Neuschwanstein Castle
Bureaucracy

Non-EU Citizen? No Problem!

A Comprehensive Guide to the Visa Process and getting your Residence Permit in Nuremberg, Germany.

DISCLAIMER: This article was put together using a combination of information available from the immigration authority’s website as well as our own Non-EU English Posters’ practical experiences from undergoing the process itself.
Information is subject to change. For the most accurate and up to date information, please contact or visit the website of the Nuremberg immigration authority (Ausländerbehörde). See sources at the end of this article.


For those of you fellow Non-EU citizens who have recently arrived in Nuremberg or those who are planning to move soon – Congratulations! Moving to Germany, especially as a Non-EU citizen, is an incredibly brave and bold move and you should be proud of taking this step.

Whether you’ve already arrived or will be arriving in Nuremberg for a new job, study program or for personal reasons – having to acclimatize to a new language, culture, and way of life is daunting enough without the added pressure of having to go through the bureaucratic residence permit application process – especially without a solid command of the German language.

This is an easy-to-follow guide to applying for or renewing a residence permit after arriving in Germany – put together by those of us who have gone through it many, many times before.

Note: This article applies to people registered as living in Nuremberg. The exact process may differ for those living in Erlangen, other cities in the region, and regions in and outside of Bavaria.

This article is organized as follows:

Where do I even begin? – The Overall Process

The new MeinNürnberg – speeding up your residence permit application since 2020

The Various Types of Residence Permits – Which one is for me?


Where do I even begin? – The Overall Process

Just trying to figure out where to start can be overwhelming. The next sections will describe the application process and the different types of permits available – But first, here is what your overall application process may look like, regardless of which permit you choose:

  • Step 1: Submit your Initial Application (See steps in the next section!)
  • Step 2: Receive a letter requesting documents – you are then given roughly a month to submit them.
  • Step 3: Submit the requested documents
  • Step 4: Receive a letter with the first in-person appointment
  • Step 5: Go to the first in-person appointment – take processing fees, ID, and biometric photo. Sign any documents required, provide fingerprints. Receive the second appointment to pick up your Residence Permit (The second appointment is about five weeks after the first appointment). If necessary: Receive your Fiktionsbescheinigung (See explanation below).
  • Step 6: Go to the second in-person appointment – receive your Residence Permit!

In-person appointments take place at Hirschelgasse 32, 90403 Nuremberg. This is within walking distance from the U-Bahn Rathenauplatz, line U2 and U3. Be prepared to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment and bring cash or an EC (debit) card for payment! Credit cards are not accepted.

Never submit original documents – always submit copies! You will not get the originals back.

Without the MeinNürnberg account, the whole residence permit process from start to finish can take as long as five months. Hence we strongly recommend applying for your residence permit online using the MeinNürnberg portal.

If your previous residence permit or entry visa expires before you receive your new one, you will be issued a Fiktionsbescheinigung – a temporary document allowing you to remain in the country until your residence card is issued. Careful – if this is your first residence permit application, you may not be allowed to leave the country until you receive your actual Residence Permit Card. If you’re unsure, please ask the immigration worker present upon receiving your Fiktionsbescheinigung.


The new MeinNürnberg – speeding up your residence permit application since 2020

If you’ve arrived in Nuremberg or need to renew your residence permit in 2020, consider yourself lucky – Despite COVID-19 (perhaps even because of it), there is a silver lining!

Since 2020, the city of Nuremberg has created a new online portal for submitting your visa/residence permit applications, among other things.

The system has vastly accelerated the speed with which you would typically communicate with the Ausländerbehörde. While you can still apply for your residence permit by mail or submit an online application without having an account, we strongly recommend creating a MeinNürnberg account. Without an account, there is no way to know about the progress of your application. Getting in touch with workers in the immigration office can be difficult and time-consuming – it can take anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks, without any communication in between. For newcomers, this uncertainty can be incredibly unnerving – especially for those with a temporary three month visa.

In case the MeinNürnberg registration seems a bit confusing, we have created simple step-by-step instructions you can follow below:

Registration

STEP 1: Initial Registration

  1. To register, simply go to https://meinkonto.nuernberg.de to access the login and registration page.
  2. On the right side, click Zugang zu MeinNürnbergerstellen.
  3. Start by entering your email address and accepting the Nutzungsbedingungen (Terms and Conditions).
  4. Next, an email will be sent to the email address you provided. Check your email and click on the activation link. Be sure to check your spam and junk folders if it hasn’t arrived in your inbox.
  5. After clicking the activation link, you’ll be brought to “Registrierung eines Zugangs (Schritt 2 von 2).
  6. Click “Identifizieren”.
  7. If you have an online-activated ID, select “Neuer Personalausweis”; otherwise select the (more common) “Manuelle Eingabe”.
  8. Put in your personal information and click “Weiter”.
  9. Check that the information is correct and click “Weiter”.
  10. Pick a password (Needs to be between 8 and 32 characters, requires minimum one capital letter, one number and a special character), then click “Weiter”.
  11. Enter a valid phone number in order to receive a text message with a confirmation code. Then click “Weiter”.
  12. Check your phone, and enter the code from the text message into the TAN field. Then click “Weiter”.
  13. You will be brought back to the home page.

