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Visas and Permits for Munich, Germany

More than just the Oktoberfest! Moving to Munich is an appealing prospect: Germany’s third largest city boasts a relaxed ambience and a thriving economy. If you have succumbed to its charms as well, check out our expat guide to Munich, with info on the city, visas, permits, and housing.
Before you move to Munich, remember to do your homework on Germany’s visa requirements!

In order to move to Munich, you may need a visa as well as a work or residence permit. Obtaining a visa and the appropriate permit(s) depends on several factors: the duration of your stay, your nationality, and your reason for moving to Germany.

In this overview, we assume that you are planning to move to Munich for work. If your upcoming stay has a different purpose (e.g. study or family reunion), this affects your visa application. Please contact the nearest German mission for further details.

Visas for Short-Term Stays in Germany

For a short-term stay of up to 90 days, chances are good that you don’t need a visa at all, especially if your purpose in Germany is not for gainful employment. In general, EEA and Swiss nationals never need a visa for moving to Munich regardless of motivation or length of stay. They can just find accommodation, pay a visit to the registry office (more below), and settle down.

Citizens of the following countries do not require a short-term visa, either:

  • Albania, Andorra, Antigua, Argentina, Australia
  • Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica
  • El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan
  • Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro
  • New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea
  • Taiwan, Uruguay, the US, Vatican City, Venezuela

This list may be subject to change, however. For comprehensive and up-to-date information, please refer to the Federal Foreign Office website.

Nationals of other states have to apply for a Schengen visa. It allows them to travel freely within the Schengen area for 90 days or less. The processing of the visa application usually takes up to 15 days, but may take as long as 60 days. To get this visa, you need the following:

  • complete application form with a passport photo in color
  • valid passport 
  • travel health insurance
  • proof of sufficient financial means to pay for your trip and your return ticket
  • further documents, depending on the purpose of your journey and the embassy where you apply
  • visa fee of 60 EUR

The fee is waived for children under 6 years old and may also be waived depending on your reasons for travel.

Long-Term Visas for Germany

If you intend to live and work in Germany, your visa application process will be different to the short-term visa application described above. 

EEA and Swiss Nationals

As mentioned before, EEA and Swiss nationals do not need a visa to live and work in Germany. (Croatia, as the newest EU member state, was the sole exception to this rule, however, as of 1 July 2015, the same visa-free travel rules apply to Croatian nationals.) Please do note, however, that Swiss nationals — contrary to EEA nationals — do still need to get their residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis-CH) within the first few months of their stay. However, this is mostly a formality and shouldn’t cause any problems.

Third-Country Nationals

Nationals from certain countries are able to enter Germany without needing to first apply for a visa and then take care of their permits once arrived. You can check if you are eligible on the Federal Foreign Office website.  

Nationals from all other non-EU/EFTA countries will have to apply for a visa. Please ask your German Embassy or Consulate which personal documents they require for the visa application and when you can make an appointment for your interview. Make sure to plan ahead and apply well in advance!

If you are a highly qualified expat with a prospective annual salary of 49,600 EUR or more, you may be able to join the Blue Card Scheme. This makes it easier for you to get your visa and work permit, as well as for your family to join you in Munich. Moreover, if you work in an area in which Germany has a shortage of workers, this annual salary requirement is lower at 38,688 EUR as of 2016.

You can read more about German visas in the Moving to Germany guide.

Staying to Work?

If you are a non-EEA or Swiss national and intend to work in Germany, you will need a residence/work permit in addition to your visa. You will not only need to hold a job offer, but also proof that the company could not find a German or EEA-national to fill the position. Receipt of a work permit is not guaranteed.

However, if you have already gone through a successful visa application for going to Germany in order to work there, getting your residence permit which includes permission to work is typically more of a formality provided your documents are all in order. For more information on the application process, please see below.   

Local Registration: A Necessity for All

Once you have arrived in Munich, you must get a registration certificate (Meldebescheinigung) from the registry office (KVRBürgerbüroMeldebehörde). The registration certificate is not the same as a residence permit! Everybody — including EU nationals and German residents — needs one. Alongside the central registry office in Munich’s city center, there are smaller branch offices throughout the city and at the town hall of most municipalities.

Residence Permit

For expats from the EEA, getting a registration certificate is all the red tape they have to deal with. Everyone else has to make an appointment at the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigners’ Registration Office) to apply for, or collect, their residence/work permit. As mentioned before, this also applies to Swiss nationals.

Depending on where exactly you’ve moved to, you will need to head to either the Ausländerbehörde of Munich City or the Landratsamt of the rural Landkreis München. If you have moved somewhere else, the Foreigners’ Registration Office is usually part of the town hall administration.

Further Information

For a more information on these topics, please take a look at the Visa & Administration Category of our Extended Guide for expatriates in Germany. It includes in-depth articles on the following topics:

 

We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Antoine Mariaux

"What I really like about InterNations Munich? The wonderful crowd of outgoing and lively expats at our local events, of course! "

Chen Ming

"I had my first "mass" of Oktoberfest beer at the InterNations event for the Munich expat community - thank you, InterNations! :) "

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