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German law does not specify a particular amount that an investor must bring to Germany in order to obtain a residence permit.  From January 1, 2009, until July 31, 2012, German law allowed for the granting of a residence permit to a foreign entrepreneur who, in addition to meeting other criteria, invested at least €250,000 (about US$325,000) in a German venture that created at least five new jobs.[1]  A reform law that went into effect on August, 1, 2012,[2] eliminated these numerical conditions and entrepreneurs are currently admitted into Germany if an evaluation of their intended entrepreneurial activities indicates that there is a national or regional economic interest in their admission, the proposed activity would be favorable for the economy, and the financing of the venture has been guaranteed through the investors’ own funds or through promised loans.[3]

The law was changed because it was felt that specifying a threshold amount led to superficial evaluations of visa applications that did not analyze a proposed venture in terms of the validity of the business proposition, the entrepreneurial experience of the applicant, and the effect that the new venture would have on enhancing employment, training, and research.[4]  Now, as before the reform, the size of the investment is still a criterion, but no amount is specified.[5]

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Prepared by Edith Palmer
Chief, Foreign, Comparative,
and International Law Division II
August 2013

[1] Aufenthaltsgesetz (Residence Act) July 30, 2004, Bundesgesetzblatt [BGBl.] I at 1950, as in effect until July 31, 2012, § 21(1) sentence 2, translation as effective in 2011 and as provided by the Federal Ministry of Justice available at

[2] Gesetz zur Umsetzung der Hochqualifizierten-Richtlinie der Europäischen Union, June 1, 2012, BGBl. I at 1224.

[3] Residence Act, § 21, as in effect since August 1, 2012.  The new version of section 21(1) is identical to the former version, except for the omission of sentence 2, which specified an investment amount of €250,000 (about US$325,000) and insisted on the creation of five new jobs.

[4] Hinweise des Bundesministeriums des Inneren zu wesentlichen Änderungen durch das Gesetz zur Umsetzung der Hochqualifizierten-Richtlinie (Remarks of the Federal Ministry of the Interior on Substantial Changes through the Act Transposing the Directive on Highly Qualified Employees), Bundesministerium des Inneren [Federal Ministry of the Interior], Auslaender/hochqualifiziertenrichtlinie.pdf?__blob=publicationFile (last visited July 19, 2013).

[5] Residence Act, as currently in effect, § 21(1).