Visa and Residence
There are various requirements to be fulfilled, which depend upon your country of origin, before you can travel to Germany and work here. Please be advised, a visa is absolutely necessary under German Immigration Law (apart from exemptions).
Please find below a list of commonly asked questions:
- Do I need to apply for a visa?
- What kind of visa do I require?
- Where do I apply for a visa?
- Which documents are required for a visa application?
EU citizens and citizens of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein do not need a visa to enter Germany and do not need to apply for a residence permit. However all Munich residents have to register. You can work in Germany at any time. EU-citizens from Croatia have a limited right to free movement. You are required to apply for a work permit via the Munich Foreigners Office.
For citizens of all other countries: You will require an application for a residence permit that expressly allows you to work in Germany before you enter Germany.
Exceptions: Citizens of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and Switzerland may apply for their residence permits after entering Germany without a D- visa (see question 2 below).
Please take note that all visas are not the same!
A "Tourist visa or Schengen visa" cannot be converted into a “residence permit”. Please do not enter Germany with a tourist visa. It is difficult to change the state of your visa afterwards; therefore, you may be required to leave Germany again in order to do so. If you are planning to work during your stay, you are obliged to apply for a Type D visa prior to your entry into the Federal Republic of Germany.
Your visa must be issued before entering the country; therefore, you should apply in good time. The responsible body is the German Embassy or Consulate General in your country, which can also provide you with further information on the application process.
If you are required a visa, you must apply for a visa for residence or research purposes at the German agency (embassy/consulate general) in your home country.
The following documents are usually required:
- Antrag auf Erteilung eines Visums für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Application for a visa for the Federal Republic of Germany, available at your German agency abroad or at www.auswaertiges-amt.de)
- Confirmation from LMU of intended employment, including the commensurate salary
- CV and copies of your university degree(s)
- The address where you will be staying upon arrival
- Proof of health insurance
- Valid passport and biometric picture
If your partner or other family member is accompanying you or joining you at a later date, you will additionally require:
- Proof of adequately-sized living quarters in Germany (12m² per person) in the form of a rental agreement including the size in square meters of the living quarters or an equivalent confirmation from the landlord
- Proof of health insurance
- Marriage certificate: A certified copy in German is required if you do not have an apostil (internationally legally recognized copy of your marriage certificate).
- Children's birth certificates: A certified copy in German is required if you do not have an apostil (internationally legally recognized copy of one’s birth certificate).
It is highly recommended to properly complete all documents necessary for the application process and to provide translations of all documents in a language other than German for the convenience of the administrators involved.
Once you retrieve your passport with the newly added visa, please make sure that you have been given the correct visa.
Once you have arrived in Munich, you are required to register with the local authorities. Depending on where you live, this will be the town hall (Rathaus) or, in bigger cities like Munich, the registry office (Einwohnermeldeamt or Meldestelle). Any change of address must be reported there as well.
In Munich, the Registration Office (registration of your new residence) and the Foreign Office (residence permit) are located in the same building at the Kreisverwaltungsreferat (KVR); therefore, it is possible to process both the registration and immigration steps within one day. Please note that there are different opening hours for both authorities.
- Residence Registration (Meldebescheinigung)
- Residence Permit (Aufenthaltsgenehmigung)
- Where do I register?
- Why is it necessary to register at the Citizens Bureau?
- Where do I apply for my residence permit in Munich?
- What types of residence permits are available?
- What is the purpose of the eAT-card?
- May I interrupt my residence permit?
- Do I need to deregister?top
The Residence Registration Office (Bürgerbüro) is in charge of your registration and also provides registration certificates, police clearances (DE), household certificates (DE), and notarizations for authorities.
In Germany, any person residing in a city, town or village for more than three months must register themselves within 7 days of moving into a new home.
It is then of absolute importance that you place your name on your letter box at your new residence, as your life-long tax-identification number will be sent to you by mail.
When you register, you will be asked about your church affiliation. If you are a member of the Catholic or Protestant church, you will automatically be submitted to pay German church tax.
If you happen to hold principle residency in a different city within Germany, please note that Munich claims a percentage of the annual basic rent for second home taxation.
According to Bavarian Registration Law, confirmation of your registration must be presented to your landlord.
Third country nationals and their families, Swiss nationals and nationals of countries recently admitted into the EU (e.g. Croatian nationals) must apply for their work and residence permits at the Kreisverwaltungsreferat (KVR), Amt für Ausländerangelegenheiten (Foreigners Office). The Service-Center for International Professionals or the Foreigners Office is in charge of issuing residence and work permits.
Please note that if you move to a Munich suburb, the local city hall (Rathaus) will be in charge of registration and the local district office (Landratsamt) will be in charge of issuing the relevant residence permit instead of the above mentioned authorities.
Non-German and non-EU citizens may work in Germany only if the residence permit expressly allows this.
- Aufenthaltserlaubnis (residence permit with time restriction)
- EU Blue Card (settlement permit for highly qualified persons with time restriction)
- Niederlassungserlaubnis (settlement permit that gives you the right to work without time restriction)
- Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EG (permanent residence permit that gives you the right to work within the EU without time restriction; you may request this permit after legally living in Germany and contributing to the federal pension fund for a minimum of five years)
As a highly-qualified professional (Hochqualifizierter), you have the option to apply for a Niederlassungserlaubnis, an Aufenthaltserlaubnis or EU-Blue Card; depending on the length of your stay.
The following documents are normally required to apply for a residence permit:
- Completed form Antrag auf Erteilung/Verlängerung eines Aufenthaltstitels (Application for Issuance/Extension of a Residence Permit, available on the website of the Munich Foreigners Office
- Proof of residency registration
- Valid passport
- Confirmation of employment, salary and civil servant status where applicable
- Statement from LMU concerning your unique qualification and/or special professional knowledge under the terms of article 19 of German Residency Law regarding highly qualified professionals.
- Curriculum Vitae, including a list of publications
- Proof of health insurance (letter from health insurance company or presentation of your health insurance card)
- A current biometric photo (passport size)
If your family is accompanying you, the following additional information is required:
- Marriage certificate (with apostil)
- Birth certificates of children (with apostil)
- Rental contract showing the size of the residence in square meters (12 m²/person minimum)
With the introduction of the eAT, additional provisions relating to the residence permit are no longer printed and attached to one’s passport but are stored on the eAT chip.
Your fingerprints and signature will be necessary upon application of a residence permit. If you were not required to have a visa upon entry to Germany, you will be given a Fiktion (temporary residence permit sheet mainly for your employer), as well as an Abholschein (claim ticket) with your reference number, which authorizes you to pick up your eAT-card in 4-6 weeks.
The eAufenthaltstitel was introduced in order to implement uniform EU regulations by all member states of the European Union for residence permits for third-country nationals. According to these regulations, a separate document must be issued for each foreign resident, including infants and children.
If you plan to interrupt your stay for more than 6 months, you do not neccessarily need to deregister (deregistration cancels your residence permit). You may apply for a Wiedereinreisefrist (reentry time limit) for the duration of your stay outside Germany at the local foreigners office.
Once you plan to leave Germany indefinitely, please remember to deregister at your local registration office. It is especially important for third-country-nationals if planning to apply for another visa at a later date.