Entry into Germany and residency title
As a citizen of a foreign country, you generally require a recognised and valid pass or passport replacement and a residency title in order to enter and stay in Germany. When crossing borders, you must always have your passport or passport replacement with you.
You generally require a visa in order to enter Germany if you are not in possession of a valid residency title. You need to state in the application the subsequent purpose of your stay for which you require the visa.
For short stays (for example for tourism purposes) up to 90 days out of 180 days, citizens of certain countries are released from the visa obligation if they do not intend to take up paid employment.
As a citizen of an EU Member State, you do not generally require a visa either to enter Germany or to stay in Germany. The EU freedom of movement rules apply to you. Therefore you are entitled to freedom of movement. You can move freely in Germany and can also take up employment. You require a valid passport or passport replacement. You are subject to the same registration obligations as German citizens. The registration authority gathers the necessary documents from you concerning the right of freedom of movement and passes this on to the Foreigners' Authority. Family members of EU citizens are automatically entitled to a residency card.
Note: If you are a citizen of Turkey, you can apply for a temporary residency permit. The requirement for this is that you are entitled to residency under the EEA/Turkey Free Trade Association Treaty. You can prove your right of residency with the temporary residency permit.
Please bear in mind that you are also subject to the visa obligation when you travel to Germany for the first time.
Should you stay in Germany for more than three months as a citizen of Switzerland, you must notify the Foreigner's Authority accordingly. The Foreigners' Authority checks whether you fulfil the requirements for free movement under the Free Movement Treaty between the European Union and Switzerland. Should you fulfil the requirements, you will receive a residency permit. You will incur costs. Should you fail to provide notification of your stay, you are committing an administrative offence.
All residency titles must state whether and to what extent the carrying out of paid employment is permitted. You may only engage in paid employment as a foreigner if your residency title permits this. Should you wish to extend your residency title, you must apply for this before it expires. By extending the residency title, you prevent your forced departure and loss of your entitlement to carry out paid employment.
Note: Due to agreements between countries, laws or legal ordinances, it may be possible to engage in paid employment without a residency title too.
- Citizens of Turkey
- You can find detailed information as to whether you require a visa to enter Germany and how to apply for one in the "visa" chapter and in the attached service description.
- You can obtain a longer right of residency following arrival in Germany by the issuing and possible extension of a (temporary) residency permit or EU blue card, by the issuing of a (permanent) settlement permit or an EU permanent residency permit. You can find more information in the chapters of the enclosed service descriptions with the same names.
- List of countries with visa obligation / visa exemption when travelling to the Federal Republic of Germany - Office of Foreign Affairs
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Innenministerium released it on 14.01.2019. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.
To the procedures and services
- Application for residence permit for au pair (non-EU/EEA)
- Applying for a national visa
- Applying for an au pair visa
- Applying for an electronic residency title
- Applying for an EU blue card for skilled work
- Applying for a permanent EU residency permit
- Applying for a permanent residency permit for highly skilled persons
- Applying for a residence permit for employment purposes
- Applying for a settlement permit for graduates of German institutes of higher education
- Applying for a student visa
- Extending a residence permit for students from countries outside the EU/EEA
- Extending a residence permit issued for training purposes
- Residence permit for educational purposes - application
- Residence permit for highly qualified job seekers - application
- Residence permit for self-employment - application
- Residence permit for the purpose of research - application
- Schengen visa - application
- Settlement permit
- Subsequent entry of family members (Germans) - Residence permit application
- Subsequent entry of family members (other relatives) - applying for a residence permit
- Subsequent entry of family members (to foreign nationals) - applying for a residence permit