Residence permit

Regulations for entrepreneurs and businesspeople

Residence permit

German law now implemented a scheme allowing foreign investors to move to Germany, if they comply with certain preconditions.

There are two models of an investment in Germany giving the right to move here: The foreign investor would invest at least one million Euro into a business here and creates at least ten new jobs (1) or he presents a business plan for a convincing project, which is considerred to be an enterprise of general economic interest (2).

(1) The first possibility addresses the case that the foreign investor proves to have at least one milllion € and knows where and how to invest the money. It doesn´t matter whether he would be able to invest cash money or just have the means to finance it through banks. It is necessary though to present a plan regarding the investment itself. The investor either has to found a new company, a joint-venture or buys an already existing company. In all cases the business plan shows a sustainable concept. The investor has to have the capacity and qualification to manage the investment, due to experience or/and education. If the investor doesn´t speak German he should at least be able to communicate in English.

(2) The second option is applicable to most of the cases, serves as a kind of general rule. Here the procedure is more lengthy, because the business plan will be checked more thoroughly. But again it is important to prove

  • the expertise and qualification of the applicant,
  • the respectability of the business concept and
  • the economic prospects of the enterprise (the major concern of the German state is the fear that the applicant could be dependant on social welfare)
  • the general economic interest of the German state concerning this very business

The Procedure

The applicant submits documentation regarding his person like passport, certificates about his education, application forms as well as documentation regarding his business or the process of establishing the business (like bylaws, statutes or letter of intent, also if already possible about the registration of the company in Germany), about capital to be invested and - major issue! - the business plan.

Then the papers are being sent to the local German agency, who used to involve also those agencies that are competent to examine the project´s economic prospects, in Berlin for instance the Senate ( = Ministry) for Economic Affairs, in other regions sometimes the Chambers for Trade an Industry, but mostly also the Ministries.

The whole procedure will take about 3-6 months. It is definitely recommendable to keep in touch with the local authorities and the Consulate during this processs in order to find out whether something is missing or inadequate, whether the documentation should be improved and worked on. This is useful in order to avoid a rejection of the application due to minor mistakes of the applicant.

This article has been submitted by our legal partner Arzinger & Partners. They spezialize on all questions regarding naturalization, residence permits and and refugee status. For further information, check out their website: 

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