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IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM LAW

Immigration, nationality and aliens

Immigration and residence in Germany is regulated by the law on residence or Aufenthaltsgesetz.


Visa issues

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.

Residence permits

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.

Work permits

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
foreign partners

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
by birth

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.

Criminal law

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".

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