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Real Estate Immigration Germany

As the number of people acquiring citizenship by investing in real estate increases, questions concerning possibilities in Germany arise. Malta’s “Malta Citizenship by Investment” Programme provides an example, and many other EU states are following suit. The principle is straightforward: by contributing to the EU country’s state funds, the investor is awarded citizenship of that state: the so-called “Golden visa”. It is seen as a profitable deal for both parties. In Germany, the roads to residency and citizenship are different, as gaining citizenship through real estate investment is not possible directly. However, there are other options such as business immigration that we will outline on this page.

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The Legal Basis for Real Estate Immigration

The legal basis allowing well-off non-workers to receive residency by investing in Real Estate in Germany can be found in § 7(1) German Residency Act. 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. Many potential investors had not previously considered this a viable option, but the recent judgment of the Administrative Court Freiburg from 18 July 2018, 1 K 1083/17, clarifies the situation to some extent.

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. Whether this income, which consisted of rent rather than interest, could be classified as assets capable of securing 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.

The Value of the Assets in Real Estate Immigration

In a judgment by the Administrative Court Stuttgart from 2010 – 2 K 1260/10, in a case concerning the grant of a residency permit to an American pensioner with a monthly pension of $1,107, it was said that at least according to that court, there could not be a rule stipulating a particular minimum value, so long as the relevant person’s livelihood is secured under the general conditions in § 5(1) German Residence Act.

Nor do legal commentators offer any concrete statements. Regarding the discretion left to the public authority under § 7(1) German Residence Act, the assumption is that there is an existing capital stock, or a recurring income, which would result in a reduction in discretion to allow only one possible lawful decision.

It is worth noting that this form of German residency is more complex than other areas worth investigating, such as business immigration, as outlined below.

Alternatives to the Golden Visa in Germany: Business Immigration for Entrepreneurs

A “Golden Visa” for Germany does not exist in the same way as it does for other countries; however, there are alternatives. It is possible to gain German residency as an entrepreneur under § 21 German Residency Act. Successful applicants can gain German permanent residency. If an applicant pursues this form of business immigration to Germany, they must play a more active role in the business’s success. Instead of directly investing in property, the applicant invests in creating a business that will benefit the German economy. The company in question can be an investment company that invests in German real estate.

To gain a visa for self-employment, the applicant must present a business plan that fulfils certain requirements. These necessities include: the business plan must meet an economic interest or regional need. It must positively impact the economy, and the financing must be secured by equity capital or a loan commitment. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we have a team of business immigration lawyers who have assisted clients worldwide with such applications and who will thoroughly analyse and assess business plans. Once the business plan is ready, it needs to be submitted to the German authorities where it will be examined in detail to ensure that it meets these criteria and where factors such as the applicant’s financial commitment and their previous business experience) will be examined.

When establishing a company in Germany, our legal team can be relied upon to provide the guidance needed with company formation and ongoing support with the business once established. Regardless of whether the company is a start-up company, a subsidiary, a branch or a GmbH limited company, our lawyers are available to provide reliable advice. As a full-service law firm, our legal team can provide all the expertise needed when facing German law.

Investment Company in Germany

Should an applicant successfully form a real estate investment company in Germany, our team of advisors can provide reliable support with investing in Germany. Our German investment lawyers will not only ensure that the company fulfils the necessary legal requirements to start conducting business in Germany but will also provide detailed and tailored insight into the German market. The right investment in the right place is critical to profiting from the German market. Such insights can play a crucial role in future success for your business, and in identifying promising and lucrative investments. Our experience and expertise in the German market means that the start of your German venture will be accelerated wherever possible and will provide protection against any costly legal disputes. Contact us now for specialised counsel.

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Practice Group: German Immigration Law

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German Immigration Law

Aykut Elseven

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