Investor Visa Germany – The Ultimate Guide By Experts | GCS

Located in the heart of Europe, Germany offers limitless freedoms for investors from across the world. All you need to do is to apply for the Investor Visa Germany scheme, invest in the nation’s economic prosperity, and in turn, become a temporary resident with your family members, unlocking visa-free access in Europe. 

In this guide, you’ll learn about:

  • What residence by investment in Germany is
  • Investment options for the visa program
  • A step-by-step guide to acquiring a German residency permit
  • Plus more!

What is the business investor visa in Germany?

Germany’s investor visa scheme welcomes entrepreneurs, foreign investors, and their family members to live, work or run businesses in the nation, provided that a qualifying investment is made first, and that your investment instigates a positive impact on the German economy.  The principal investor/entrepreneur must invest in an investment project, a German company, or their own company to qualify for German residency.

While there are many Golden Visas out there run by other countries, acquiring a golden visa in Germany is truly advantageous considering Germany’s wealthy status and regional influence in the European Union.

For more information, check out this handy Golden Visas Explained guide here

Why Germany?

Germany is one of the key European countries that boasts a thriving economy, stable political situation, and ample work and study opportunities. With a strong industry in manufacturing and engineering, Germany is considered a key economic powerhouse with bustling economic activity. It goes without saying that opportunities to invest in the German economy are ripe with rewards for interested foreign investors. 

Alongside some of the best-ranking universities in the world, excellent healthcare, and unparalleled travel infrastructure, make permanent residency in Germany a goldmine. 

Financial requirements for citizenship by investment

An important thing to flag is that the Golden Visa Program in Germany is unlike other countries’ golden visas in that there’s no conventional pathway to residency. Rather, the German government has relatively lax requirements for the investment, as long as the minimum investment threshold is met.

Golden Visa requirements:

Invest at least €25,000 in a company

Invest at least €25,000 in a company

Invest at least €350,000 in a real estate project

Invest at least €350,000 in a real estate project

Make a business investment

To obtain residency in Germany, you must follow the immigration laws set forth by the German authorities. Section 21 of the Residence Act enables foreign entrepreneurs in the self-employment category to start a business or a company in Germany and acquire a residence permit. 

To establish a limited liability company, you must make a minimum investment of €25,000, of which €12,500 must be paid-in if there are several business partners involved. As the investor, you must also show you have the professional background and management experience to qualify for such an investment.

To increase the chances of your application getting approved, your business idea for your company has to support the economic interest of Germany. The applicant also needs to show that they have the financing to set up a business in Germany, and that they’re going to be permanently present in Germany for the business ideas to flourish. As such, a business plan is usually submitted to the local authorities, since this will enable the authorities to see your long-term business plan for investing.

Passive investment route

If you don’t want to spend much time in Germany but are still keen on investing, then consider investing in an ongoing regional development project. The core component of this project is to build up commercial and residential properties in select regions. 

To qualify, the investor must make an investment of at least €350,000 for five years (or three years depending on whether the applicant has family included in the application or not), among which €250,000 is invested in off-plan commercial real estate assets. The remaining €100,000 is distributed in a development project fund to cover the application and service fees.

The applicant can expect to receive solid returns on their investment, and can even live in the property they’ve helped build for the remaining period of residence. On a final note, contrary to popular belief, an investor can’t just buy real estate anywhere in Germany to qualify for the scheme. As mentioned, the investor must invest via the Regional Development Project pathway.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The viability of a passive investment in real estate depends on the regional need of each county.

Eligibility

The main considerations for applying include:

  • Be a non-EU citizen
  • The main applicant must be over 18
  • Have adequate health insurance
  • Possess an intermediate level of the German language
  • Have no criminal record
  • Visit Germany once in every six month period to maintain the three-year national permit

If the above requirements are met, then you’re eligible for the resident permit. 

