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Obtaining German Permanent Residency In 4 Years

5 min read

Obtaining German Permanent Residency In 4 Years

Germany is one of Europe's largest nations. It lies in the centre of Europe, with Berlin as its capital and biggest city and a great producer of literary geniuses. Berlin has a unique history and rich culture, which you can learn about by visiting its history museums, and small towns that feel like you have stepped into medieval Europe. Just don’t forget, Germany is home to Oktoberfest, sausages, and a centre for many great thinkers, musicians, poets, writers, and many other forward thinkers.

Germany today ranks second in the world in the sectors of medical, engineering, and technology due to advancements in the technology sector. In terms of education and health care, German is distinguished by its integration of technology into its educational and medical systems, which has resulted in one of the world's most powerful systems.

Furthermore, this beautiful country is a vital European nation with a booming economy, a stable political climate, and plenty of employment and study opportunities. It features some of the world's most excellent colleges, outstanding healthcare, and unrivalled transport infrastructure, making permanent residence in the country a treasure to anyone.


Berlin Cathedral. Berliner Dom, Germany

Berlin Cathedral, Germany


Unfortunately, Germany does not have a direct residency nor citizenship by investment program. However, you can obtain residency through Section 21 of the German Residence Act.

Section 21 of the German Residence Act allows you to get German residency for "self-employment." This Residence Act enables you to bring your company ideas to Germany and capitalize on the wealthy German market. However, If you are a non-EU national, you must successfully apply for a self-employment visa before arriving in Germany.  

Your application must include the following:

  • Your company concept should address an economic interest or a geographical need.
  • The activities should have a favourable impact on the German economy.
  • The finance required to carry out the company strategy must be secured by either stock or a loan commitment.
  • A complete business plan is required to show that your company will meet the objectives above. This business plan should demonstrate that your company will employ at least five people and should be well-written since it will be rigorously scrutinized by the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Germany.
  • You must also be at least 18 years old and not have a criminal record.
  • If you are over 45, you must demonstrate that you have enough arrangements for old age (e.g. a pension plan).

Aside from that, there are no substantial restrictions on who may apply for this residence; it is available to entrepreneurs and investors worldwide. One of the advantages of the German system over other investment-based residencies is that no language skills are required.

When preparing your visa application, remember that completing it typically takes four to six months. Working with skilled legal counsel speeds up the procedure since they guarantee that the application is free of significant flaws.


Related content: Best Strategies For Getting Your Residency In Italy



There is no residency by investment program, so there is no specified minimum amount to invest when applying under Section 21 of the German Residence Act. However, it is advised that you invest at least €350,000 ($346,759 USD). Such a statistic often suggests that your company will meet the above standards.

This cost can depend on your ventures of interest, but the minimal advised investment is an average cost of what you can expect in other European Golden Visa. You should work with an experienced consultant to help you get insight into good-quality investments.


Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany


As previously said, having a solid business plan is the first stage in obtaining a Residency via Investment in Germany. If you want to spend less time in Germany but still want to make an international investment, consider investing in an ongoing regional development project while developing your business plan. The critical component of such initiatives is the development of commercial and residential properties in certain regions.

To qualify for this investment path, you must invest at least €350,000 ($346,759 USD) and keep it for at least five years or three years if your immediate family members are included in your application.

Of the minimum investment, €250,000 ($247,685 USD) is invested in off-plan commercial real estate assets, with the remaining €100,000 ($99,074 USD) going to a development project fund to pay application and service expenses.

You may anticipate substantial returns on your investment and the right to live in the property you helped develop for the duration of your temporary residency. Contrary to common misconception, you cannot just purchase real estate anywhere in Germany to qualify under the Act since qualified investments may only be made in Regional Development Projects.


Germany on a Map

Germany on a Map

After you have completed your business plan, you should ensure that it contains all specifics of your idea and explains why and how your firm will assist the German economy since your business plan will be examined for approval by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

After your business plan has been approved, you may begin applying for a self-employment visa for entrepreneurial activity at the German consulate in your home country. This visa will allow you to enter Germany and establish your business.

When you arrive in Germany, immigration officials will issue you a three-year temporary residence visa. This is good for three years and is renewable. With this temporary German residence permit, you may live and operate your business in Germany. After three years in Germany, you may apply to become a permanent resident.


Related content: Portugal Golden Visa



Unlike other residency visas you can get, Germany wants you to be fully integrated into their nation before becoming a permanent resident and citizen. Eight years after your investments in Germany, and continuous residence with proof, you may be eligible for a German passport. The German passport ranks second in power, allowing you visa-free entry into 127 countries and another 46 with a visa on arrival.


Related content: The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency.


Chemnitz, Germany

Chemnitz, Germany




Thanks to its stable economy, central position, and involvement in the EU, Germany is one of the greatest nations to invest in. It is also known as Europe's economic powerhouse. You become a part of a thriving economy when you invest in Germany.



Germany has a good standard of living for its citizens. The nation's social security system and work prospects are extensive, as are educational and hospital facilities. According to NUMBEO, Germany has the eighth-highest quality of life in the world.



When you invest in Germany, your immediate family members can also apply for residence. This includes your spouse, children under 18, or financially dependent adults.


Germany’s Forgotten History

In the 16th century and on, Germany was one of the few places where individuals’ ideals could exist; some even flourished. While most of Europe was busy persecuting “witches,” German city-states were busy nurturing thoughts that would come to be known as “The Age Of Reason” in our history. Many names, like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Immanuel Kant, are forever tied with modern philosophy. As for art influences, musicians like Mozart and Bach were given room to study and grow in Germany during the 18th century.

The German princes of that period were Europe’s black sheep of family. They often fought against the dominant European authority and promoted individual thinking. You can trace the roots of the ideas that through literature, thinking, and scientific inquiry, humans could evolve further as a species, and through independent thinking and self-criticism, individuals could improve themselves.


Devils Bridge Kromlau, Germany

Devils Bridge Kromlau, Germany


Although this is not a residency by investment, you can still obtain permanent residence after three years of living there. For the benefits Germany provides its residents, it still isn’t a long wait or a significant investment. Not to mention Germany’s cost of living is lower than some places in Europe. For example, people living in Switzerland will often travel to Germany to do food shopping as it can cut costs in half. We can’t forget that Germany is a historically rich country with many notable people coming from their colleges and universities. It is a truly great opportunity for those who have dreamed of living in Germany.


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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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