizens of third countries who would like to start their own business in Germany. When applying for a residence title at the embassy in their home country they must first submit a business plan and a financial plan for approval. Typically, an investment of at least 250,000 Euros or creating five jobs in Germany would be expected. In addition, candidates will have to prove that their products or services benefit the German economy. If successful, they will be issued a residence permit for self-employment.

For more information on employment and self-employment opportunities in Germany for foreign nationals and related requirements please refer to the section “Work in Germany“. Also, check out the Skilled Immigration Act which is undergoing a major reform between November 2023 and June 2024 aimed at attracting more foreign workers from third countries. For details on starting a business in Germany as a foreigner read this guide.

6. Family Reunification in Germany

Nationals of third countries who want to join their spouse or family member living in Germany must apply for a residence title for the purpose of family reunification at the German embassy or consulate in or nearest to their home country (they will be issued a family reunification visa by the embassy). Typically, they will be asked to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the German language. This also applies to children over 16. However, exceptions do exist. Citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the USA are exempt from this rule. Likewise, foreign spouses of EU Blue Card holders do not need to take a language exam. In addition, proof of the German language proficiency can be waived for university graduates and for spouses of highly skilled professionals, researchers and self-employed business people if they were married or lived in a registered partnership before moving to Germany. For information on examinations used to evaluate basic language skills (A1 level) for the purpose of family reunification please refer to the section “German language proficiency examinations“. Once in Germany, foreign spouses and family members will need to register with local authorities (the alien authority and the resident registration office). Then they will be entitled to take up gainful employment.

Moreover, bringing family members of EU Blue Card holders and skilled professionals from third countries to Germany should become much smoother under the new Skilled Immigration Act that will come into force in three steps between November 2023 and June 2024.

7. Political Asylum in Germany

According to statista, in the past ten years (i.e., 2013-2022), nearly 2.7 million people, most of them from the Middle East and North Africa, sought refuge in Germany. Around half of the reviewed asylum applications were approved. According to the German asylum law, foreign refugees fleeing war or political persecution in their home country (defined as religious, racial or ethnic persecution, or persecution due to other differences) can be granted asylum in Germany.

Asylum applications are submitted through refugee reception centres and handled by the Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). Once the application was received, a temporary residence permit for the duration of the asylum procedure will be issued. This residence permit does not allow asylum-seekers to work but after three months they can apply for a work permit which will give them secondary access to the labour market (that is, if no German or EEA national is available to fill a certain position). Although the BAMF seeks to reduce the processing time of asylum applications, it is still nearly half-year.

7.1. Four Forms of Protection

In general, asylum-seekers can be granted full refugee status (political asylum) or refugee protection status, they can receive subsidiary protection status or they can be granted a prohibition of deportation. Those who see their applications declined are bound to leave Germany or they may face deportation (unless they receive a temporary suspension of deportation known as “Duldung”). However, it is possible to appeal a rejection.

7.1.1. Entitlement to Political Asylum and Refugee Protection Status

Asylum-seekers who received political asylum or refugee protection status will be granted a three-year residence permit which can be changed into an unlimited settlement permit after three years. Recognized refugees thus receive full access to the German labour market and social welfare system and are entitled to privileged family reunification.

7.1.2. Subsidiary Protection

Applicants who received subsidiary protection status are granted a one-year residence permit which can be extended by another two years for as long as conditions in their home country prevent a safe return. Refugees under subsidiary protection gain unrestricted access to the German labour market and social welfare system but privileged family reunification is not permitted. After a period of five years (whereby this period also includes the waiting time for the processing of the asylum application) they can apply for a permanent settlement permit.

7.1.3. Prohibition of Deportation

Persons who were granted a prohibition of deportation may not be returned to their home country and, therefore, receive a residence permit for at least one year. This residence permit can be extended several times. It gives them the right to work but they must seek approval from the local immigration authority first. Family reunification is not permitted. Just like those with subsidiary protection, they can apply for a permanent residence permit after five years of continuously living in Germany.

