IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM LAW
Immigration, nationality and aliens
Immigration and residence in Germany is regulated
by the law on residence or Aufenthaltsgesetz.
Foreigners seeking to enter Germany must first
apply for a visa at the German embassy in their
country of origin. Visas may be granted for the
purpose of reuniting family members, language
or formal studies or work purposes.
The new residence law only allows for two kinds
of residence permit: the (temporary) permission
to stay or Aufenthaltserlaubnis and the (indefinite)
permission to remain or Niederlassungserlaubnis.
On first taking up residence it is usual for a
temporary permission to stay to be granted. After
five years residence it is possible to apply for
permission to remain. If the applicant is either
living with their German child in a family household
or is married to a German citizen or living with
a German in a registered partnership permission
to remain may be granted after just three years.
In exceptional circumstances, highly qualified
applicants may be granted indefinite permission
on first application.
We can advise you which professions do not require
special permission and which conditions have to
be fulfilled for you to obtain a work permit or
the unrestricted permission to seek work.
Marriages and registered partnerships with
Foreigners who want to get married in Germany
or enter into a registered partnership find themselves
confronted with a range of bureaucratic obstacles.
The situation is particularly complicated if the
foreigner only has temporary residence status
(Duldung) or protection against deportation as
a result of having sought asylum (Aufenthaltsgestattung).
Naturalization and acquisition of German nationality
After eight years legal residence in the Federal
Republic of Germany foreigners can apply to become
naturalized German citizens. In exceptional cases
this period may be reduced to seven years or three
years if the applicant is married to or in a registered
partnership with a German citizen and living with
his or her partner. A child of foreign parents
who has been born in Germany acquires German nationality
by birth if one parent has been resident in the
Federal Republic of Germany for eight years with
temporary permission to stay right or for three
years if he or she has permission to remain indefinitely.
Rights to political asylum
Those seeking protection from political persecution
can apply for asylum to the Federal Office for
Migration and Refugees. If their application is
rejected, they may take their case to the Administrative
Court. The short periods of time within which
legal recourse is open are very important and
must be taken into account.
We can defend you in criminal proceedings brought
for crimes which the law states can only be committed
by foreigners, for example so-called "phoney
marriage" or "illegal residence".