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Project Expat
  • Project Expat
  • May 20, 2021

3 Steps to Immigrating to Germany

Moving to Germany-An Expat Guide

First steps for immigrating to Germany

Immigrating to Germany is probably one of the biggest challenges for expats. If you plan on moving to Germany and settling there, this guide will help. You can use this guide to understand the basic information related to the biggest problems you might have to deal with when executing your decision to immigrate.

It will include fundamental information about the basic steps necessary to immigrate to Germany. First of all, everyone is welcome in this country. But unfortunately, this is Germany, which means one has to deal with some strict rules. In other words, you’ll have to overcome some roadblocks. But don’t be afraid because it can be done. Your first goal will be to get permission to immigrate and live in Germany.

In order to achieve this goal, you have different options, which are discussed below.

First, we need to talk about the conditions one must fulfil to get access to Germany in the first place. The duration of your sojourn depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are looking for student permission, it will be completely different from what you will have to fulfil if you plan to stay and work here for a longer time.

1. The German Visa System

Wanting to come to Germany is basically easy. It just depends on what you desire to achieve. There are several different application forms, which you have to fill in and prove you are willing to accept the rules. The only important point is whether you want to immigrate from a third country (almost all countries that are not EU members) or you come from a member state.

Germany has five different application forms for immigration.

  • Immigration for employment
  • Immigration for education
  • Immigration for entrepreneurs
  • Immigration for family reunification
  • German residence permit/settlement permit

One thing each applicant moving to Germany has to prove is the fact that he/she can finance the cost of living here. Even if you already got a job, you must be able to cover your expenses until you get your first salary. In addition, the German state wants to make sure each immigrant has proper health insurance. After a positive decision, it is recommended to apply for German health insurance, because some authorities do not accept foreign insurances, which is a typical German characteristic.

One interesting aspect for people who intend to stay longer in Germany is opting for the European Union Blue Card, which is really interesting. It is issued for third-country employees who have high professional qualifications and want to work in Germany. High qualifications mean that the person has a bachelor’s or diploma degree in a specific field.

To qualify for the Blue Card, you must have already found a job in Germany and meet the minimum gross salary limit of 56,400 Euros (2023) and a gross annual salary of at least €45,552 (2023) is required for employees in the fields of a mathematics, IT, natural sciences, engineering and human medicine.

But in general, almost everyone is welcome in Germany, regardless of their reasons for moving to Germany. The only important fact that needs to be remembered is if one comes from a so-called third-country. These people have to apply for a visa other than people from the EU. Below you will find different types of Visa one can apply for.

  • Business visa
  • Study visa
  • Job search visa
  • Work visa
  • Academic stay visa
  • Apprenticeship / internship visa
  • Family reunification visa

The good news is that Germany suffers from a lack of highly qualified workers like engineers, IT specialists, doctors, and all sorts of qualified specialists, which the government wants to lure to Germany. Therefore, the authorities have relaxed the formerly strict rules for immigration. So, one of the most popular options for immigrating is to find work in Germany.

2. Immigration for employment

To immigrate to Germany for employment, you must follow the steps below:

  • Find a job in Germany (in a company or organisation that’s looking for foreign skilled workers)
  • Apply for the work visa for Germany
  • Travel to Germany and then apply for the work permit

3. Residence permit for work

To get a residence permit for work in Germany, employers and employees must also provide evidence of the following:

  • There was a shortage of employees from Germany or the EU for the position.
  • The employee has the same conditions as any other German employee in terms of salary and work environment.
  • The employee meets all the requirements for training and professional experience for the vacant position.
  • The company employing the foreign employee meets all the requirements of the German authorities (registration documents and certification).

As soon as you fulfil all these requirements, it won’t be a problem to come here. And as said before, there is a lack of qualified workers in Germany.  Keep up to date with the Skilled Immigration Act here. Thus, it should not be too hard to find a company, which is willing to get through this with an enthusiastic person. But as you can see, the requirements listed above are necessary for moving to Germany and are somehow quite typical of Germany!

Now, check out how to rent a flat in Germany as an Expat.

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I think that would be a great initiative and an added value service for expats like myself.


What a great idea to set up a website for English-speaking ex-pat's in Munich to help with everyday challenges.


I am looking forward to your services in the mentioned topics in the survey.


Sounds exciting and we would definitely use it for a myriad of reasons. Particularly as we are getting ready to move to Germering and require all of these services. Specifically, sometimes it is hard finding doctors who speak English. And both Cecilia and I work with auslanders who do not speak German, either (and would as well be interested).