STEP 2: Log in and download the Bestätigungsdokument

  1. Log in under “Anmeldung” to your new MeinNürnberg account with your email and password at https://meinkonto.nuernberg.de
  2. Enter the TAN that is sent to your phone.
  3. On the right side under Zugangsdaten, click on “Bestätigungsdokument herunterladen”. You will need this later.

STEP 3: Confirm your Identity. Due to COVID-19, it is possible to confirm your identity online by uploading your ID (rather than in person). Note that it may take a few days for your identity to be confirmed.

  1. Click here: https://online-service2.nuernberg.de/intelliform/forms/n/110_dip/110_dip_d_freischalt_c/index
  2. You will be brought to the page stating “Nachweise online übermitteln”
  3. Enter your name and email address, then upload your ID as well as the “Bestätigungsdokument” or “Laufzettel” that you had to download before. Then click “Weiter.”
  4. Your registration process is complete!

It will take a few days for MeinNürnberg to confirm your identity. You will receive an email stating when it has been confirmed, and then you can use your account freely!

Applying for your Permit Online

Once your identity has been verified, you can start with your application! Follow these steps:

  1. Log in under “Anmeldung” to your new MeinNürnberg account with your email and password at https://meinkonto.nuernberg.de
  2. Enter the TAN that is sent to your phone and click “TAN überprüfen und anmelden”.
  3. To apply for a new permit, click on “Meine Vorgänge”.
  4. Click “Neues Vorhaben”.
  5. Fill in your information and select the permit you wish to apply for. Follow the given steps. This part is relatively straightforward.
  6. To view your existing permit application, click on Meine Vorgänge > Laufende Vorgänge.

And that’s it! You can apply and view your residence permit applications online from now on! All correspondence from the Ausländerbehörde will now appear on your online account, and you will receive an email when there have been changes made. Similarly, all documents must be submitted online via your account.


The Various Types of Residence Permits – Which one is for me?

The Student Visa/Residence Permit

If you’ve been accepted into a study program in Germany, you will need to apply for a student residence permit upon arrival in Germany.

Here are the documents you will likely need – this may vary between individuals and may differ if it’s the first permit application or application for renewal:

  • Passport
  • Current Biometric photo
  • Proof of enrollment at the university (Immatrikulationsbescheinigung)
  • Proof of Health Insurance
  • Processing fees up to approx. 130 euros
  • Proof of German language skills (may be necessary for the first application)
  • Proof of sufficient funds to live in Germany (see information
    below
    )

Having sufficient funds to live in Germany is the most important and trickiest part when getting your student residence permit – especially if it’s your first time applying. Although there are a few ways to prove you have enough money to live in Germany, the easiest and most popular way is by setting up a Sperrkonto (Blocked Account).

A Sperrkonto is a bank account that restricts users from withdrawing more than a certain amount of money specified by the immigration authority.

As of 2020, the minimum amount required by the immigration authority is 853 euros per month.

To get a residence permit for 1 year, you will need to “block” a minimum of 10,236 euros. That means: have that amount of money sitting in your bank account (doing nothing, sadly), without being able to completely access the funds. The most you can withdraw every month is 853 euros. The only way you can withdraw more money is if you deposit more into your account.

You can also block less than 10,236 per year – however, your residence permit will last only as long as the funds you have, and you’ll end up having to renew it sooner. This isn’t recommended, as every time you renew your permit you have to pay up to 130 euros in processing fees.

Careful, though – you can’t open a Blocked Account at any ordinary bank. You need to be sure that the bank you choose even offers a Sperrkonto to begin with!

Either Deutsche Bank or the Sparkasse are the usual options available to international students:

  • Sparkasse offers a Sperrkonto for free – but not every branch offers them! Therefore, inquire at your local Sparkasse if they offer blocked accounts before opening your account there!
  • Every Deutsche Bank branch offers blocked accounts – at a fee of 150
    euros per year!

Regardless of which bank you choose – carefully consider the pros and cons and inquire about the procedure involved.

Note: There are other ways to show you have the required funds besides having a Sperrkonto. For example, have someone in Germany sponsor and support you financially, show funds from a scholarship, or have a parent submit documents certifying their income and financial assets. That being said, having a blocked account is by far the easiest and quickest solution.

With a Student Residence Permit, you can:

  • Travel freely within, to, and out of Europe.
  • Work a (student) job in Germany for a maximum of 240 half days or 120 full days per year. This information is located on the Zusatzblatt (additional paper) that comes with your Residence Permit Card.

Note: If your study program lasts for several years, you’ll have to keep renewing your residence permit every year. If you have the funds and your bank allows you to block accounts beyond one year, it’s possible to get a permit which lasts longer than one year.


