A Golden Visa scheme promises foreign investors a second passport in return for a significant investment. These schemes are usually very expedited and many nations offer citizenship if you just spend a few days in the country.

In that sense, Germany does not have a Golden Visa scheme. However, Germany does offer an investment program that can lead to German citizenship in as little as six years of residency. To make use of this program, you must apply for a self-employment visa to enter the country and set up your business investment.

Do I Qualify for a Germany Golden Visa? 

To be eligible for Germany’s so-called “Golden Visa,” you must have a business plan which meets the following criteria:

  • Positive impact on the German economy.
  • Fulfils an economic or regional demand.
  • Creates at least five full-time, permanent job positions.

Additionally, you (as the investor) must meet the following conditions:

  • You must be an adult.
  • You must not have a criminal background.
  • You must have experience in the field of business you will create.
  • You must secure the funds through equity capital or a loan commitment.

Before you start the investment process, you should consult with professionals in the field. The financial, legal, and immigration advisors at La Vida – Golden Visas can help you determine whether your planned investment meets the criteria for Germany’s scheme.

How Much to Invest for Germany Citizenship?

Unlike typical Golden Visas, there is no minimum investment amount that will qualify you for a German investment visa. However, it is recommended that you invest at least €360,000. This proves to the German authorities that you can meet the outlined investment criteria (positive impact, economic need, job positions, etc).

Permanent Residency by Investment in Germany

You can get permanent residence in Germany three years after making your investment. To qualify for permanent residency, you have to live in Germany continuously (at least half of the year) and prove that Germany is your main residence.

Unlike typical Golden Visa schemes, in Germany, you must actually become integrated into society to qualify for settlement.

Citizenship by Investment in Germany (German Passport)

You qualify for a German passport eight years after making an investment. If you complete an integration course and speak German proficiently, you may apply for citizenship after six years. In both cases, you must have lived in Germany continuously during those years.

The German passport allows you to travel to more than 145 countries visa-free as well as move, work, and invest anywhere in the European Union. 

Your family members can also apply for naturalization as German citizens after eight years.

The Process to Getting Germany Citizenship by Investment 

The process to German citizenship by investment is:

  1. Consult with professionals about your investment.
  2. Get your business plan approved by the German Chamber of Commerce.
  3. Apply for a self-employment visa (and go to Germany).
  4. Apply for permanent residence (after three years).
  5. Apply for German citizenship (after six to eight years).

Step 1: Consult Professionals About Your Investment

Since you are creating a new business abroad, you have to consult experts with the necessary knowledge about German law and finances. 

Companies like La Vida – Golden Visas have an entire team of specialists, with years of experience in international investment. Their legal, financial, and immigration experts can advise you on your investment options and get you on the right residency path.

Hiring professionals to help you with your investment and visa application can maximise your chances of success.

Step 2: Get Your Business Plan Approved

You have to create a comprehensive business plan and send it in for approval at the German Chamber of Commerce (AHK) in your country of residence. 

You can find the locations of the German Chambers of Commerce abroad here.

Step 3: Apply for a Self-Employment Visa and Enter Germany

After your business plan has been approved, you have to apply for a German self-employment visa (Visum zur Selbstständigkeit). The self-employment visa allows you to enter Germany with the intention of creating a new business or company. 

Along with the visa, you will receive a three-year temporary residence permit, allowing you to live in Germany, start your business, and oversee your investment. 

Once you enter Germany, you and your family have to register with the local registration office. You have to start the process of incorporating your company.

Step 4: Apply for Permanent Residency

After you live in Germany for three years, you can apply for a German settlement permit. The main benefit of the German settlement permit is that you can live in Germany permanently; you do not have to re-apply for a new residence permit every three years.

Your family members can also apply for permanent residence five years after they move to Germany.

Step 5: Apply for German Citizenship

Once you have lived in Germany for eight years, you can apply for naturalization as a German citizen. If you pass the German integration test and can speak the German language proficiently, you can apply for citizenship after only six years.

Germany Investment Visa Document Checklist

The documents you have to submit when applying for a Germany investment (self-employment) permit include:

  • Passport, with a validity of at least three months.
  • Pictures, following Schengen photo requirements.
  • Business and financing plan.
  • Proof of investment funds. You must provide a document proving you have the necessary funds for your investment.
  • Proof of the source of your funds. You must provide proof that the means of obtaining your funds were legal.
  • Document of registration with the German Trade Register. 
  • Academic and business qualifications. You should provide proof that you have the necessary background for the business you want to create in Germany.
  • Resume. Your resume should list your professional and educational qualifications along with references.
  • Proof of accommodation in Germany. You must submit a rental agreement or lease to prove you have accommodation in Germany.
  • Health insurance certificate. You and your family have to register for German health insurance.
  • Proof of a retirement plan. If you are over the age of 45, you should provide proof you have a valid retirement plan, such as savings or a pension. 

Remember: Your documents should be either in English or German; if they are not, you must have them translated. Additionally, many of your documents should be Apostilled or otherwise legalized

Processing Time for Germany Investment Visa 

The processing time for a German investment visa is four to six months. This includes the time it takes to have your business plan approved by the German Chamber of Commerce and to receive a decision on your visa application.

Can My Family Come With Me if I Invest in Germany?

Yes, your immediate family members can join you to live in Germany if you set up a business. Immediate family members include:

  • Your spouse or partner.
  • Minor dependent children.
  • Adult dependent children. If you have a child over the age of 18, who is unmarried and dependent on your or your spouse/partner, either financially or due to a disability, you can include them in your application.

Your family members may apply for a visa alongside you, or join you via a German family reunification visa later on after you have settled your investment. 

Benefits of Germany’s Investment “Golden” Visa

The main benefit of investing in Germany is that you will be operating in one of the world’s strongest economies. Your investment leads to German citizenship, and therefore a way to the EU’s open market, as well visa-free access to more than 145 countries worldwide. 

In addition, Germany’s investment visa offers the following benefits to you and your family:

  • Permanent residence after three years (for the main investor) and five years (for the family members).
  • Citizenship after eight years of residence.
  • Working and studying rights in Germany.
  • Visa-free travel to the EU.

If you move to Germany, you’ll be living in a country known for having one of the world’s best standards of living. Germany has a great social security system, universal healthcare, a clean environment, low crime rates, cultural and natural attractions and well-developed infrastructure.

Is Dual Citizenship Allowed?

No, Germany does not allow dual citizenship. To become naturalized as a German citizen, you have to give up on your current nationality. 

Is There a Real Estate Option to German Citizenship?

No, you cannot obtain German citizenship or residence simply by investing in real estate (i.e. purchasing a property.) To qualify for a visa, your investment in Germany has to create a real difference in the economy. In other words, you must set up a business or a company that completes a regional need.