< Back As a foreign resident, what is my status in your country? What kinds of visas are available? What is required to obtain these visas? Are spouses permitted and/or likely to find work? What are the main forms of identification and how does a newcomer obtain them? Are there any other important permits I must obtain, or places where I must register right away? What items should I avoid bringing into the country? Is there anything else I should know about entering and remaining in the country legally? As a foreign resident, what is my status in your country? Residents of the European Union (EU) are free to live and work within the union (except new EU member states Bulgaria and Romania). Citizens of these new EU member states still have to apply for a work permit. Citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the US are allowed to stay in Germany for three months, but are required to apply for a work and residence permit during this time. Citizens of all other countries are obliged to apply for a visa prior to entering Germany. ↑ Top What kinds of visas are available? There are only two kinds of visas in Germany: the tourist visa and the working visa. A citizen of one of the following countries does not need a visa to enter Germany and can apply for a working visa and residence permit once in Germany provided the transferee has a signed working contract or a letter of intent: Australia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Canada, New Zealand, USA. If you want to enter Germany in order to work - and are not from one of the countries mentioned above - you must apply for a working visa (Visum zur Arbeitsaufnahme ) at the German embassy in your country of residence. Please note that even EU and Swiss citizens working in Germany will have to apply for a residence permit (EU notification/Freizuegigkeitsbescheinigung). Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania (new EU member states since May 2004) are obliged, in addition, to apply for a work permit at an employment center (Agentur fuer Arbeit ). ↑ Top What is required to obtain these visas? Registration (Anmeldung) Upon arrival in Germany, you first need to register at the town hall. You must bring your passport, a signed registration form and maybe even bring along a copy of your lease contract. Registration service is free of charge. Residence + Work Permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis+ Arbeitserlaubnis ) The next step will be the Auslaenderbehoerde (foreign office) where you will have to present yourself with the following documents in order to apply for a residence permit: A copy of the town hall registration form Your passport (must be valid for at least six months) Two biometric passport pictures (according to the American standard) A completed and signed application form Issued by your employer: work contract or a letter from the employer stating your net income, job description and health insurance details (special form provided) Your CV and copy of your diploma Original marriage certificate (if you are married) A copy of the rental contract Birth certificates or children's passports (if you bring children along) Fee: EUR 100 per adult / EUR 50 per child (subject to change) At this first appointment, the applicant is requested to have his or her fingerprints taken. Since September 2011, Germany has issued electronic work and residence permit cards. These cards contain a chip on which your data and finger prints are saved. After the first appointment, your permit will be produced in Berlin; this will take 3 - 6 weeks. On your second appointment you will obtain your work and residence permit. Temporary residence permits issued by the German embassies are usually granted for three to six months. After the application has been confirmed by the respective authorities, a permanent residence permit will be granted for one year or longer, depending on nationality and other variables. ↑ Top Are spouses permitted and/or likely to find work? Because of high unemployment in Germany, it is usually very difficult for the spouse to obtain a work permit. Generally, trailing spouses are not allowed to work in Germany for the first two years after application for a residence permit. ↑ Top What are the main forms of identification and how does a newcomer obtain them? The German ID card is called a Personalausweis and only German citizens can obtain one. Foreign residents will have to identify themselves with a regular passport with a valid residence permit card. An EU citizen will hold an A4-sized paper (Freizügigkeitsbescheingung ), which is recommended to be carried with you, but as of now is not mandatory. ↑ Top Are there any other important permits I must obtain, or places where I must register right away? If you have a TV or radio at home or have a car with a built-in radio, you are asked to register with the GEZ. Some people don´t get registered, however, if you are using either one of the mentioned electronic devices and are found to not to be registered, you might incur a steep fine. Registration can be done online or by post with a form provided free of charge at many locations, including post offices and banks. ↑ Top What items should I avoid bringing into the country? As in other countries, avoid bringing any firearms, drugs or large amounts of liquor into Germany. You should also avoid bringing souvenirs made of ivory or any other rare materials, or exotic animals. Without the proper permits, these may be confiscated. Please always check the current customs information prior to traveling, as regulations might change. ↑ Top Is there anything else I should know about entering and remaining in the country legally? The German government reserves the right to prevent people from entering Germany. In addition, if you are found with an expired residence permit or work permit, you run the risk of being expelled from the country. As in other countries, if you commit a crime in Germany, you will probably be expelled. ↑ Top IMPORTANT NOTE: Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.