As of 2014, Germany was only second to the United States as a top immigration destination, and it’s easy to see why. Germany’s economy is the largest in Europe, the quality of life is extremely high, and the German passport grants its holders more freedom of movement than any other travel document in the world.
There is no standard investment for residency scheme (e.g. bonds or real estate) in Germany as is the case in other EU/Schengen countries like Spain and the Portugal, but there is another possible golden visa route available to those who desire all of the benefits that come with German resident status.
Germany’s Entrepreneur Visa provides a pathway to permanent residence and even eventual citizenship if certain requirements are met. The German Residence Act (§ 21 AufenthG) allows three types of persons to acquire a temporary residence permit if their application is successful: foreign entrepreneurs who want to start up a new business in Germany, foreign entrepreneurs who aim to set up an overseas branch of an existing business, and self-employed freelancers.
The primary factor for a successful application is making the case that your business will have a positive effect on the German economy. Additionally, the German government emphasizes that an applicant’s business should increase the market potential of other German businesses to have a net positive impact on the local economy. Along with proof of funds for at least an initial €250,000 investment in the new company, a strong business plan for the venture is required for success.
Potential applicants should prepare for their business plans to undergo extreme scrutiny, but they can look forward to these many benefits if they are successful:
- A 3-year temporary residence permit that can lead to permanent residence
- A Family Visa that allows dependents to live and work in Germany
- Eligibility for German citizenship after 5 years of permanent residence
- Freedom of movement within the Schengen zone
- A route to a German passport, the most powerful in the world
- One of the highest standards of living in Europe
It is true that an entrepreneurship visa is not as straightforward as, for example, gaining residency through a real estate investment. However, through the proper research of Germany’s markets, it’s certainly not impossible to identify a need that you can meet through a new business venture.
Those interested in the full details of the program can find out everything they need to know here.