How to become a German Citizen in 2024 – All possible visa routes

If you want to learn How to become a German Citizen in 2023 , you are at the right place. Because Germany has passed the new Immigration law urging people to work and settle in Germany. That is why in this guide I will share How to become a German citizen and all the possible visa routes that you can take to come to germany.

Schengen Visa

First up you have the Visitor Visa also known as Schengen Visa. The Schengen visa is the most common visa for Europe. It enables its holder to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone. The Schengen zone has 27 Schengen member countries. There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone.

However, if you are planning to study, work, or live in Germany for more than 90 days and eventually get the German Citizenship, then you will need one of these visas.

Don’t worry I’ll share the details for all of them.

German Study Visa

First up in the Long Term visa to Germany is the Study Visa. This is probably the most common path people take towards getting the German Nationality. I took this path too mainly due to the Fact that Germany provides quality education at little to No costs compared to other countries.

You only pay a semester registration fee of between €120 to €400. The universities with higher fee also offer a semester ticket which you can use to travel a specific region near your university. The only exceptions is the province of Baden-Wurrtemburg which has a €1500 semster fee for Non-EU students.

Requirements to get Study Visa in Germany:

To get the Study visa for Germany you have to fulfil the following requirements:

  1. You have to be accepted to an officially recognised higher education institution in Germany for a Bachelors, Masters or a PhD
  2. Cover your costs of living for the duration of your studies. This can be done by way of a blocked bank account (with at least €11,208 per year as of 2023), a scholarship or sponsorship

The residence permit for study purposes can be issued for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years. If you cannot obtain your degree within this time, you can request to have your residence permit extended.

Throughout your studies, you may work 120 full days or 240 half days, in addition to performing student jobs. After successfully obtaining your degree, you can even extend your stay in Germany by applying for a job seeker visa.

Related Guide: Move to Germany without a Job

The German Vocational Training Visa

Germany has a very interesting concept of vocational training or “Ausbildung” in German language.

Vocational training in Germany is standardized and prepares trainees for a profession. Depending on the training occupation, an apprenticeship usually lasts two to three and a half years. Many people start an apprenticeship right after school with 10 to 12 years of education.  But students can also join later, for example after a stay abroad or when they have dropped out of university.

Requirements To get the Ausbildung Visa in Germany

To get the Ausbildung visa you need:

  1. You need to provide proof of being accepted to a school-based or company-based training programme in Germany
  2. You possess the requisite language skills required for the qualified vocational training. In general, a minimum level of B1 is Required. In accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is required.
  3. You must be able to cover your costs of living for the entire duration of your stay. In general, this means that you must provide evidence of having at least €903.00 per month (as of 2023) at your disposal.

If you plan on taking part in a school-based training programme, you can provide evidence of being able to cover your living costs by opening a blocked account or a sponsorship letter. In case you plan on taking part in a company-based training programme, you will receive a training salary, which is also considered as evidence. 

If your training salary is not sufficient, you are allowed to compensate the difference by showing that you are in possession of either a blocked account or a sponsorship letter.

After finishing vocational training, there is usually a final test. If you pass the test, you will receive a vocational certificate. This certificate makes you eligible to work in a Specific profession and get a Work Permit based on your job.

How to Get Visa for Research in Germany

If you have a PhD degree and want to conduct research in Germany, then this visa is probably for you. The Research Visa is issued for at least one year and with this visa

  • you can work at the research institute listed in your work contract or you can take on a teaching position.
  • and You can also conduct research and teach for a limited period of time in other EU states (with the exception of the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark).

To apply for Research Visa

You need a hosting agreement or a work contract with a research institute in Germany.

The research institute would need to cover your living and travel costs back to your country of origin. This commitment applies for up to 6 months after the research position has ended. This clause is not applicable if your research position is primarily funded by public funds.

After four years on research visa, you can receive a settlement permit in Germany. If your research position has ended earlier than 4 years, you have up to nine months to find another position in Germany. This job must be in line with your qualifications.

Skilled Professional Visa in Germany

Another starting path to become a German Citizen is with the Visa for Skilled professionals

People who have completed higher education  or qualified vocational training outside Germany can apply for this visa. This type of visa is issued for the purpose of obtaining qualified employment for a maximum of four years. If a work contract has a shorter duration, the visa is issued for the duration of the contract.

Requirements To apply for Skilled Professional Visa in Germany

In order to apply for the Skilled Professional Visa in Germany

  1. Your qualifications must be either recognised in Germany or comparable to those from a German higher education institution. If you are seeking employment in a regulated profession, like. health professions, a professional practice permit is required. The requirements vary for each regulated profession.
  2. If you already have an actual job offer from an employer in Germany. It is important to ensure that your recognised qualifications enable you to perform the job for which you are being hired.
  3. For people who Are over 45 years old and coming to Germany for the first time for employment purposes. Their gross annual salary must be at least €48,180 (as of 2023), or you must provide proof of adequate old age pension provisions.

A visa or a residence permit for the purpose of obtaining qualified employment is issued for a maximum of four years. If a work contract has a shorter duration, a residence permit shall be issued for the duration of the contract. After four years on this visa you may be allowed to optain a permanent settlement permit.

If you haven’t found the right fit for yourself, don’t worry I have some more paths to German citizenship.

