Immigration Law

Important entry requirements

Entry and residence

Are you interested in setting up a branch of your own business in Germany? Would you like  an initial overview concerning entry, residence and basic conditions? You can obtain some initial information on the  websites shown below. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.


Schengen Visa ("Business Visa" – short-term stay up to 90 days)
Do you live in a non-EU country and want to visit Germany for a business trip? Then you need to apply for a Schengen Visa from the German consulate/embassy in your home country or country of residence. The visa obligation has been lifted for some countries. You can find a current list of the countries without a visa obligation on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

Read more

With a Schengen Visa (also called a Business Visa), entrepreneurs can take the first steps towards establishing a company. However, a Schengen Visa does not entitle you to take up employment or manage a business in Germany.

The Schengen Visa allows you to travel into all so-called "Schengen countries". All these countries waive passport or entry controls at each of their borders, which makes travelling to another country very easy and convenient.

The important documents you need to apply for a Schengen Visa are:

  • A written invitation to Germany from a German business partner
  • Proof of the existence of your company
  • Proof from the employer of the employment relationship
  • A document proving existing business activities
  • Bank statements from the last 3–6 months
  • Details of planned business trip, proof of financing of the business trip and details and documents proving the journey route (e.g. flight tickets, hotel bookings)
  • Proof of a health insurance policy; the sum insured must be at least EUR 30,000.

The relevant German consulate/embassy in your home country or country of residence can supply you with details of the documents to be submitted.

Please find further important informaton at the following links:

Residence permit

Do you want to be employed on a permanent basis as a managing director or as an employee in Düsseldorf?

If so, and if you do not come from an EU-country, you will need a residence permit. When applying for the residence permit, you apply for any work permit you may need at the same time. For this purpose, you need to apply for a national visa at the German consulate/embassy in your home country or country of residence.

For selected countries of origin such as Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea or the USA, there is also the option of applying for the residence permit directly at the municipal immigration department in Düsseldorf. A list of countries for which there is no visa requirement can be found on the website of the Foreign Federal Office.

Residence permit for non-self-employed persons - Blue Card

Have you signed an employment contract with a company in Düsseldorf / Mettmann and wish to enter the country to take up your job? Do you already have a residence permit for employment in the Federal Republic of Germany? Applying for a Blue Card may be of interest to you if you meet certain requirements such as:

  • A completed university degree. If the degree was not obtained in Germany, it may be necessary to carry out a certificate assessment depending on the university and subject studied. You can find out whether your degree is recognised in Germany by checking the anabin database
  • A completed employment contract or a binding job offer with a certain annual gross salary (adjusted annually):
    • EUR 52,000
    • For understaffed professions: EUR 40,560. This refers to e.g. scientists, mathematicians, engineers etc. In this case, the Federal Employment Agency needs to check whether the conditions are identical for domestic workers. If the university degree was obtained in Germany, the approval of the Federal Employment Agency is not required.

The local immigration authority issues a Blue Card. If you are entering the country from a third country with a visa requirement, you first need to apply for a visa for employment. If you have already had a Blue Card from another EU member state for at least 18 months, you can also have a Blue Card issued in Germany.

The Blue Card can be valid for up to four years if the employment contract has a corresponding or longer term. Otherwise, the Blue Card is issued for the term of the contract plus three months. For the first two years, changing jobs is only possible with the approval of the immigration authority and if necessary the Federal Employment Agency.

The family members of a Blue Card holder are entitled to a residence permit plus work permit even if they do not have any knowledge of German.

Important documents that you need to apply for a Blue Card include:

  • passport
  • biometric photo measuring 35mm X 45 mm on a white background
  • university degree certificate
  • employment contract or binding job offer
  • completed form "Application for the issue of a residence permit"
  • Form "Application for permission to take up employment" (only necessary if the approval of the Federal Employment Agency is required)
  • Form "Job description" (necessary if approval of Federal Employment Agency is required)



Residence permit for the self-employed

An important basis for the issue of a residence permit is your business concept or business plan. The important aspects are:

  • The feasibility of the underlying business idea
  • The business experience of the respective foreign managing director
  • The level of investment and the capital available
  • The number of new jobs being created
  • The economic interest or regional need for the activities you intend to carry out


To apply, you need to submit the following documents at the German consulate or embassy in your home country or country of residence:

  • Application form (can be found on the German Embassy website in your home country)
  • Valid passport (valid for at least 6 months)
  • Current biometric photo
  • Registration certificate
  • Curriculum Vitae/résumé
  • Proof of qualifications
  • Proof of financial cover of your company
  • Proof of livelihood
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Articles of association of German company or trade register excerpt
  • Proof of share capital of the company to be founded
  • Pension scheme (if older than 45)
  • Comprehensive and detailed business plan including sound finances

The list of necessary documents may vary from country to country so this overview is neither complete nor legally binding. You should definitely enquire at the German Embassy in your home country to find out what specific requirements apply in your case.

After submitting the application in your home country, the immigration authority will be informed and asked to give an opinion on your application together with the IHK (German Chamber of Industry and Commerce) and the relevant municipal office for economic development. It can take up to three months to process your application.

If you have received your visa from the German Consulate or Embassy, you must replace your visa by a residence permit within 3 months of entry to Germany.

To do this, you need to take the following steps:

1.      Arrange an appointment with the immigration authority.

2.      Register your place of residence at the Registration Office. You will need to show the rental agreement/lease for your apartment.

3.      Personal appearance at the immigration authority on the agreed appointment date as fingerprints are taken for the residence card.

You need to bring these documents to the appointment:

  • Valid passport
  • Current biometric photo
  • Proof of health insurance (not travel insurance)
  • Proof of means of subsistence
  • Business plan including financial plan

You will be able to collect the electronic residence card from the immigration authority after 3–5 weeks. An authorised representative can collect this for you.