So you’re looking to immigrate to Germany. 
What an absolutely exciting time that must be for you. And also a bit stressful, we get it. Luckily, we specialize in it. So here is a breakdown of the main 3 phases of your immigration process. 
First things first. Let us define a few key terms we will be using throughout this article. 


Visa Nationals: Nationals who must apply for an entry visa for Germany as well as a work permit (Some Nationals can travel to Germany for tourism purposes without a visa, but would require one for work purposes.)

Non–Visa Nationals: Can enter Germany as a visitor under the Schengen allowance, for 90 days within a rolling period of 180 days.

Privileged Nationals: Nationals who can apply in-country (U.S.A, Israel, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, and Northern Ireland).

Consulate: processes applications on behalf of Germany, final say stays with the local immigration authorities. 

EU Blue Card: The predominant permit for local hires in Germany. If requirements for the EU Blue Card are not met, an individual can apply for either the Specialist work permit or a general work permit. 

Let’s take it from the top. 

Phase 1 

You signed your contract with your dream company in Germany. Congratulations! It is not a small thing to get through the process and neither is the fact that you’re willing to pack your whole life and get started again in Germany. 

However, it is now the time to start gathering all the necessary documents for your new position and life in Germany. 

If you are a visa national, chances are you will need to get your diploma recognized. If you already went to Anabin and your diploma is there, your process will be done very fast. If that is not the case, then the ZAB process needs to be initiated. You can expect this process to take up to 42 days. Better start early! 

Phase 2

If you are immigrating from anywhere outside of the European Union, you will need a visa and a Blue Card to be able to work in Germany. 

As soon as your diploma recognition process is complete, you can go ahead and start your process, as you can expect it to take up to 17 days. 

 You can apply in your country of residence, at the German consulate. Once achieved, the Blue Card visa is valid for 6 months. After this, a new application must be done once in Germany, which will secure the next 4 years. 

This process requires quite a bit of preparation from your side. Here are the requirements:

  1. Visa fee in cash – EUR 75;
  2. 2 copies of the signed application form;
  3. Biometric photos (recent);
  4. Valid passport;
  5. Valid residence permit in your country of residence (if applicable);
  6. University diploma and school transcripts (original + 2 copies);
  7. ZAB diploma recognition (original + 2 copies);
  8. An employer form to be completed and signed (original + 2 copies);
  9. Your work contract in original (original + 2 copies);
  10. Health and travel insurance;
  11. Optional, but to be safe and avoid delays – hotel/temp accommodation.

While working on all of these, you should also be thinking about a huge part of your new life in Germany: your house. Single, with a smaller or bigger family, having a house is a crucial step in the immigration process. Your company may be able to help with this process through their HR department or by contracting a relocation company or agent. 

Of course, you can also do your own research and choose who will be your support system in this part of the process. Applying for and getting a home in Germany is a time-consuming part of the immigration process and should be considered carefully. 

Once you have these secured, you’re good to go onto the next step of your immigration journey. 

Phase 3

You finally reached Germany and your first day of work was absolutely great. Two months pass on and you’re learning your way around your city and life in Germany

It is now the time to apply for the extension of the Blue Card. 

Documents to consider:

  1. Application form (Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels);
  2. Employer confirmation (Erklärung zum Beschäftigungsverhältnis);
  3. Work contract copy;
  4. Last 2 salary payslips;
  5. Diploma recognition;
  6. Study diplomas;
  7. Visa copy;
  8. Passport copy;

The application package must be submitted to the local Foreigner’s Office and you will have to wait for an appointment confirmation. Here you will receive a temporary sticker called Fiktionsbescheinigung, which allows you to still work and travel until the Blue Card card is ready and delivered to your address.

The new card has a validity of 4 years. After this, you will be able to apply for a permanent residence card. Winning! 

If your accompanying family stayed in the home country until now, they will have to go through the same process for the visa and the Blue Card extension, but only after your process for these has been finalized. 

Extra things to keep in mind: 
  1. Once again, the house search process, to demonstrate to the Foreigner’s Office that you have a permanent space for the family.
  2.  Their immigration process first (4-5 months after your work contract has started).

There are a few things that will make your marriage partner’s (if you have one) life easier as you all transition into your new life in Germany:

  1. They do not need to demonstrate German language skills for the visa application (benefit of the Blue Card);
  2. They will have free access to the German labor market and can start any job right away (available job candidate for the spouse’s employer).

In very great lines, this is the immigration to Germany process timeline. Of course, depending on the country you’re coming from, other procedures may be required and sometimes some steps may require more patience from your side. 

It’s important that during those times you stay focused on your end goal, keep your energy at a steady level and put your trust in the people working with you towards your dreams. 

As mentioned already, a relocation agent can support you in this process and many other aspects of getting into your new life in Germany. But don’t take our words for it, take the words of our past clients. 

Until a next post, bis später.