7.1.4. Duldung

Applicants who received rejection of their asylum application but were temporarily exempt from deportation (this is called “Duldung” in German) can have this exemption extended repeatedly for several years and thus manage to stay in the country. However, persons suspended from deportation need approval of the local immigration authority to engage in gainful employment and only gain secondary access to the labour market. In the meantime they can complete vocational training that will improve their chances in the job market (also known as “Ausbildungsduldung”). Moreover, under the new Chancen-Aufenthaltsrecht that came into force at the end of 2022, foreigners who have had a “tolerated stay permit” (i.e., ‘Duldung’) for more than 5 years, have not committed any criminal offences in Germany, have not provided false information to the German authorities regarding their identity and are committed to the German constitution can apply for a one-time residence permit for 18 months. With this residence permit they will gain full unrestricted access to the German labour market for the duration of the permit.

8. Naturalization – Who Can Acquire German Citizenship

Although immigration to Germany as measured by the number of people who received German citizenship reached its peak at the turn of the century, still more than 100 thousand people are naturalized every year. Foreign citizens with a German parent and, under certain circumstances, German-born children of foreign parents who are residing in Germany are entitled to German citizenship. Likewise, foreign children under the age of 18 adopted by German parents automatically acquire German citizenship while spouses of German citizens can be naturalized after three years of living in Germany. In addition, foreigners who have been legally living in Germany (i.e., they must have had a residence permit) for eight years (for some applicants this can be reduced to six years) can also apply for German citizenship. However, there is a catch. Unless you are a citizen of an EEA country you will have to renounce your existing citizenship (this does not apply to those with a German parent though). Generally, foreigners applying for German citizenship must demonstrate a good command of the German language and a good knowledge of the German legal system and society, they must be able to support themselves financially and have no criminal record. For more information on naturalization visit the website of the Federal Ministry of Interior.

Helpful Resources

  • BAMF – Federal Office for Migration and Refugees
  • Make It in Germany – a joint project of the Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Federal Employment Agency. They also have a great youtube channel.
  • Auswärtiges Amt – the Federal Foreign Office

There are many doors open for those who wish to immigrate to Germany, especially if they are young and possess the right qualifications. This guide briefly covers all relevant topics related to immigration to Germany from entering Germany to gaining the German citizenship. Since most immigrants initially come to Germany to study or to work, you should also check other sections of this website. More specifically, you should read the chapters discussing opportunities for studying and working in Germany to find additional relevant information and useful contacts that will help you overcome immigration hurdles. Also, do not forget to check out the new Skilled Immigration Act for important changes that are soon coming into force. Remember, Germany is the second most immigration friendly country in the world, so your chances are good.

Immigration to Germany FAQs

Why is Germany so attractive to immigrants?

Germany is extremely attractive to immigrants because of its large and affluent economy, high personal income levels, generous social welfare system and public safety. Moreover, the country keeps its door wide open to foreign migrants because it needs them to fill the shortages in its labour market as German population is ageing and more than a million Germans retire each year.

What country do most immigrants in Germany come from?

About 1.5 million immigrants living in Germany were either born in Turkey or were born to immigrant parents from Turkey. As a result, people of Turkish descent happen to be the largest group of resident foreign nationals living in Germany.

Is Germany open to immigrants?

Yes, Germany is very much open to immigrants because it needs them. The German economy is growing but its workforce is contracting as the baby boomers are retiring. Therefore, the country needs foreigners to fill the gaps in its job market. At the moment, Germany actually is one of the most immigrant friendly countries in the world. This does not just apply to Europeans from other EU countries but to all foreigners.

Does Germany need immigrants?

Yes, Germany needs immigrants to fill the widening shortages in its labour market as the baby boomer generation of Germans goes into retirement. Moreover, Germany needs hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers, especially caregivers, to care for their elderly and sick as the population continues ageing.

How much money do I need to immigrate to Germany?

