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Relocate from US to Germany

Relocate from US to Germany

American citizens can relocate to Germany as long as they meet the legal requirements for this purpose. Since the United States of America (USA) is considered to be a third party country, as it is not included in any of the larger structures in which Germany is included (such as the European Union), American citizens will have to complete certain formalities, depending on the purpose of their stay in this country.

Americans moving to Germany for a short-term basis or for a long-term basis will have to verify the conditions applicable to each of these two options, as there are different visas and documents that should be obtained. Considering this, we invite you to obtain information on such procedures from our immigration lawyer in Germany. We can help you apply for a residence permit in Germany in case you want to immigrate to Germany from US.

Do American citizens need a visa for Germany?

The visa requirements applicable to American citizens can vary based on specific matters. For example, the USA is one of the countries that is included on the list of third jurisdictions exempted from the visa requirement. This applies to visas issued for both short-term stays (of less than 90 days) and long-term stays (of more than 90 days).

 Quick Facts  
  Visa requirements for
US nationals
American citizens do not need entry or Schengen visas to enter Germany 

Special conditions applicable (YES/NO)

No, there are no special conditions for American citizens relocating to Germany

Relocation options

Employment visas, investor visas, temporary and permanent residency are available for those who relocate from USA to Germany
Temporary residence options

Temporary residence permits are required for those who intend to stay in Germany for more than 90 days

Permanent residence requirements American citizens must live in Germany for 5 continuous years to qualify for permanent residency
Access to investor/citizenship
by investment visa
YES, investor visa and self-employment visa are available 
Timeframe for obtaining a residence permit (approx.)

It takes around 2 or 3 weeks to obtain a residence permit

 Family reunification visa availability (YES/NO) YES, family reunification is available for those who want to immigrate to Germany from USA
Investment visa requirements Minimum investment of EUR 250,000 is required to move to Germany as an American investor
Special permanent
residence programs


Citizenship requirements Citizenship can be acquired after 3 years through marriage and 8 years through naturalization
Possibility to acquire real estate (YES/NO) YES, it is possible to acquire and own properties
in Germany
Germany-USA double tax treaty (YES/NO) YES, Germany and USA signed their first agreement
in 1989
Immigration services (YES/NO) YES, we offer all immigration services available for American citizens, from assistance in applying for work permits, to permanent residency and citizenship
Post-immigration support (YES/NO) YES, you can rely on our immigration lawyers in Germany for guidance in renewing residence cards and registering with the relevant authorities

Americans immigrating to Germany for a short period of time, which can be related to work, education, training and so on can thus, arrive in this country without a Schengen visa (issued for a period of maximum 90 days) as long as they have a US passport and they are considered American citizens. However, it must be noted that persons who are residents of the USA and who are of other nationalities may need to apply for a Schengen visa if they intend to come here for various reasons.

In the case of those who are interested in Germany migration for a period longer than 90 days, the visa exemption is still applicable. However, in this particular case, the person has to apply for a residence permit in Germany, a document which gives an immigrant the right to lawfully immigrate in Germany. Our immigration lawyer in Germany can assist with more details on the procedure related to the issuance of the permit. They will also advise on German citizenship applications.

We are at the service of people interested in moving to Germany from Canada.

If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen, make sure you enter Germany with the appropriate visa if you must. A tourist or business visa does not permit the application for a German residence permit not even under a visa issued for a short visit. To be qualified, your application must have the proper visa. Contact our lawyers if you need assistance.

What documents should Americans present when entering the Schengen Area?

American citizens who are considering relocation to Germany for a short-term basis or a long-term must know that when arriving in this country, they are entitled to visit any of the countries that are part of the Schengen area. Even though American citizens do not need a visa, they still have to present specific documents to the local authorities.

Thus, they should have the following: a valid US passport, evidence regarding the purpose of their visit (this means that the foreigner has to present specific documents that present the reasons for which why they have arrived here – traveling, studies, etc.) and documents attesting the fact that the person has sufficient financial means to live in Germany or in other Schengen countries for the given period of time.

Please mind that all these documents have to be presented upon immigrating to Germany and the lack of sufficient proof can lead to rejection of entering the German territory. Provided that the person was rejected, then he or she must return to the USA and apply for a Schengen visa, following the standard application procedure. The Schengen visa can be used to obtain a residence permit in Germany.