The Job Search Permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis nach dem Studium zum Zweck der Arbeitsplatzsuche)

Have you recently graduated from a German University? Congratulations! Didn’t find a job yet? – No worries! The Job Search Permit is intended for international students who have successfully finished their studies at a German university and gives them the chance to search for a job for
up to 18 months.

The application procedure is very similar to getting a Student Residence Permit. You will need:

  • Passport
  • Biometric photo
  • Proof of Health Insurance
  • University Degree
  • Sperrkonto (up to 18 months – can also be for less time)
  • Processing fee up to approx. 130 euros.

You can renew this permit for up to a maximum duration of 18 months. For example, if you only have enough funds for 8 months, you can get it for the first 8 months but are eligible to renew it for the remaining 10 months (provided you have the funds available at that point).

With this permit, you can take on full-time employment.


The Blue Card

The Blue Card (Blaue Karte) is a work permit which lasts up to 4 years. It enables Non-EU citizens with an academic degree and a job offer to work in Germany.

Requirements when applying for a Blue Card are as follows:

  • A completed university degree or equivalent. This can either be acquired in Germany or abroad – as long as it is recognized in Germany.
  • A binding job offer or employment contract.
  • A specific minimum annual salary. Since 2020 the minimum gross annual incomes are:
    • 55,200 euros for any occupation.
    • 43,056 euros for an occupation in the fields of mathematics, IT, natural sciences, engineering, or medicine (not including dentistry).

The Blue Card has many advantages. EU Blue Card holders can:

  • Bring their spouses to Germany even if they do not speak German.
  • Apply for permanent residence (Niederlassungserlaubnis) after 33 months if their German level is at least A1 or 21 months if their German level is at least B1.
  • Take up employment in another EU country after 18 months. Similarly, if you hold a blue card in another EU country (except for Denmark and Ireland), you can move to Germany for work – however, the EU Blue Card has to be applied for again at the immigration office here within a month of entering the country.

Things to take note of:

  • With the Blue Card, you have to notify the immigration authority if you want to change jobs within
    the first 2 years.
  • If you lose your job, you need to find a new one within 3 months in order to stay in Germany!

So, what documents do you need to provide?

  • Job contract
  • Academic degree or equivalent
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Sample payslip (Probelohnabrechnung)
  • Copy of your lease
  • Proof of heating costs (Nachweis über Heizkosten)
  • A Wohnraumbestätigung:
    • A form your landlord has to sign confirming the size and cost of your living space.
  • An Arbeitsbescheinigung:
    • A form confirming information such as your job title and salary, which needs to be signed by your employer.
  • A Stellenbeschreibung der Bundesagentur für Arbeit
    • A form regarding your job position which needs to be signed by your employer.
  • Zustimmung der Arbeitsagentur (ZAV) zum Arbeitsmarktzugang (soweit vorliegend)
    • It is not necessary to submit this form, but if you already have it, it will speed up your application process. For shortage occupations (in IT, engineering, etc.), the Federal Employment Agency needs to provide its approval for recruitment. This is to ensure that foreign workers are given the same working conditions and benefits as German workers.

Is there a permit you have to apply for which we didn’t cover? Leave us a comment! Note that more permit types are coming soon!

Still confused about the process? Do you have some specific questions? We recommend:

1) Contacting the Immigration Authority

Due to COVID-19, in-person consultations are not possible without an appointment. You can try calling 0911 2310. This is the number for the Einwohneramt (Residents’ registration office), however, it is possible to be connected to the immigration authority. If the call center employee you are speaking to refuses to connect you, ask if someone from immigration can call you back at a later time – usually within 1 to 2 days. Note that good German language skills are strongly recommended!

2) Checking out our FAQ Article about all things regarding the bureaucratic process in Nuremberg! (COMING SOON!)

Our FAQ will answer some of the following questions:

  • Can I speak to immigration workers in English?
  • When do I need to renew my residence permit?
  • I got an appointment – now what?
  • Help! My (temporary) visa/residence permit is about to expire, and I still haven’t received my new one yet!
  • I just graduated from a German university! Which permit should I apply for next?
  • Help! I don’t have all the documents required for my permit!

…and more!

Sources:

  1. www.bamf.de/bluecard
  2. https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/en/german-labour-market
  3. https://www.nuernberg.de/internet/auslaenderbehoerde/aufenthaltstitel.html
  4. https://www.nuernberg.de/internet/auslaenderbehoerde/studium_und_ausbildung.html
  5. https://www.nuernberg.de/internet/auslaenderbehoerde/waehrend_des_studiums.html
  6. https://arbeiten-in-deutschland.info/aufenthaltsrechtliche-grundlagen/drittstaaten/arbeiten-nach-dem-studium/
  7. https://www.deutsche-bank.de/pk/konto-und-karte/konten-im-ueberblick/internationale-studenten1.html
  8. https://www.sparkasse.de/themen/studium/sperrkonto.html
  9. https://www.study-in-germany.de/en/plan-your-studies/requirements/proof-of-financial-resources_27533.php

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