The number of retirees settling down in Germany to enjoy their golden years is ever-increasing. Retiring to Germany from another country offers retirees a stable country with a great healthcare system and numerous other benefits. Similarly, for those based in Germany and have worked here, our lawyers are available to advise them regarding what they can expect should they retire in Germany.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we are an English-speaking full-service law firm that assists with German immigration law and citizenship matters. Our immigration and citizenship specialists will look after the requirements for applying for a residence permit for retirees in Germany.

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Residence Permits for Retirees in Germany

Suppose you are considering retiring to Germany, then the first step to consider is how to do it.

Those with European Union passports can move to Germany without the need for a residence permit or visa. European freedom of movement allows people to move to and live in other EU countries. However, even with an EU passport, the retiree should have the finances to support themselves in Germany.

For non-EU citizens, there are many ways to go about getting the required residence permit. Some of these methods are based on your country of origin or what citizenship you have. For citizens from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries it is possible to come to Germany for a short-term visit without needing a Schengen Visa and to stay in Germany for up to 90 days.

It is possible to apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) to remain in Germany during this time. Once again, our legal professionals can work with you to gain this residence permit. It is possible to use that 90 days in Germany to evaluate whether retiring to Germany is in your best interests and something you want to pursue.

Alternatively, it is also possible to apply for a German residence permit from your home country through the German embassy or consulate there. Through email and phone, our lawyers can work with you to ensure that all requirements are in order.

When applying for a residence permit, you will need to show that you can financially support yourself while in Germany and demonstrate proof of adequate healthcare provision.

Applications can take up to three months to be processed, which is why it is important to apply in advance of your planned move. Upon moving over, you will most likely be granted the right to live in Germany for one year, which can be renewed.

Following living in Germany for five years, it will be possible to seek permanent residence in Germany. Being able to demonstrate the required level of German language skills will also play a role in gaining permanent settlement status.

If you have plans for retiring to Germany, make sure that:

  • Passport: your passport is in date,
  • Healthcare: you have evidence of your healthcare provisions,
  • Financial support: you need to show you can support yourself financially.

As a full-service law firm with offices in Cologne, Aachen, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart and Frankfurt we pride ourselves on how our legal professionals provide comprehensive assistance to our business and private clients. Once engaged, our immigration team will examine your particular case and advise you on how to proceed.

Our lawyers have assisted clients worldwide with retiring to Germany, and know the exact requirements to make sure that your retirement residence permit application will be a success. We are particularly experienced with helping US citizens retire to Germany.

Our full-service approach means that our German expat lawyers can advise you regarding income requirements to retire in Germany, the best places to retire to in Germany, acquiring German citizenship by descent or naturalisation, and more,

Having an English-speaking legal advisor available with in-depth knowledge of the German legal system will ensure that you have the solution to any arising legal difficulties.

German Citizenship by Descent: Legal Advice

Retiring to Germany is made easier if you have German citizenship.

Having German citizenship means that you have a right to live in and retire to Germany. Even if you have never lived in Germany and do not speak German you may still gain German citizenship due to your ancestors. Ancestry in this case refers to your direct line, your parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents.

There are certain rules in place regarding the removal of citizenship, the marital status of the child’s parents and more. Our page “German Citizenship by Descent” provides more insight into the requirements and outlines who can apply.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we offer clients full support in all matters relating to their application for German citizenship by descent.

Do you have German ancestors? Were your family forced to leave Germany during the turbulent 20th century? Please do not hesitate to contact us and find out how your family history may allow you to gain German citizenship.

Living in Germany: Advice

Retiring to Germany has many benefits. It may not appear as exotic as Spain or Portugal, but Germany has a lot to offer retirees.

Firstly, Germany is a very safe country with low crime rates and political stability. Walking through the streets of German cities gives a more secure feeling than in other countries.

The cost of living in Germany is also relatively low compared to other highly developed countries. There are variations within this, as Munich has a much higher cost of living than a city in eastern Germany, such as Dresden. However, it is noteworthy that a person can live reasonably comfortably in a setting of their choice without breaking the bank. From cheaper supermarkets, reasonably-priced restaurants, and affordable rent prices to monthly transit passes, the cost of living as a retiree in Germany is not high.

Germany’s location at the heart of Europe also means that the whole continent is in front of you. Depending on where you are based in Germany, many countries are easily opened up to you. From the Swiss Alps, the cities of the Low Countries, and French culture and cuisine to Scandinavia and eastern Europe, retiring to Germany makes all of these destinations readily available to you.