Investors who wish to immigrate to Germany from US and know more about the German investment visa and the documents that are required in this case can reach out to our specialists for information. We have also created an infographic on this topic:

Types of residence permits available when relocating to Germany from USA

Here are the main options for American citizens immigrating to Germany and seeking to obtain residency:

  • study residence visas;
  • employment-based residence permits;
  • family reunion visas;
  • self-employment residence permits;
  • EU Blue Cards;
  • intra-company transfer visas.

Based on your qualifications, you can discuss any of these options with our immigration lawyer in Germany who will be able to help you.

What is the simplest way to immigrate to Germany from US?

The easiest way to immigrate to Germany from the United States is as a skilled worker. You must meet the requirements for a work visa, which include having a job offer from a German employer and expertise in one of the in-demand professions. If you are a freelancer, you must demonstrate that there is a need for your services in Germany before a visa may be issued.

There are several professions that are in demand in Germany, and among them are those related to the IT sector. It is a well-known fact that America is one of the most renowned destinations in the world when it comes to talented IT specialists.

If you want to move to Germany from the US and secure a residence permit this way, you can rely on our immigration lawyers.

Getting a D visa as a US national

The D visa is a German residence permit that can be obtained by certain nationalities only. Among them are Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, and Americans. The visa must contain information on whether the holder is allowed to work in Germany or not. However, American citizens will usually obtain this type of permit quite easy.  It is often issued for 3 months but may be extended to 12 months. The approval of the immigration authorities is required before a national visa may be issued.

After the entrance, a German residency permit will be granted based on the D visa. The permit is also valid for brief stays in other Schengen nations in addition to staying in and working in Germany.

Our German immigration lawyer is at your service if you want to relocate here and obtain a work and residence permit.

Easy way to obtain a work visa for Germany as an American

Usually, a German work visa is required for non-EU nationals who want to relocate and work there. There is also a number of nations whose citizens do not need to get a visa in order to work in Germany. Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the United States of America, and South Korea are the countries whose citizens can apply for residence visa when they arrive in Germany without having to start the process back home. The only need for entry is a passport.

The following conditions need to be fulfilled when applying for a work visa:

  • the applicant must have an actual offer of employment;
  • he or she must also have the necessary qualifications for the job.

If you decide to relocate to Germany from USA based on a work visa, our lawyer can help you draft the necessary paperwork.

Getting permanent residency in Germany

You are eligible to apply for the settled resident status after spending at least 4 years in Germany. Your right to permanently reside in Germany will be granted by the German residency or settlement permit.

The main advantages of obtaining permanent residency here are:

  • there are no renewal requirements for this document;
  • you will be able to change occupations without needing to get a work visa anymore.

 In addition, you will also be allowed to apply for German citizenship without giving up your American passport after 8 years of living here as a permanent resident.

Here is also our video:

How many Americans have German citizenship?

Numerous persons who are interested in relocating to Germany will want to live here on a permanent basis. If they do so, they will have the right to apply for a permanent residence permit, which can be granted after living in this country for a period of 5 years. After 5 additional years, they are entitled to apply for the Germany citizenship. This also applies to American citizens. With regard to this subject, the following data is available, as presented by the German Federal Statistical Office:

• in 2016, 1,086 American citizens obtained their German citizenship;
• this marked an increase of 33% compared to the number of Americans who applied for German citizenship in 2015;
• 2016 was a record year for this matter since 2000, and a large part of the American citizens applied for German citizenship as they had German lineage;
• 79% of the Americans who have obtained German citizenship did not live in Germany at the level of 2016;
• 55% of the persons who obtained the German citizenship had to renounce to their American citizenship.

We can help you apply for citizenship if you want to move here permanently. Obtaining German citizenship through naturalization implies that you have met the requirements established by the German government and are eligible to do so. This means that you must have lived here for sufficient time to qualify for a German passport. You can rely on our immigration lawyers in Germany for guidance in applying for citizenship.

American citizens must know that if they are interested in moving to Germany for a long-term basis they can apply for a residence permit (at first, the temporary residence permit can be required) after their arrival in the country. We invite you to contact our immigration lawyer in Germany for additional information on how to immigrate to Germany from US.