Visas and Residence Permits for People Moving to Germany

What you need to know

First thing to know is that there is a difference between a VISA and a RESIDENCE PERMIT.

A VISA states WHY you are entering Germany. For example, to work as an employee or self-employed, to study, to get married, to engage in artistic activity etc. ALL non-EU citizens must have a visa if staying longer than three months.

A RESIDENCE PERMIT is the PERMISSION to stay longer than three months! The German terms are AUFENTHALTSERLAUBNIS or AUFENHALTSTITELN.

It is essential as a non-EU citizen  to apply for this soon after you arrive in Germany and to go to your local AUSLÄNDERAMT (Foreigner´s Office ). EU citizens are not required to go through this unless they are trying to obtain a residence permit for their non-EU spouse.

Non-EU citizens are required to prove they have a health insurance contract approved of by the German Financial Supervisory Authority – known as BaFin. The health insurance provider will issue a document to prove its legality if it is a German insurance and if it´s a non-German provider, we at Gunn & Partner will provide a so-called Bescheinigung in German.

Registration of residence (Anmeldung)

Everyone living in Germany, including Germans, is required to register their address but this has nothing to do with health insurance. It is simply proof of where you will be living. You also have to reregister (UMMELDEN ) if you change your address. Failure to do this can result in a fine. You do this process at a so-called BÜRGERAMT (Citizens´ Office ). Take a few euros, proof of address  and your  passport, wait in the queue and then, eventually, you will be issued  a so-called EINWOHNERMELDESCHEIN ( RESIDENCE CERTIFICATE ).

ESSENTIAL: if you leave Germany, you MUST de-register to be able to cancel ANY contract – whether public or private health insurance, mobile phone contracts, fitness studio contracts – the works!

Disclaimer: we at Gunn & Partner are NOT immigration lawyers and have no legal powers to assist you with disputes with an Ausländeramt EXCEPT if there are disagreements with the authorities vis-à-vis the legality of your health insurance, in which case we can provide assistance.

For complex issues re your visa status, we would recommend you contact a professional immigration lawyer.