Whereas EU citizens do not require a visa either for entry or for longer-term residence for working purposes in the Federal Republic of Germany, a general visa requirement does apply to many foreign nationals. The visa must be applied for, prior to entry, at a German embassy or German consulate within the respective country. Once obtained, a visa entitles the holder to enter the country and remain in Germany for the specified period, usually up to a maximum of 90 days within a 12-month-period. Travellers may also apply for multiple-entry visas for several years (fi ve years maximum). Such visa usually do not allow the person to work in Germany.
Any non-EU citizen who wishes to remain in Germany for longer than 90 days must possess a valid residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel). Depending on the purpose of the stay, there are different types of residence permits which are governed in the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz, AufenthG) as well as supplementary ordinances. Residence permits can be granted for the following purposes:
Apart from the settlement permit, all residence permits are issued for a limited period of time. The application for a residence permit must be submitted to the local aliens’ authority (Ausländeramt) in the district in which the employment is to be taken up. It is advisable to submit the application approximately three months before arriving in Germany.