Germany Golden Visa: Path to Citizenship [5 Steps]

Last Updated on 22 April 2024 by Brittany

Thereโ€™s often a misconception about whether or not the Germany golden visa exists. 

While an official Germany golden visa has not been established, there is a more unconventional way to obtain permanent residency and even citizenship in Germany. 

With Germanyโ€™s self-employed visa, you can invest in the local economy by building a business in Germany. This will put you on the path to permanent residency in Germany and eventually even citizenship if you wish. 

The self-employment visa is also referred to as an entrepreneurial visa due to its requirements for starting a business or company in Germany. 

Applicants may bring their spouses and dependents on the self-employment visa, allowing them to experience the same benefits of living in Germany. 

The application process can take four to six months, depending on where you apply and other factors. However, this time is well-spent for the reward of permanent residency or citizenship in Germany. 

In this article, weโ€™ll discuss the requirements, how to apply for the self-employment visa, and the benefits of getting permanent residency in Germany. 

Does Germany Have a Golden Visa?

No, Germany does not have an official golden visa. 

A golden visa program often allows foreigners to invest in a country in exchange for permanent residency or citizenship.ย 

Investment requirements can include real estate, donations, government bonds, or opening a business. 

In the case of Germany, there isnโ€™t an official golden visa program. However, there is another way to achieve permanent residency through investment with the self-employment visa, just like any other golden visa. 

Benefits of Permanent Residency in Germany

While a Germany golden visa program doesnโ€™t exist, third-country nationals can still move to Germany through an investment in business and obtain permanent residency. 

Besides starting a business and profiting from their efforts, there are plenty of other benefits of living in Germany as a permanent resident. 

Visa-Free Access to Schengen Area

Living as a permanent resident in Germany allows you visa-free access to the 27 countries in the Schengen Area. 

You will not have to apply for a visa for any of the countries within the Schengen Area. This is ideal for those who hold a passport that requires a tourist visa to enter the bloc. 

Family Reunification

When you apply for Germanyโ€™s self-employed visa, you can bring your spouse and dependents with you. 

Dependents must be either under the age of 18 or younger than 24 years old if they are still financially dependent while attending university. 

An applicantโ€™s family members will also qualify for permanent residency after five years of living in Germany and citizenship if they meet the requirements. 

Access to Excellent Healthcare and Education

As a resident or citizen in Germany, youโ€™ll have access to some of the best healthcare and education systems in the world. 

With a high quality of life, Germany offers an excellent opportunity to take advantage of strong social programs and care. 

Path to Citizenship

After legally living in Germany for eight years, you may apply for citizenship through naturalization. 

There are civil and language tests that you must pass in order to be granted citizenship and a German passport. 

The Germany passport is exceptionally strong, giving you visa-free access to 185 countries. Youโ€™ll also be a citizen of the EU, allowing you to travel more freely through the Schengen Area. 

Who is Eligible for the Germany Golden Visa?

There is a long list of requirements to be eligible to take advantage of the self-employment visa to get permanent residency or citizenship. 

You must meet the following requirements to be eligible:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a third-country national from outside of the EU/EEA
  • Clean criminal record
  • Solid business plan 
  • Hire at least five German citizens for your business
  • Positively impact the German economy with your business
  • Raise funds for your business through equity or loans
  • Have the necessary experience in your businessโ€™s industry

Keep in mind that the Germany golden visa requires you to start a German business, therefore, you should have already owned a business or have plenty of experience in the industry.ย 

How to Apply for Germanyโ€™s Self-Employment Visa for Permanent Residency

Applying for a self-employment visa in Germany can be a bit complicated. This is particularly due to the fact that you must have a solid business plan and financing. 

Step 1: Write a Business Plan

Before you can even start to think about the German self-employment visa application, youโ€™ll have to write a solid business plan. 

This will require a lot of market research, consideration of the local economy, and your own skills and resources. 

In your business plan, you must describe every detail and how exactly it will benefit Germanyโ€™s economy and society. 

