You are here: Home » German Immigration Lawyer for Private & Business Clients » German Residency by Investment

German Residency by Investment

As an economic powerhouse at the heart of Europe, Germany offers great opportunities for investors from around the world. Gaining German residency, and even citizenship, is, therefore, an attractive proposition and is possible through initially gaining residency by investment in Germany. There are many advantages of German residency, and citizenship, from the ability to reside in Germany and other EU countries to the benefits within Germany such as its excellent education system, integrated transport network and its high standard of living.

This page will outline the requirements needed to be fulfilled to gain residency by investment in Germany. If you are searching for lawyers with knowledge of investments in Germany, as well as a deep understanding of immigration law, for the purposes of gaining German residency by investment, please contact our team. Use our contact details below this article.

Google Rating
Based on 438 reviews

Expert advice on investments and German immigration law.

Get comprehensive legal support from experienced German lawyers.

Gaining German Residency by Investment: The Legal Requirements

Under § 21 German Residence Act, it is possible to gain a residence permit in Germany for the purpose of self-employment. Under this Act there are possibilities for the following individuals to gain residency in Germany:

  • Foreign entrepreneurs, who aim to establish a business in Germany
  • Foreign entrepreneurs who aim to set up an overseas branch of a pre-existing company
  • Freelancers

The self-employment criteria under § 21 German Residency Act is fulfilled under the following conditions:

  • an economic interest or a regional need applies (to the company in question),
  • the activity is expected to have positive effects on the economy and
  • personal capital on the part of the foreigner or a loan undertaking is available to realise the business idea.

When applying for this form of residency the candidate must:

  • be over the age of 18,
  • not have a criminal record.

Applicants over the age of 45 should be aware that there is a requirement to have sufficient provision for old age. It should also be noticed that in comparison to other residency by investment programs, there is no language proficiency requirement.

The visa application process can be measured in the months as opposed to years, with the process generally taking between four and six months to see through to the end.

Once the visa has been obtained the holder will be able to reside in Germany for a period of three years which can be extended to a longer period from there. The visa holder will from there have the option to gain permanent residency in Germany. Following eight years in Germany they will have the opportunity to gain German citizenship through the process of naturalization. Our lawyers support applicants in gaining German citizenship and can provide you with all required information on the matter.

Financial Investment Requirements

When applying for German residency by investment, there is no set minimum figure for the planned investment; however, planning for investment of at least €350,000 is recommendable. Such a figure often demonstrates that the business will fulfil the stated criteria. Your commitment to the investment reflects well in your application and will allow you to answer the applicable questions by the German immigration offices with confidence.

Compared to other European countries and their residency by investment schemes, this fee is quite reasonable. Of course, investors can also plan on heavier investment when seeking to gain in the German real estate market and in appropriate projects. Although the Golden Visa is not an option in Germany, whereby citizenship can be gained from an investment, gaining residency can lead to permanent residency and from there citizenship is not far away.

Allow our lawyers to provide you with examples of such projects to invest in and advise you on where these investments should be considered. Our immigration team has deep experience in successfully supporting applicants through the residency by investment application process.

Deciding on the Business Model

When establishing an investment company, it is vital that the entrepreneur knows which model to pursue. Our corporate lawyers can advise you on all the requirements needed when establishing your business in Germany. Through expert guidance they will ensure your company is established in accordance with your goals and situation.

The GmbH, equivalent to the Ltd company, is a popular business model. It is a limited liability company with all the benefits of this business form, such as that it is a separate legal entity from the entrepreneur and it can buy property and other assets in its own right. GmbHs are not the only limited liability companies available but they tend to have more credibility and reliability than models such as the UG (start-up company). This credibility will be to your advantage in the application process for German residency by investment.

Why Work with Our Investment Lawyers?

When considering German residency by investment it is time-efficient to work with our legal team. Our dedicated immigration law team has overseen these applications before and know the legal requirements involved. They are experienced when it comes to working with German bureaucracy and can also advise you on the areas of investment. Our insightful investment team can provide the key analysis needed in finding the right investments for you. They have supported private clients from all over the world in gaining visas such as the investor visa and in their move to Germany.

We are highly specialised in residency by investment cases and German immigration law generally. Being there for our global clients in their time of need, alongside first-rate customer service and transparency, are central to our firm’s philosophy

Should you consider opening a company in Germany, our lawyers provide full-service corporate advice. Our dedicated corporate law team provides tailored solutions which consider industry-specific requirements and which fulfil your company’s goals. Contact us now and benefit from our straightforward legal advice in all matters of German residency by investment.

German Residency and Citizenship

Gaining German citizenship is not as straightforward compared to countries that provide “Golden Visa” opportunities. However, once the initial investment has been made in Germany and the applicant has gained their residence permit for Germany, there are many benefits to waiting to gain German citizenship. Gaining German citizenship involves going through the naturalization process. This generally means living in Germany for eight years and fulfilling the criteria such as not having a criminal record. Our German citizenship lawyers will support you throughout the process.

German residency by investment provides its holder with residency for a period of three years, but this can be extended. The company should continue to operate during this time to remain eligible for the residence permit. Following the extension of that residence permit, it is possible to apply for permanent residency in Germany.

From easy access to Germany and the rest of the EU member states to visa-free (or visa-on-arrival) access to almost 190 countries, there are many benefits that come with holding a German passport. Gaining a German passport can begin for you by having German residency by investment. Work alongside our legal team for further legal assistance.

Schlun & Elseven Logo

Practice Group:
German Immigration Law

Practice Group:
German Immigration Law

Aykut Elseven

Lawyer | Managing Partner

Jens Schmidt


Daniel Schewior


Nicole Eggert


Martin Halfmann


Samir Muratovic


Dr. Arne Bethlehem


Sandra Zimmerling