Citizens from countries that do not belong to the European Union or the European Economic Area need a residence permit, if they want to enter or take residence in Germany.
There exist several types of residence permits in Germany. The type of residence permit determines if the duration of stay is limited in time and if and in which extend a gainful occupation is possible.
The types of residence permits that exist in Germany are:
- The “Schengen Visa“, which entitles the owner for a short-term stay of maximum 90 days in the Schengen Area. The Schengen-Visa is granted by the diplomatic mission in the country of origin of the applicant. There exist several types of Visa.
- The “Aufenthaltserlaubnis” (residence permit), which is granted for a longer stay in Germany, even if it is always limited in time, taking into account the purpose of the visit to Germany. It is granted by the foreigners registration office in Germany.
- The “Niederlassungserlaubnis” (settlement permit), which is not limited in time and entitles the owner for unlimited gainful occupation. It is granted by the foreigners registration office in Germany. There also exists a “Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU”, which is mostly equivalent to the “Niederlassungserlaubnis”
- The “EU Blue Card“, which is a limited residence permit for highly trained employees for the purpose of work. It is granted by the foreigners registration office in Germany.