As a country with a strong economy in Western Europe, Germany is not as cost-effective as other parts of the world to retire in. However, the retirement cost can be pretty reasonable, depending on which part of Germany you find yourself. The cost of living varies between cities and villages and between the cities themselves. A city like Munich will cost more when it comes to the average cost of a property/rent than, for example, a property in one of the cities in eastern Germany, such as Dresden or Leipzig.

Should the bigger cities not interest you, many smaller cities and countryside towns and villages may be more to your liking. Living in these smaller towns and villages is generally more affordable than in the bigger cities. The standard of living in these towns is still good, with plentiful supermarkets and cafés in most German towns. In many parts of Germany, accessing more significant population hubs through public transport or the autobahn system is still very convenient.

Germany has a lot to offer those who move here. For retirees, it, of course, depends on where you move to, but you can be assured that you will find a lot to do. Germany’s weather is quite friendly to outdoor activities, especially in the long summer, with temperatures going into the low- to mid- 30s Celsius (high 80s – mid-90s Fahrenheit). It is possible to find hiking groups, golfing societies, gardening clubs and cycling enthusiasts around different locations in Germany. Many people in Germany are very comfortable conversing in English, and in cities across the country, there are international communities where English is the primary language choice.

There are many private language schools for those who come to Germany and plan to learn German or improve their language skills. One can benefit from learning German in classes or one-to-one lessons and small groups in such locations.

In terms of integrating and making friends with the locals, as stated earlier, English is widely spoken in Germany, which can be a significant barrier breaker, and Germans like to practice their language skills whenever they can. Getting involved with sports teams and community organisations can be a great way to meet people in smaller towns and villages. At the same time, in bigger cities, many options are available for meeting people.

In the winter, the temperature does drop significantly. Snow in Germany is a regular occurrence that changes the speed of life. In the build-up to Christmas, every town and city in Germany has its own Christmas market. These certainly brighten up the long nights and cold days of winter.

Locations: Where to Retire in Germany

As mentioned in the cost of living in Germany as a retiree, where you live will significantly impact residing in Germany.

Where you live will play a huge role in many different aspects of your life here. The reasons for choosing your location will vary. Maybe it is to do with your family or ancestral roots; perhaps you are looking for adventure with mountains, cycling, and hiking trails; maybe it is the cultural scene you are after; or perhaps you want a spectacular backdrop to relax.

Whatever it is you are looking for, Germany is big enough and diverse enough to provide. Here are just some recommendations we can provide, but this is, of course, not an extensive or exhaustive list.

  • Big cities such as Cologne, Düsseldorf, Berlin, and Munich benefit from being international cities with long histories. Suppose you are willing to pay the extra cost of living in such cities. In that case, you will benefit from access to museums and cultural attractions, international restaurants and shops, world-class sporting arenas and events, and a global community available within these cities.
  • Smaller cities may also be of interest. In the east of Germany are historic cities such as Dresden and Leipzig. One can benefit from the advantages of living in a big city without necessarily paying over-the-top living expenses. Living in these cities is much more affordable than in some wealthier cities while still providing a lavish lifestyle.
  • Alternatively, it may not be the city that interests you. Germany has so much to offer retirees that less obvious places may also be of great interest. The Rhineland south of Bonn has many picturesque villages near the heart of the German wine country, with the wonder of the River Rhine as the backdrop.
  • Heidelberg is another attractive location for retirees, with a vibrant student community mixed in with this historic city. Heidelberg Castle and the imposing Königstuhl summit provide spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
  • The nearby town of Baden Baden has also proven to be attractive for retirees. This town is well-known as a spa town on France’s border and not too far from the Black Forest. It is a comfortable and beautiful location for this golden time in life. The cities of Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, and Freiburg, and the French city of Strasbourg, are located nearby.

If you are unsure where to relocate to Germany, we can provide advice to help you with your decision. Germany has something for everyone and deciding where to settle down as a retiree will make all the difference.

Buying Property in Germany

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our lawyers advise clients worldwide regarding purchasing houses and apartments in Germany. Our team is widely experienced in guiding clients through the process and can ensure that they do not fall into common pitfalls that often hinder opportunities.

As experienced professionals, our lawyers will advise you on matters relating to construction defects, the purchase contract, and the Condominium and Homeowners’ Association – the WEG (die Wohnungseigentümergemeinschaft). Disputes relating to the Teilungserklärung (declaration of division) can also lead to lengthy legal conflicts, and therefore, legal representation from the start of the process can save time and cost.

Our team will advise you regarding the property market in Germany, the purchasing process and suitable locations for purchasing the dream apartment.

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Practice Group: German Immigration Law

Practice Group:
German Immigration Law

Aykut Elseven

Lawyer | Managing Partner