German immigration with answers

Visa What are the different types of visa available for a stay in Germany?

Schengen Visa “C” (< 90 days)
This short term visa allows travel in all Schengen countries. It usually precludes any employment in Germany and may be used for tourist reasons only. Limited business travel is permitted.
Schengen Visa “C” + work permit (< 90 days)
This short term visa allows travel in all Schengen countries. It allows the specific work characterized in the application.
National Entry Visa “D” (< 365 days)
This visa will be issued to enter Germany. It allows the specific work characterized in the application or may be used for family reunion. It can be exchanged for a long-term permit after arrival.
What is a visa waiver?

Germany allows certain nationals to enter the country without a visa: EU citizens may visit and work in Germany. Other nationals may only travel under the visa waiver for tourist or limited business travel.

What activities are allowed as a business visitor?

  • attend meetings and briefings (unless they are service delivery)
  • contract negotiations
  • act as CEO / CFO
  • buy goods or services
  • attend trade shows
  • intra-group trainings (max. 90days in 12months)
  • preparatory language courses
  • (de-)installation of machinery (max. 90days in 12months)
  • (de-)installation of stand-alone, non-generic software applications (max. 90days in 12months)
  • research at a registered research institution (max. 90days in 12months)
  • knowledge – transfer to non-group employees (outsourcing)
  • service delivery
  • sales agent activities

If in doubt...ask a lawyer or get a national “D” visa.

German immigration permits
Residence permit

The basic temporary permit that is issued whenever no other permit category applies. Employment may be limited.

ICT Permit (EU)

A special permit aimed to the intra company transferee. provides (limited) mobility within the EU between affiliates. Max. 3 years

Permanent residence card

Unlimited permit that allows all legal occupations.

Blue Card EU

The permit for the locally employed highly qualified employee. Employment is limited to sponsor within the first 2 years.

German immigration law – a category based system

German immigration law requires most employment migrants to have a sponsor/employer.
For the intended employment, one of the many available categories may apply:

and many more

Categories are not subject to quotas.