All information about the visa

Apply for a visa in your home country

The regulations on entry and residence in the Federal Republic of Germany differ depending on the country of origin of the person entering the country. In general, a distinction is made between citizens of EU or EEA states and citizens of other states. You should enquire about the entry formalities applicable to you in good time at the German diplomatic mission or at our representative office in your home country.

Provisions under aliens law

Citizens of EU and EEA countries only need a valid identity card or passport to enter the Federal Republic of Germany. They enjoy unrestricted freedom of movement in the Federal Republic of Germany and are equal to German citizens in many aspects of residence and labour law.

Citizens from non-EU/EEA countries generally require a visa in addition to a valid passport to enter the Federal Republic of Germany. Only for nationals of selected countries is a short stay of a maximum of three months per six-month period possible without a visa. You can use this time in Germany to prepare for setting up a business or an investment project. For example, you can conduct negotiations and conclude contracts.

Alternatively, you can apply for a so-called business visa, which can also be issued for repeated entry and exit for a total stay of 90 days per six-month period. With a visa of this type, foreign nationals can also engage in other business contacts and activities in addition to preparatory activities for setting up a business or company.

Visa application

If you are a national of a country that is not a member of the EU or the EEA and are planning to stay in Germany for more than three months every six months or are planning to work in Germany, you will generally require a visa. This must be applied for and issued before you enter the Federal Republic of Germany. You can apply for a visa at the German diplomatic representation (embassy or consulate general) in your home country. You can also request an overview of German diplomatic missions abroad with a list of addresses from the Federal Foreign Office.

To ensure that the examination procedure can be completed before the planned date of employment, the visa application should be submitted in good time. The processing time takes an average of 3 months and also depends on the completeness of the documents submitted.


The German diplomatic mission in the home country decides on the granting of the visa. Once you have entered the Federal Republic of Germany, the immigration offices of the district administration are responsible for all further matters relating to residence law. This could be, for example, the issuing of a residence permit.

Whether and for how long a residence title can be issued depends on whether there is a limit to the duration of the residence title in the respective legal regulations. On the other hand, in the event of a possible extension, the conditions for granting a residence permit must still be met (e.g. securing a livelihood) and the same facts must exist that formed the basis for granting the visa.

Work permit

Every entrepreneur who wishes to work in the Federal Republic of Germany generally requires a corresponding residence permit (visa). A distinction is made between self-employment and employment as an employee. In addition to the residence permit, employees also require a work permit. This must be applied for in the home country together with the corresponding visa application.

In addition to nationals of EU or EEA member states, self-employed persons do not require a work permit:

  • Managing directors of a corporation (GmbH, AG) or majority shareholders of a partnership (OHG, KG)
  • Senior employees with general power of attorney or power of representation (Prokura)
  • Managers of a representative office of a foreign company, provided they are granted sole power of representation / general power of attorney

We can help you with questions about visas or arrange suitable dialogue partners


Stefan Matz

Division management
+49 (0)40 - 22 70 19 - 14

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