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    Residence Permit

    Citizens of countries that are not member states of the European Union (EU member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and also do not come from Switzerland require a residence permit to enter and stay in Germany. An exception applies to nationals of visa-free countries who are allowed to stay in Germany for three months without a visa.

    The following is a brief overview of the various residence titles available in Germany:

    • The visa entitles the holder to cross the border and to stay in Germany for a limited period of time. The visa is issued by the German embassy or consulate of the respective country. Usually, the visa is added to the passport or substitute passport.
    • The residence permit is issued for a limited period of time and for a specific purpose. It can be issued for various purposes, e.g. to take up training, gainful employment, for family reunification or for humanitarian reasons. The time limit is based on the purpose of the permit. This residence title may also include subsidiary terms in the form of conditions and requirements.
    • The EU Blue Card is a temporary residence title for highly qualified persons for the purpose of employment. In addition to a university degree, the prerequisite for the issuance of an EU Blue Card is an employment contract and a certain gross annual salary, which is adjusted annually. A lower gross salary applies to shortage occupations. Here you will find the current information on the required gross annual salary. You must apply for this residence title at the German embassy or consulate abroad before you enter Germany. The card is issued by the immigration office. 
    • The settlement permit is unlimited in time and space. It does not contain any additional conditions. This permit entitles the holder to engage in any form of gainful employment, whether employed or self-employed. As a rule, the prerequisite for obtaining a settlement permit is the holding of a residence permit for five years. Furthermore, sufficient knowledge of German is required, as well as the ability to independently secure a livelihood and the absence of previous criminal convictions.
    • The EU permanent residence permit is unlimited and can be issued to foreigners from third countries. It entitles the holder to pursue any form of employed or self-employed gainful employment and, in addition, it allows onward migration to other member states of the European Union. The requirements for issuing this permit are very similar to those for the settlement permit.

    Residence titles (with the exception of the visa) are issued in the form of an electronic residence title by the local immigration authority.

    The issuance of a residence title is linked to various requirements, which are not discussed in detail here. If you have any further questions, we will be happy to direct you to the appropriate contact person.

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