Real Estate Immigration in Germany

German Immigration Lawyers

Real Estate Immigration in Germany

German Immigration Lawyers

It is an open secret that investments in real estate are increasingly being used to buy citizenship of EU countries such as Malta, Portugal or Cyprus. In this context, the question arises as to what options are available here for those who wish to live permanently in Germany.

The German law firm Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte has in-depth expertise and many years of experience both in dealing with the complex requirements of German aliens and residence law and in real estate law. With our law firm  you have a competent and reliable partner at your side who will represent your interests with the necessary commitment.

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“The Golden Visa” Principle – How it works in Malta

Malta leads the way with its “Malta Citizenship by Investment Programme”, and many other EU states follow suit. The principle is simple: one invests in the sovereign wealth fund of the EU state whose citizenship one wishes to acquire. The investments are usually divided up as follows: Investment in real estate or the creation of several hundred jobs, thereby making a significant contribution to the improvement of the state finances of EU states. In return, one receives the “Golden Visa”.

The Legal Basis for Real Estate Immigration

However, the question arises as to what the legal situation is in Germany in this regard. What option does a wealthy foreigner have in Germany who wants to settle with their assets? Section 7 (1) sentence 3 of the German Residence Act (AufenthG) provides the legal basis for wealthy non-employed persons to obtain a residence permit.

This subsection enables residency permits to be granted for purposes not explicitly stated in the Residence Act. For instance, it covers those with sufficient resources and financial support who may wish to settle in Germany to live off their own assets here. Until recently, such an option seemed out of reach. However, the published ruling of the Administrative Court Freiburg of 18.7.2018, 1 K 1083/17 brought some more clarity here.

That case involved an individual of means who wished to settle in Germany to live off his own funds. These included a large land plot located in a residential area, which was rented out to a hotel with a restaurant for 3,500 Euros per month. It was disputed whether the income, which was lease income and not interest income, could be qualified as assets that were suitable to secure the family’s livelihood in the long term.

According to the judgment, the assets required include any such income to secure the relevant person’s livelihood in the long term without needing additional assistance from the State. However, generally, this will only include assets that are expected to generate a regular interest income.

How high in concrete terms must the assets be?

A judgment by the Administrative Court Stuttgart from 2010 – 2 K 1260/10, regarding a case concerning the grant of a residency permit to an American pensioner with a monthly pension of $1,107, shows that at least according to that court, a certain minimum level of assets should not be required if the securing of living expenses is guaranteed according to the general granting requirements of Section 5 (1) German Residence Act.

The legal commentators do not offer any concrete statements. In the case of the discretionary decision of the authority under  Section 7(1) German Residence Act, one merely assumes an existing capital stock – or recurring payments, which consequently lead to a discretionary reduction (to zero). This would mean that the authority’s scope for decision-making is limited to such an extent that only one decision is possible without error.

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Practice Group: German Immigration Law

Practice Group:
German Immigration Law

Aykut Elseven

Lawyer | Managing Partner