Retiring to Germany

German Immigration Lawyers

Retiring to Germany

German Immigration Lawyers

The number of people settling in Germany to enjoy retirement is constantly increasing. Those who choose Germany find a country with an excellent healthcare system and numerous other benefits of a welfare state. German cities offer the optimal conditions for a good life in old age, whether in terms of leisure and cultural activities or medical care. However, those who dare to take this step often face organisational and bureaucratic barriers.

The German law firm Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte offers competent and committed legal assistance to provide our clients with the necessary support. Whether you are applying for your residence permit, looking for a flat or searching for a suitable property to purchase – our lawyers are always at your side. As a multi-disciplinary, full-service law firm, we offer legal support from a single source in all immigration-related legal areas. Our relocation services are tailored to your individual needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly for specialised legal advice.

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Our Services

Representation in the application process
  • Advice on buying real estate
  • Application for a residence permit
  • Clarification of all open questions with the responsible authorities
  • Comprehensive advice on the legal aspects of moving to Germany and choosing a suitable place to live

  • Procurement, translation and certification of all necessary documents

  • Representation in conflict situations | mediation | arbitration | litigation

Services in Context

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 communiti