Benefits of German citizenship

Live and work in Germany

Live and work in Germany

Visa free travel to Europe (Schengen areas)

Visa free travel to Europe (Schengen areas)

No continuous residency requirement

No continuous residency requirement

Excellent education and healthcare

Excellent education and healthcare

Thriving business environment

Thriving business environment

High quality living standards

High quality living standards

Visa free travel with German passport

Travel visa-free to over 190 destinations, with one of the world’s top-ranking passports. With a German passport, live, work or study anywhere in the Schengen countries.

Eventual German citizenship

Obtain citizenship and an EU passport after eight years of residing in Germany, or fast-track and receive German citizenship in six years (with special integration services).

Whole family is eligible

You can include your spouse and dependent children under 18 in your application, and they’ll also receive residence permits.

Strong performing economy

Germany is strategically located in the center of Europe and is the economic powerhouse of the continent. Germany also has a strong and stable economic infrastructure, with the fourth-largest economy.

Quickly acquire the German residence permit 

Acquire the German residence permit in as little as six months, and achieve permanent resident status after three years of living in Germany.

Step-by-step guide to the German Golden Visa

1. Submit application for pre-approval at the local Immigration Office.
2. Notary appointment and payment of the purchase price
3. Visa Application at the German embassy.
4. Entry to Germany with a D-Visa and registration.
5. Apply for a residence permit

Application Processing Timeline

Month 1
arrow icon

Collect paperwork and decide on investment Germany route.

Month 2
arrow icon

Submit the application for pre-approval.

Month 3
arrow icon

Notary appointment.

Month 4
arrow icon

Visa application for investment Germany.

Month 5
arrow icon

Enter Germany and register for residence permit.

Month 6-7
arrow icon

Residence permit is granted.

Year 3
arrow icon

Convert residence permit into permanent residence card.

Year 8
arrow icon

Apply citizenship by naturalization.

Documentation for the investor program in Germany

The visa application process is relatively straightforward, however, the list of documentation needed to succeed is extensive. 

The following documents are needed to acquire the investor visa:

  • Valid passport 
  • Able to provide proof of the source of funds.
  • Proof of employment 
  • Documents supporting the fact that the applicant has no criminal record.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) – professional career- qualification certificates – the references.
  • Have German health insurance
  • Proof of residence — your address registration
  • Completed residence permit application form
  • Application fee, depending on the complexity of your case
  • All relevant birth and marriage certificates pertaining to the applicant, spouse and dependents.
  • Business plan

Can you buy German citizenship?

You cannot buy German citizenship, or any kind of citizenship elsewhere. However, there are citizenship by investment schemes that reward applicants with citizenship, provided that an investment is made first. The German Investor Visa Program only gives a three-year temporary residence permit to main applicants and their family members.

However, the golden visa can be converted into a permanent residence after three years. Applicants can become naturalized citizens after six to eight years of living in Germany. To do this, no criminal record and a solid knowledge of the German language is a must since you must pass a German language test.

Frequently Asked Questions about Germany Residence by Investment

What is the Golden Visa in Germany?

 Germany’s investor visa scheme, or the golden visa program, is a residence by investment initiative that grants foreign investors with temporary three-year residency in the country, in exchange for investing in a real estate project or business venture. Unlike other golden visas, the German golden visa has more flexible investment routes to residence in the European Union.

How to gain German citizenship?

You must hold your temporary permit for three years in the country, then apply for permanent residency. Afterward, you can become a naturalized German citizen after eight years of legally residing in the country.

Can I get permanent residency?

You are absolutely eligible for permanent residency in Germany, provided that you live in the country for at least three years first and maintain your respective investment.

What is the German Residence Act?

The German residence act is a piece of legislation and contains provisions on the entry of foreigners into Germany and their residence in the country. The residence act governs the person’s right to reside in Germany.

Why apply for German residence?

German residence offers the chance of a lifetime; in exchange for an investment in the nation, live, work and study in a strong-performing nation, with excellent living standards and an affordable health service.

Can I buy real estate in Germany and get the residence card?

 Unfortunately, buying real estate for the investment visa isn’t permitted. Instead, you must invest in a real estate project, with the opportunity to live in a developed property once it’s complete.