There is no CBI program (citizenship by investment) in Germany. But, even when applying for most types of visa (e.g., a visa for study purposes, jobseeker’s visa, visa for recognition of professional qualifications, etc.) you will need to show you have enough money in your bank account for your entire stay in Germany, that is, 11,208 euros per year (as of 2023).

Do EU residents need a visa for Germany?

EU residents, even if they are not citizens of any EU country, do not need a visa to travel to Germany. They can freely travel around all 27 Schengen countries just with their ID issued by authorities of one of the Schengen member states.

Do I need a visa to travel to Germany?

It depends on which country’s passport you hold. Citizens of the EU and EFTA countries do not need a visa to enter Germany. Citizens of certain other countries such as the USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, etc. can also visit Germany visa-free for up to 90 days as tourists or business people. However, citizens of most other countries need a Schengen visa that will allow them to enter Germany and stay for up to 90 days not just in Germany but in the entire Schengen zone (including 27 European countries).

Can I apply for German visa online?

No, there is no possibility to submit a visa application online. You have to apply in person at the nearest German consulate or embassy.

How long is a tourist visa for Germany?

A tourist visa for Germany (i.e., a short-term Schengen visa) is valid for 180 days from the issue date and allows you to stay in Germany and the rest of the Schengen zone (including 27 member states) for a maximum of 90 days.

Is a visa the same as a residence permit for Germany?

No, it isn’t, though there often is a connection between the two. In general, a visa is needed to enter Germany while a residence permit is required if you want to stay longer than 90 days for a certain purpose (e.g., study, employment, internship, etc.).

Can I travel to Germany with an EU residence permit?

Yes, if you are an EU resident you can travel to Germany for visits of up to 90 days long just with your ID card issued by another Schengen member state.

Can I enter Germany without a residence permit?

If you are not a citizen of a country that has a visa-free regime with Germany, you will always need a visa to enter Germany. If you just hold a tourist or a business visa, you can stay for a maximum of 90 days. A citizen of a third country (i.e., non-EU and non-EFTA) who doesn’t have visa-free entry to Germany and wishes to stay longer than 90 days needs a particular reason to stay and thus has to apply for a corresponding visa (e.g., a visa for study purposes) at the German embassy or consulate. Then they can enter Germany and convert their visa into a residence permit. An exception are citizens of third countries who do not need a tourist visa for entering Germany (e.g., citizens of the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, etc.) who can apply for a residence permit while already staying in Germany.

How long can I stay in Germany with an EU passport?

You can stay for up to 90 days without any reporting duties. All you will need is a valid passport or an ID card. However, after 90 days you will have to register with the local resident registration office in the area where you are staying just like anybody else in Germany.

Can I stay in Germany for 6 months?

Citizens of another EU or EFTA country can stay in Germany for as long as they wish, assuming that they register with the local resident registration office for stays longer than 90 days. Others, that is, citizens of third countries need a residence permit, if they wish to stay longer than 90 days, say 6 months, even those who are allowed to enter Germany visa-free. Please keep in mind that if you are a citizen of a third country and enter Germany for the purpose of tourism/visiting or doing business (no matter whether you need a Schengen visa or not), you are allowed to stay in the country as well as in any other EU country that is a member of the Schengen zone for a maximum of 90 days. Therefore, citizens of third countries wishing to stay in Germany for more than 90 days (e.g., 6 months) need a reason for their stay (e.g., study, work, self-employment, family reunification, etc.) so that they can be issued a corresponding residence permit.

Can I live in Germany with an EU passport?

Yes you can, but if you want to stay longer than 90 days you have to register with the local resident registration office like any other person living in Germany. To do that you will need a permanent address and a signature from your landlord unless you are staying in your own property in Germany.

How can I move to Germany permanently?

You cannot just move to Germany permanently unless you are a citizen of another EU or EFTA country. Citizens from third countries are initially issued a limited residence permit and can apply for an unlimited residence permit after several years of living in Germany. This depends on the purpose of their stay and can be between 2-5 years.

