Moving to Germany With a Visa from Another EU-Country

Living in Italy, Spain or whichever other EU country and would like to relocate to Germany. After getting several questions to this regard, here’s what German migration law says about that and options you have if you want to move around within the EU.


The Law:

Short-Term Movement Within the EU

If you hold a valid EU or Schengen visa, you are allowed to travel freely within the EU without having to apply for a new visa. As long as your visa is valid, you can travel within the EU. This applies for a maximum stay of 90 days.

Long-Term Movement Within the EU

Movement within the EU and the potential settlement of a foreigner from one EU country into Germany is regulated by the Residence Act (AufenthG) § 38a.

If you plan to stay in another EU country other than where your visa was issued, for longer than 90 days, then you will need a visa from the country you are moving to. For example if you are based in Italy, with a valid long term visa but would want to move to Germany for longer than 90 days, you would need to apply for a long-term visa in Germany.

§38a (2) This does NOT apply to foreigners who:

  1. are sent by a service provider within the framework of a cross-border service,
  2. want to provide cross border services; or
  3. are employed as seasonal workers in the Federal territory or to take up employment as a border worker in the Federal territory.

For all other cases, the local Ausländerbehörde shall handle the application like for all other foreigners. For example if you are applying to join University, you will still be required to have a signatory (Verpflichtungserklärung) or the stipulated amount in your account before the visa is issued. Or for those applying for Ausbildung or a job, they will need the approval of the Job Agency (Arbeits Agentur) for the visa to be issued.

Furthermore §39 (4), the first work permit issued to such a foreigner is issued for a specific time period and may restrict employment to a certain company or location. However, these restrictions should only hold for a maximum period of twelve months and after the expiry of this period, the residence permit entitles the holder to pursue a employment without restriction.

Options Open to Foreigners Wanting to Move Within the EU

EU Blue Card

This is a great option for professionals within the EU and it gives you the option to move within the EU for the four years it is valid. However, to get the EU Blue Card, you will need a contract with a company in the country in which you apply for the card.

You can read more about the card here: EU Blue Card for the Professionals Introduced, you can compare the EU Blue Card to the Work Permit here: Work Permit (Arbeitserlaubnis) vs EU Blue Card for Foreign Students in Germany

Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU (Permanent EC Residence)

If you have already been living in the EU for a couple of years, the Permanent EC Residence Permit. It’s a permanent residence permit that not only allows you to live within the country you get it in, but within the whole EU.

You can read about the requirements here: What is the Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU (permanent EC residence)

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