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Do I need a visa to move to Germany?

Moving to Germany is an exciting prospect, but understanding the visa requirements is crucial. Whether you need a visa depends on your nationality and the purpose of your stay. Here is a detailed guide to help you navigate this process.

Citizens of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you do not need a visa to enter or live in Germany. You can live, work and study in Germany without special permits. However, you must register your residence at the local Bürgeramt (citizens’ registration office) within 14 days of moving.

Citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan and South Korea

Citizens of these countries can enter Germany without a visa for stays of up to 90 days. For longer stays, work or study, they must apply for a residence permit at the local Ausländerbehörde (immigration office) upon arrival.

Citizens of Brazil, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, El Salvador and Honduras

Citizens of these countries can also enter Germany without a visa for stays of up to 90 days. However, for longer stays, such as for work or study, they must apply for a residence permit upon arrival. It is advisable to check the specific requirements for your situation before traveling.

Citizens of other countries

If you are a citizen of a country not mentioned above, you will usually need a visa to enter Germany. The type of visa you need depends on the length of your stay:

  • Schengen Visa (Short Stay): For stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period, suitable for tourism, business trips or short visits.
  • National Visa (Long Stay): For stays of more than 90 days, including visas for work, study, family reunion and other long-term purposes.

Types of National Visas

  1. Work Visa: For those with a job offer in Germany.
  2. Job Search Visa: Allows a six-month stay to look for a job.
  3. Student Visa: For those accepted at a German educational institution.
  4. Family Reunion Visa: For family members of individuals legally residing in Germany.
  5. Freelancer visa: For self-employed people and freelancers.

Application process

  1. Determine the Type of Visa: Based on the purpose of your stay.
  2. Gather the necessary documents: Usually includes valid passport, proof of financial stability, health insurance and proof of accommodation.
  3. Make an appointment: At the German consulate or embassy in your home country.
  4. Submit Your Application: Go to the appointment and hand in your documents, being prepared for an interview.
  5. Wait for Approval: Processing times vary, so apply early.

Additional Tips

  • Register on arrival: Register your address with your local Bürgeramt within 14 days.
  • Health Insurance: Make sure you have adequate health insurance cover, which is compulsory in Germany.
  • Language Skills: Learning German can significantly ease your transition and integration.


Understanding whether you need a visa to move to Germany and navigating the application process can seem challenging, but with the right information and preparation, it can be manageable. Start the process early and gather all the necessary documentation to ensure a smooth move. For more detailed information, please contact the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs or your nearest German embassy or consulate.

Moving to Germany can be a rewarding experience, offering rich cultural experiences and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Good luck with your move and count on us to help you plan it!


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