Can I move to Germany at the age of 40?

Yes, sure you can, there is no age limit for granting you a residence permit if you meet all other conditions. The age doesn’t matter if you are, for example, coming to work or to do an internship in Germany or joining a partner or a family member. You can even move to Germany for study at the age of 40.

Can I move to Germany without a degree?

Yes, you certainly can. Germany is open to skilled labour of all shortage professions, not just academics. For example, the German healthcare sector needs to hire hundreds of thousands of nurses and caregivers with or without a university degree.

How can I move to Germany without a job?

You can relocate to Germany without a job no matter which country you are from. However, if you are a citizen of a non EU and non EFTA country, you must have some specific reason to move to Germany such as study or vocational training. Once you have earned a degree or a vocational qualification in Germany, you greatly increase your chances of finding a job so that you can extend your residence permit in the country. Likewise, you can come as a jobseeker under the jobseeker’s visa looking for work in Germany. Moreover, there is an opportunity to come to Germany for the recognition of foreign qualifications. In that case you participate in a qualification programme such as company training or preparatory course. Having your qualifications recognized in Germany is the first important step towards finding a job in Germany that would eventually allow you to move to Germany. And lastly, you can move to Germany after marrying a German national.

What are the types of residence permits in Germany?

The three major types of residence permits in Germany are 1) a limited residence permit, 2) a settlement permit also known as an unlimited residence permit, and 3) a permanent EU residence permit which is actually closely related to 2). Sometimes, an EU Blue Card is counted as a separate type of residence permit, a derivative of a limited residence permit mentioned as 1).

How do I become a German resident?

If you are a citizen of an EU or EFTA country, you just rent a flat or find another kind of permanent accommodation and register with the resident registration office in the area where you are staying. Citizens of third countries can become German residents only if they have a specific reason, for example, if they come to study, do internship or research, work, set up a business or join their spouse or close family member. They must apply for a corresponding visa at the nearest embassy or consulate and their visa will be converted into a residence permit after their arrival in Germany. However, citizens of those third countries that have visa-free entry to Germany can apply for a residence permit directly in Germany.

What is the EU Blue Card for Germany?

The EU Blue Card is a special (limited) residence permit for foreign university graduates who were offered a job in Germany. The job must correspond to their qualifications and their annual salary must be above a certain threshold (i.e., 43,800 euros gross as of November 18th, 2023 while a reduced limit of 39,683 euros applies to the so-called STEM graduate positions).

What is the minimum salary for the EU Blue Card in Germany?

The minimum annual salary since November 18th, 2023 for obtaining the EU Blue Card in Germany is 43,800 euros but for the STEM graduates (natural sciences, computer science, technology & engineering, and mathematics) it is reduced to 39,683 euros.

How hard is the German naturalization test?

The German naturalization test is not difficult at all as more than 90% of participants pass it. It is a multiple choice test consisting of 33 questions related to the German society, legal system and general living environment while in order to pass it you need to answer 17 questions correctly.

Can refugees become citizens in Germany?

Yes they can, if they meet certain conditions and pass a naturalization test. Those conditions include living in Germany for the past 8 years (in some cases this can be reduced to 6), having no criminal record, earning enough money for living, having adequate knowledge of the German language (B1 level) and they must be committed to the German constitution.

Can EU citizens get German citizenship?

Yes they can, just like citizens of other countries provided that they meet the requirements for naturalization such as, for example, having a permanent residence in Germany for at least the last 8 years. And, unlike citizens of third countries, EU citizens are allowed to keep their former citizenship after being naturalized in Germany.

Does Germany allow dual citizenship?

Germany allows dual citizenship for example to people who have a German and a non-German parent. However, people who acquire German citizenship through naturalization are required to give up their former citizenship. An exception are citizens of another EU country who can retain their former citizenship after naturalization in Germany. Likewise, Germans who acquire citizenship of another EU country are under the German law not required to give up their German citizenship.