How to Apply For Germany Citizenship through Investment
The German passport is widely regarded as one of the most powerful passports in the world. Citizens of Germany have visa-free access to more than 185 nations. While there is no specific residency or citizenship by investment program in Germany, under certain conditions, foreign investors can obtain a three-year national resident permit through investment under Article 21 of the German Residence Act.
This article will focus on how to obtain residency in Germany through investment, which can then lead to citizenship. But, before we get into the specifics, let's look at the advantages of investing in Germany. Despite the fact that Germany does not have a Golden Visa program, you can still obtain German citizenship through investment if you start a business that serves an economic interest or need. You can obtain a residency permit and become a German citizen after six to eight years if you follow this path.
To invest in Germany, you must first obtain a self-employment visa (also known as an "Entrepreneurial Visa" or "Visa for Establishing a Business"), as detailed in Article 21 of the German Residence Act. This visa allows you to enter Germany to start a business or establish a company.
Why Do You Need a Germany Investment Visa?
When you invest in Germany, you receive numerous benefits and residency.
-A Stable Economy
Because of its robust economy, central location, and role in the EU, Germany is one of the best countries to invest in. It is also known as Europe's economic powerhouse. You become a part of a strong economy when you invest in Germany.
Germany has a high standard of living for its citizens. The social security system and employment opportunities in the country are extensive, as are educational and healthcare facilities. According to the Human Development Index, Germany’s quality of life is the sixth-highest in the world.
-Inclusion of Families
When you invest in Germany, your immediate family members are also eligible to apply for residency. A residency permit can also be obtained for your spouse and dependent children under 18. Adult children who are financially dependent on you may also be eligible.
-The Path to Citizenship
Making an investment and residing in Germany can lead to citizenship. After six to eight years of residency in the country, you may be eligible for a German passport, which allows you to travel to over 185 countries without a visa.
How Can I Obtain German Citizenship Through Investment?
Germany does not have a Golden Visa program or direct citizenship by investment. However, if you establish a qualifying business in Germany, you may be eligible for German residency. After three years, you may be eligible for permanent residency. You may be eligible for German citizenship after spending six to eight years in Germany.
If you want to go this route, you must demonstrate that your new business will significantly contribute to the German economy, such as by hiring at least five new employees. After completing your investment, you can expect to obtain permanent residency in Germany in three years. You must also have lived in Germany for at least six years before applying for citizenship.
Germany Investor Visa Requirements
To be eligible for a self-employment visa and to start a business in Germany, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You have a solid business plan in place that addresses your goals.
- You have sufficient experience in the business you wish to establish in Germany.
- You can guarantee that your company will have a positive impact on the German economy and will meet local or economic needs.
- To be recognized as a German-based company, your company or organization must employ at least five people in Germany.
- You will raise funds needed for the company through equity financing or a loan commitment.
You have no criminal record.
How to Obtain German Citizenship Through Investment
After six to eight years of operating a business in Germany, you may apply for citizenship. To give you an overview, we've written the steps below:
Step 1: Make a Business Plan
The first step in obtaining an investor visa in Germany is to create a detailed business plan. Your business plan must cover all aspects of your concept and explain why and how your company will benefit the German economy. Your business plan will be evaluated by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Step 2: Apply at the German Embassy for a Self-Employment Visa.
After your business plan has been approved, you can begin applying for a self-employment visa for entrepreneurial activities at the German embassy in your home country. This visa will allow you to enter Germany and start a business.
Step 3: Arrive in Germany and obtain a Temporary Resident Permit.
When you arrive in Germany, the immigration authorities will issue you a three-year temporary residence permit. This is valid for three years and is renewable. With this temporary German residence permit, you can live and operate your business in Germany.
Step 4: Apply for Permanent Residency
After three years of continuous residency in Germany, you can apply for permanent residency. This is a significant step because becoming a permanent resident provides greater security regarding your residency status in the country.
Step 5: Apply for Naturalization
After eight years of lawful residence in Germany, you may apply to become a German citizen. After six years of continuous residence, you may apply for citizenship if you are well integrated into German society and can communicate fluently in German.
Timeline for Application Processing
Here is a rough timeline for obtaining German citizenship through business investment:
- Your business plan is approved, and you receive your visa within four to six months.
- You can apply for permanent residency after three years of temporary residency.
- After six or eight years as a German citizen, you are eligible for naturalization.
Inclusion of Families
You and your immediate family members may apply for German visas if you qualify for a German investment visa. They will also be eligible for permanent residency and citizenship in the coming years.
Your application may include the following family members:
- Your partner
- Your minor children under the age of eighteen
- Adult children who are financially or physically dependent on you or your spouse
Documents Required for a German Entrepreneurial Visa
When applying for a German entrepreneurial (self-employment) visa, the following documents are required:
- A current passport
- a passport-sized photograph
- Comprehensive business strategy
- Comprehensive financial strategy
- Your detailed resume/CV, which includes your professional and academic credentials, as well as any testimonials or references.
- A document demonstrating how your university education relates to your business concept.
- Extracted from the German Trade Register — or, at the very least, proof that you've already applied
- Evidence of financial resources for investment
- Display the registration certificate from the German Trade Register.
- A document demonstrating the source of your funds.
- Proof of residency in Germany—either a rental agreement or proof of ownership
- A certificate of German health insurance
If you are 45 or older, you must also show proof of your retirement plans, such as bank accounts, a pension, a personal pension, or life insurance.
Please keep in mind that the German embassy where you begin your application may request supporting documentation.
Germany Investor Visa Extension
If your application is accepted, you will be issued a three-year German residence permit, which can be extended for another three years. If you want to extend your residence permit, your business must be operational and financially sound.
Those who have lived in Germany for at least eight years can obtain German citizenship through naturalization. Your family, which includes your spouse and minor children under the age of 18, can also be included in your initial residence permit application, which can lead to German citizenship for all of you.
The Advantages of Obtaining German Citizenship
Naturalization makes you a German citizen as well as a European Union national, with all of the associated rights and obligations:
- You gain voting rights: When you become a German citizen, you will be able to vote at both the local and national levels.
- You have complete access to the EU: Your German passport will provide you with immediate freedom of movement throughout Europe, opening up even more opportunities: You can study, work, and live freely in the EU, EEA countries, and Switzerland.
- Traveling becomes easier: It will be easier to travel to and obtain visas for many countries outside of Europe.
- You'll encounter less red tape: When you become a citizen, you will no longer require a residence permit and will no longer be required to visit the Foreign Citizens' Registration Authority.
Dual Citizenship in Germany
When you qualify for German citizenship, you must give up your original citizenship, according to the German citizenship law. There may be some exceptions, and the German authorities may allow you to retain both citizenships.
This is unusual, but it is something you should consider. Speaking with professionals and legal advisors will be beneficial if your main motivation is to obtain German citizenship through investment.
Can I Get a German Visa by Investing in Real Estate?
Technically, you cannot get German citizenship or permanent residency simply by investing in real estate. However, if you can live in Germany relying solely on your funds, you may be granted a temporary residence permit if you purchase real estate.
With a residence permit granted for this purpose, you are not allowed to engage in any economic activity. It is not sure that you will become eligible for German citizenship or permanent residence through this pathway.
The German investment visa program is an excellent opportunity for foreign entrepreneurs who want to live in a country that allows its citizens to live and work freely while giving them access to Europe's common market. Even if it is not the most direct path, you can obtain German citizenship after your investment journey.