Migrating from the United States of America (USA) to Germany

It is relatively easier migrating from the USA to Germany, than other third-world countries. However, the U.S citizens must be aware of the procedure to migrate to Germany. This article explains in Because of this, you will have to take the German language exams and pass them. The German language exam has three proficiency levels: A for basic language skills, B for intermediate or proficient, and C for advanced language skills. Each of these sections is divided into two parts. A has A1 and A2, B has B1 and B2, then C has C1 and C2. the necessary steps of the USA to Germany migration process for U.S citizens.

Migrating from United States of America to Germany

Germany has become the centre of attraction for most people. The country is the largest economy in Europe and the fifth in the world. Germany has a good educational system which is almost free. The country has a stable political and economic environment. Also, there are lots of job opportunities in Germany. Consequently, many Americans want to move, work and settle in Germany.

Schengen Visa

The Schengen visa enables foreigners to travel to Germany. This visa enables the holder to stay for 90 days in Germany or any other Schengen country. However, U.S citizens do not need a Schengen visa to move to Germany. Notwithstanding, U.S citizens have to obtain a residence permit since they are moving from the USA to Germany. The next section has descriptions of the various residence permits obtainable by Americans moving to Germany.

Types of Residence Permits obtainable by U.S citizens

As an American moving to Germany, you have 90 days period to stay in Germany and any other Schengen country. You have to obtain a residence after the 90 days. In this regard, you will obtain an Electronic Residence Title or elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel (eAT). You must have a valid passport. The passport must have a validity of 120 days from the date you plan to return from Germany.

You will need the residence permit during your stay in Germany. This document states the purpose of your stay, the restrictions you have and the validity of stay. You need a document to prove your financial stability before getting this document. Also, you will have to provide health insurance that is acceptable to the German authorities.

Below are some reasons why an American may seek immigration to Germany from the USA. These are the common reasons:

  • Family reunion: If you are an American citizen who is married to a German, you must obtain a residence permit before living with your spouse.
  • Study in Germany: Education in Germany is almost free, with very low tuition fee and cost. As a result, many people want to study there. However, you will need a residence permit to study in Germany.
  • Research at a University: This is for persons interested in joining a research team at a German University.
  • Vocational training or Internship in Germany
  • Working in Germany: This is mostly for people who have found a job in Germany. You need to get a residence permit to stay and work in Germany.

Depending on your reason for migrating from the USA to Germany, you will obtain one of the following types of residence permits.

1. Permanent Residence or Settlement Permit

This document is the most sought German residence permit. It does not have a validity period. It is the equivalent of the American Green Card. The permanent residence is the same as the settlement permit. To get this permit, you must meet the requirements below:

  • You must show that you are financially stable. That is, you can meet all your expenses concerning your stay in Germany.
  • You must have held the standard residence permit for at least five years.
  • You must prove that you are fluent in the German language. Not just basic German.
  • Enrol and pass a German integration exam.

2. Standard Residence permit

This permit allows foreigners to migrate to Germany for a specified period. This document is valid for a certain period, usually 90 days. However, the holder can extend the validity of the document if he/she has sufficient reasons to do so. Also, you can take and pass a German integration after 5 years to get a permanent residence. The Standard residence permit is granted for the following reasons:

  • Former Germans returning to Germany
  • Family Reunion
  • Working in Germany
  • Studying or attending training/internship courses in Germany

How to apply before migrating from the USA to Germany

A U.S citizen can apply for a German residence permit through any of the following ways:

  • From Germany
  • From the U.S

The process is shorter when applying in Germany. The processing is faster as you will be doing it in person. Travel to Germany, and start the application process during your 90 days stay period. To apply for the residence permit, you will book an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde or German Aliens Authority. Their offices are located in various cities around Germany. Locate your own local office and initiate the application for your residence permit.

On the other hand, applying from the USA will take a longer time. This means you are not taking advantage of the 90 days in Germany to accelerate the process. As a result, it may take up to 90 days before you obtain the residence permit. You will have to go to the German Embassy in Washington, DC or any German Consulates around the USA. There are German Embassies in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco.

