Germany Golden Visa: Requirements & How to Get One

iVisa | Updated on Sep 28, 2022

Even though Germany does not have an official Golden Visa program, you can still become a German citizen by investing in a business that fulfills an economic need. Through this route, upon obtaining a residency permit, you can obtain German citizenship within six to eight years. This article explains how.

For people and foreign investors, a European Golden Visa scheme can possibly offer better living standards, business opportunities, tax benefits, or a retirement plan. While Germany does not offer a Golden Visa as such, it is still possible to get a German residence permit through a German entrepreneurial visa. Continue reading below for more information about German citizenship by investment.

If you need a short-term visa for Germany, such as a Schengen visa, please use the iVisa visa checker to find out more.

What is the German Residence Act?

The only way to gain residence by investing in the German economy is by applying for a self-employment visa, also known as the Entrepreneurial Visa. This is outlined in Article 21 of the German Residence Act and enables you to become a resident, and eventually a citizen, of Germany by establishing a company or business.

While other investment schemes such as the Golden Visa Malta allow you to invest in real estate or other capital, German authorities only offer this expedited path to gain German citizenship. While most immigrants can obtain permanent residence after four to five years, you can become a permanent resident of Germany after only three years, and a citizen after just eight years through this German investment visa.

Benefits of the German Citizenship by Investment Visa

A major advantage of investing in Germany is that you will be living and working in one of the strongest economies in the world. By investing in Germany, you gain access to the EU's business market and will be enjoying visa-free travel to over 145 countries around the world.

Aside from these benefits, the German investment visa offers you and your family the following benefits:

  • German permanent residence after just three years (main applicant) or five years (family members) of residence.

  • German passport and citizenship after eight years of residence.

  • The right to live, work, and study in Germany.

  • Visa-free access to countries in the European Union and Schengen zone.

  • Bring your close family members with you.

  • Access to great healthcare, infrastructure, social benefits, and education.

In short, by investing in the application process to gain residency in Germany, you’ll gain a great quality of life in return.

How to apply for Germany residency: all requirements

The investor or main applicant for the self-employment visa must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be over 18 years old.

  • You can’t have a criminal background.

  • You should have experience in the field of business you will be operating in.

  • You can only secure the investment funds through equity capital or a loan commitment.

Minimum investment in the German economy

There is no minimum investment for this type of visa, but you must meet the following requirements in order to obtain a self-employment visa in Germany:

  • Create a comprehensive business plan to open a German business venture, outlining your goals and assessing risks.

  • The business must meet German economic interest and meet regional demands.

  • Your company must employ at least five people in Germany.

A German entrepreneurial visa does not require a minimum amount. It is, however, unofficially recommended that you invest at least EUR 360,000 in your company. You can expect your investment to meet all the German government's requirements based on this sum.

Application process for the German Residence Visa

If you are ready to open a business in Germany, the following steps are part of the application process:

  • Create a business plan: The plan must meet the investment requirements of Germany. It has to detail all aspects of the business and how it will positively impact the German economy.

  • Apply for the German self-employment visa: With the business plan approved, you can apply for the visa. This must be done at the embassy of Germany in your home country.

  • Get the German temporary residence permit: With the entrepreneurial visa you can enter Germany and apply for temporary residence with the goal of setting up a business.

  • Apply for the German settlement permit: After three years of residence in Germany you can apply to become a permanent resident.

  • Apply for German citizenship: After eight years of residence in Germany you can apply for citizenship and get your German passport. Or, if you can prove that you speak German and are fully integrated into society, you can also try to apply after six years.

The application process for the self-employment visa takes around five months.

German Residency for family members

Once you have set up a business in Germany, you and your direct family members can all apply for German visas and residency. The following family members can be included in your application:

  • Spouse or partner of the main applicant

  • Dependent children under 18 years old

  • Adult children who are dependent on you, financially or medically.

After five years, your family members are also eligible to apply for permanent residency in Germany.

Documents needed to apply for Belgium’s Golden Visa

The application for the self-employment visa requires you to submit the following information and documents:

  • Valid passport

  • Passport-size pictures (simply use the iVisa digital photo service)

  • An in-depth business plan

  • Detailed financing plan

  • Documents proving you have the necessary funds to make the investment

  • Documents proving the legal source of your funds

  • Registration confirmation with the German Trade Register

  • Diploma of your education relevant to your business idea

  • Resume including your qualifications, certificates, and references

  • Proof of residence in Germany such as a rental agreement or evidence of homeownership

  • German health insurance confirmation

  • Investors over the age of 45 must have a retirement plan (saving, pension, life insurance or other)

There will be different documents required based on your nationality, age, type of business, and whether your family will be joining you.

Costs of the German Self-employment Visa

The processing fee for a German self-employment visa costs just EUR 75, however, that is not the only thing you will have to pay. Of course, there is investment capital for your business. Successful applicants invest as much as EUR 350,000 into a business.

On top of that, you still have to pay for administration fees, legal fees, consultation fees, and other costs pertaining to opening a business in Germany.

Obtaining German citizenship or permanent residence

A German permanent residence permit can be obtained after holding a temporary residence permit for three years for the main applicant and five years for dependent family members. Upon residing in Germany for eight years, residents may apply for citizenship and a German passport.

Also bear in mind that you must give up your current nationality to become a German citizen, as dual citizenship is not allowed. Continuous residence in Germany is also required.

How to renew the German Residency Permit

A temporary residence permit will be issued by the German immigration authorities when you enter Germany. This is issued for three years and is renewable, but after three years of residing in Germany, you can also apply for permanent residency.

Ready to make the move to Germany?

The process of obtaining a German residence permit requires effort, but is definitely worth it. The German passport is one of the highest-ranking in the world and gives you many opportunities for the future. Before you decide, it’s a good idea to visit Germany to find out if the lifestyle suits your needs, but make sure to apply for your Schengen Visa.

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