While there is no set investment requirement for your business, a good rule of thumb is to plan to invest at least 360,000โ‚ฌ in your German business. 

Once submitted, the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry will review your business plan. 

Step 2: Apply for the Self-Employment Visa

After you have received approval for your business plan, you can submit your self-employment visa application. 

To do this, you must visit a German embassy or consulate in your country of residence. 

You must submit the following documents with your entrepreneurial visa application:

  • Copy of passport
  • Passport-size photo
  • Business plan
  • Financing plan
  • Resume/CV with work and education experience
  • Copy of your degree proving your education is relevant to the business
  • German Trade Register document of registry
  • Proof of financial resources for your business
  • Health insurance coverage in Germany
  • Address of accommodations in Germany

If you are over the age of 45, the embassy or consulate may request to see your retirement plan and funds along with life insurance policies.ย 

Step 3: Obtain Temporary Residence Permit

Once your self-employment visa has been approved, you may travel to Germany and apply for your temporary residence permit. 

This residence permit is valid for three years and is renewable if your German business is in good standing and financially successful. 

Step 4: Apply for Permanent Residency

After continually living in Germany for three years with your self-employment visa, you may apply for permanent residency. 

The benefit of having permanent residency in Germany is that your residency is more secure than a temporary residence. 

If you do not wish to apply for permanent residency, then you can renew your temporary residence permit for another three years. 

Step 5: Apply for German Citizenship Through Naturalization

After living in Germany legally for eight years, you can apply for German citizenship through naturalization. 

However, if you have successfully integrated into German society and speak the language, you can apply for citizenship in just six years.ย 

You will have to go through the citizenship process, which includes more applications, tests, and paperwork. However, in the end, youโ€™ll receive your German passport and be recognized as a citizen. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying for visas and relocating to a new country can be confusing and overwhelming, even with detailed articles like this one. So, below are answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Germany golden visa or self-employment visa. 

Does Germany have a golden visa program?

No, Germany does not have an official golden visa program. 

However, when you open a business in Germany through the self-employment visa, you can apply for permanent residency and even citizenship. 

Essentially, it is very similar to a golden visa as it requires an investment in the country and can lead to permanent residency.

Does Germanyโ€™s self-employment visa lead to citizenship?

Yes, the self-employment visa can lead to citizenship. 

After legally living in Germany for eight years, you may apply for citizenship through naturalization. 

How long does the self-employment visa process take?

It can take anywhere from four to six months to have your self-employment or entrepreneurial visa approved. 

Can I bring my family to Germany on the self-employment visa?

Yes, you may bring your family to Germany with you when applying for the self-employment visa. 

Your dependents must be younger than 18. However, if a dependent is younger than 24 years old and a university student who is still financially dependent on you, they can be included as well.

Does Germany have a strong passport?

Yes, Germanyโ€™s passport is quite strong. Along with having visa-free access to the 27 countries in the Schengen Area, it has visa-free access to 185 countries in total.ย It is one of the strongest passports in Europe.

Does Germany allow dual citizenship?

Yes, Germany allows you to have dual citizenship. 

Will I owe taxes in Germany with the self-employment visa?

Yes, you will owe taxes in Germany. Not only will you owe corporate taxes because your business is set up in Germany, but youโ€™ll also have to pay income tax as well. 

How can I get funding for my German business?

You may apply for business funding from a German bank or other entity to support your investment. 

Apply for Golden Visas Worldwide with Nomads Embassy

Are you ready to diversify and invest in a German lifestyle? 

When it comes to obtaining a Golden Visa, itโ€™s always a good idea to work with a professional immigration lawyer. Since they are familiar with the process, investment rules, and how the country operates, they can get your visa faster and conflict-free. 

Nomads Embassy is here to help you get started on your Germany Golden Visa application right away! 

We have hand-selected immigration lawyer partners in Germany waiting to get you started on your investment and claim residency in the gorgeous European country. 

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When Iโ€™m not writing and teaching people how to achieve a location-independent lifestyle, you can find me globetrotting, experiencing new cultures, and working on my amateur photography skills.
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