It is better to travel to Germany and follow up on the process of getting your residence permit. Whichever route you follow, make sure to follow the steps below.

Get a German Bank Account

Open a bank account in Germany to prove that you are financially stable. You have to prove to the German authorities that you can take care of your expenses in Germany. This is similar to the case of Blocked accounts for foreign students wishing to study in Germany. You must open a bank account in Germany. After opening the account, you will transfer funds from your American bank account to the German bank account. This is required whether you will be working or not. You have to prove that you have enough to cover your expenses, and not wait for a salary. It is important to contact the Embassy and find out the minimum amount needed in your German bank account to get the residence permit.

Get Health Insurance Coverage

This is another mandatory document. You must obtain your Health insurance from a body which is recognized by the German authorities. Preferably, obtain it from a German agency. Because German hospitals and clinicians will not accept any American Health Insurance coverage. So, you will not get a Permanent residence with an American Health Insurance. Your employer can also get you an Insurance if you are in Germany for a job. However, for more information read the Health Insurance article for foreigners in Germany.

Pay the required Residence permit Fee

You will have to pay a fee. This is part of the application process. However, the fee is relatively low compared to other countries. You will pay €110 if it is your first time applying for a German residence permit. On the other hand, you will pay €80 if you are applying for an extension of your residence permit. This fee has to be paid for your application processed and considered. Submit the receipt of payment of the fee with the rest of the required documents stated herein.

Report you German address

All German citizens must report their current address at all times. Every citizen must report a move from one apartment to another, even if it is in the same building. So, you have to report your address to the German authorities. You will have to show your apartment lease or a property deed as proof of your current address. This is required as you’re moving from the USA to Germany. This process is called the Anmeldung process. Also, if you are moving out of a place, you must let the German authorities know of a change in your address. This is called the Abmeldung process. The German authorities will issue a confirmation letter stating that you have fulfilled this requirement.

Show Proof your German Language Proficiency

You need to show proof of some basic German language as you’re moving from the USA. Of course, Germans speak English! But you will most likely get your residence permit if you show proof that you have some basic knowledge of the German language. You need advanced knowledge in the German language for a Permanent residence permit.

To prepare for the German language, you will take a few German language courses. Endeavour to take these courses before moving to Germany. Therefore, you will have to take the German language exams and pass them. The German language exam has three proficiency levels: A for basic language skills, B for intermediate or proficient, and C for advanced language skills. Each of these sections is divided into two parts. A has A1 and A2, B has B1 and B2, then C has C1 and C2.

Book your residence permit appointment

Set your appointment as early as possible. This is important especially if you are applying while in Germany. The 90 days period is a short time. You may tend to procrastinate, resist it! If you do not get your residence permit before the end of the 90 days, you will return to the USA.

Book the appointment whether you are applying in the USA or Germany. The German officials will test your German language proficiency during the interview. Also, they will try to know your reason for migrating from the USA to Germany. Gather all the required documents listed below and submit during the interview.

Gather all the required documents

Before migrating from the USA to Germany, you have to prepare the following documents. Your appointment and the required documents will play a great role in your residence permit being approved. If you are given the permit, then you can continue to stay in Germany. Otherwise, you will have to travel back to the USA if you were already in Germany.

Whatever your route of application, be it in a German Embassy or Consulate in the USA or the German Aliens Authority Office in Germany.

  • Valid passport
  • Two photographs that are less than 3 months old. Read more on the photo requirements.
  • A complete application which is available at German Embassies (Two copies if applying from the USA)
  • Proof of Finance: bank statements, tax documents, or any other document to prove that you can take care of your expenses in Germany.
  • Letter from your employer in Germany. This is in case you have been employed by a German company.
  • Confirmation letter from German authorities that you have reported your German address.
  • Health Insurance coverage
  • Residence permit application fees receipt.
  • Other relevant documents that are outlined in the residence permit email sent by the German authorities.

German Citizenship

Migrating from the USA to Germany and getting a German residence permit does not make you a German citizen. Whether it is a settlement permit or a standard residence permit. Read this article to know how to obtain German citizenship.

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