Job Seekers Visa in Germany

This visa is Quite interesting, if you are finding it difficult to find a job in Germany from your home country. You can apply for this visa and search for a job while being in Germany. This visa is provided for a period of 6 months if you are applying for it from outside germany and in case of students who have finished their education from Germany are given a period of 18months on this visa.

How to Apply for German Job Seekers Visa

To apply for German Job Seekers visa

  1. You must provide proof of vocational or academic training.
  2. Your qualifications are recognised in Germany or are equivalent to a German degree or diploma.
  3. If you are seeking employment in a regulated profession, for example in healthcare, a professional practice permit is mandatory.
  4. If you Have completed vocational training you must provide proof of possessing the German language skills required for the job you are seeking. Generally speaking, a minimum level of B1 is required.
  5. You also have to prove that you can cover your costs of living. This proof can be provided in the form of a blocked bank account or a sponsorship letter.

A well crafted Resume can definitely help land a job in Germany. If you are interested in learning more, you can read my detailed guide CV for Internationals in Germany.

German Visa for self employment

With a visa for self-employment, you can realise your start-up project in Germany. And Depending on whether you are planning on setting up a business or working as a freelancer, different conditions may apply.

Requirements for Self Employment Visa in Germany

If you want to set up a Business in Germany

  • There needs to be an economic interest in or a regional demand for your product or service.
  • It is foreseeable that your company will have a positive effect on the economy.
  • You are able to finance the implementation of your business concept with your own capital or through a loan commitment.
  • And If you are older than 45 years of age, this visa can only be issued if you can provide proof of adequate old age pension provisions.

If you want to work as a freelancer

  • You can provide proof of sufficient funds to finance your projects.
  • You must not be getting more than 80% of your projects from a single Client
  • You have obtained any licences required to perform the job in question.
  • And If you are older than 45 years of age, you must provide proof of adequate old age pension provisions.

A visa for self-employment is initially issued for up to three years. If your business idea is successful and you are able to cover the costs of living for yourself and your family, the visa can be converted into Permanent Residence.

How to Become German Citizen with Family Reunion Visa

In case you are married to a German citizen or a Foreigner living in Germany, you have the right to Family Reunion. This is a dependent visa meaning that it is bound with the Spouse living in germany. So as long as the spouse has legal right to stay in Germany you can live in Germany on this Family Reunion visa.

One great thing about this visa is that there are no restrictions on the type of work you can do on it. There is no restriction on the job being relevant to your education. You can work as a freelancer or even start your own business with is absolutely brilliant.

There is one catch with this visa though. This visa is initially for a 1 year period in which you will need to do the German Integration course. If you are not able to do this course you need to give a valid reason otherwise your visa will not be extended.

How to Get German Blue Card

If you have a recognized university degree, you can get a Blue Card in Germany. The EU Blue Card is issued for the duration of your work contract, including three additional months, and is limited to a four-year period.

Extending the validity of the EU Blue Card is an option, if certain requirements are fulfilled. On the blue card your are only allowed to work for the company that is mentioned on your card for a period of 2 years. If you change your job before these 2 years you must inform the authorities.

Changing jobs before 2 years can cause many problems so please stay with your employer for this time if you do not want to deal with additional Germany beurocracy.

How to To apply for the Blue card in Germany

To apply for the German Blue Card

  1. You must have a German degree, a recognised foreign higher education degree or you have a foreign higher education degree that is comparable to a German one.
  2. You must have a concrete job offer from a company in Germany.
  3. The position must be appropriate for someone with your qualifications .
  4. In case you already have a job offer in Germany it must pay you 58,400 euros before taxes per year. For physicians, engineers, natural scientists, mathematicians and IT-specialists, a yearly salary of 45,552 euros is sufficient

The new Immigration Law in Germany has reduced this minimum salary amount but This law has not been fully implemented yet and will take between 6 to 12 months to be taken into effect.

The great thing about the blue card is that After 33 months, holders of the EU Blue Card may obtain a settlement permit. In some cases, a settlement permit can already be issued after 21 months. For this, you need to be able to provide proof of the required language skills at a minimum level of B1.

Permanent Residence in Germany : The Final Step to German Citizenship

Finally we’ve made it to the Niederlasungserlaubnis this is what we’ve all been working towards In most cases you can get a settlement permit or Niederlasungserlaubnis within 5 years. A settlement permit can open many doors. 

You can live with your family members in Germany without any restrictions. Moreover, you can obtain employment or become self-employed. You have almost all the rights as a German citizen expect the right to vote.

But we can’t stop here; the next step is German Citizenship.

How to become a German Citizen in 2023

Currently, you need to have lived legally in Germany for 8 years before you can apply for German Citizenship. When you apply, you must have a job and not be in the probation period. The time you spent as a student counts towards the 8 years, but you cannot apply for citizenship while you are still a student.

If you came to Germany on a family reunion visa, you can apply for German citizenship after living in Germany for 3 years if your spouse is German, or 4 years if you apply for German citizenship along with your spouse who have been living in Germany for 8 years

That said The German government has approved a new immigration law that will reduce the time period for citizenship to 5 years, and in special cases, you may even be able to apply after 3 years. Additionally, you can now have dual citizenship in Germany, which I have explained in detail.

Disclaimer: None of the content in this article is meant to be considered as investment advice, as I am not a financial expert and am only sharing my experience with stock investing. The information is based on my own research and is only accurate at the time of posting this article but may not be accurate at the time you are reading it.

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