When can you get EU citizenship?

Citizens of the member states of the European Union (Union citizens) 1 and their family members enjoy freedom of movement and have the right to enter and stay in the Federal Republic of Germany.

The same applies to nationals of the states of the European Economic Area (EEA) 2 and similarly for citizens of Switzerland.

1Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary, Cyprus

2 Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein

overview

Entry and residence
Work
Right of permanent residence
Certificate of freedom of movement
Integration course
Citizens of Switzerland and their family members

We have set up an online registration process for UK nationals who already live in Berlin.
You can find information on this in our special section.

  • For EU citizens and citizens of the EEA states, a valid identity card is sufficient for entry and residence, a passport is not required.
  • No visa is required for entry.
  • If you want to stay in Germany for more than three months, you must register for the residential address at a citizens' office of your choice after moving to Berlin.
  • A residence permit is not required if you enjoy freedom of movement as an employed person or as a non-employed person with sufficient means of subsistence. It is therefore only possible in exceptional cases to apply for a residence permit.
  • Family members who are not citizens of a member state of the European Union or the European Economic Area receive a Residence card. This can only be issued at the State Immigration Office.
Exists after three months of residence only then a right of free movement, when a
  • Employment or training is carried out
  • a job is sought (usually only possible for 6 months)
  • a right of permanent residence has been acquired
  • or if you have sufficient means of subsistence and health insurance

Union citizens and citizens of the EEA as well as their family members from third countries can take up any self-employed activity or employment. A separate permit or certificate is not required. In this respect, they are treated equally to German employees.
Since July 1st, 2015 this also applies to Croatian citizens.

Union citizens and citizens of the EEA as well as their family members are entitled to permanent residence,
  • if you have lived in Germany continuously for at least 5 years and
  • have exercised a right of free movement throughout this period as an employed or non-employed with sufficient means of subsistence
More information about this:

The right to permanent residence expires if you leave Germany for more than 2 years. Please contact us for more information if you intend to stay abroad for a longer period of time.

  • Due to a change in the Freedom of Movement Act / EU at the beginning of 2013, certificates of freedom of movement will no longer be issued. There are also no other certificates issued about a given right of free movement.
  • In any case, the certificate of freedom of movement was never required to exercise a right (e.g. gainful employment) or to complete administrative formalities.
  • If you are asked by other bodies to have us confirm your right to free movement, please refer to our information sheet on the discontinuation of the certificate of free movement

Union citizens and their family members have no legal right to participate in an integration course.

The State Office for Immigration can contact Union citizens and their family members no authorization certificates for integration courses exhibit. Applications or interviews aimed at this are therefore pointless.

Admission to an integration course is possible, however, if there are free places with an integration course provider. The application for admission must be submitted in writing to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

You can find the necessary forms and information on the BAMF website.

On the basis of the agreement between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation, Swiss citizens and their family members enjoy a right based on the freedom of movement for Union citizens.

  • A valid identity card is sufficient for entry and residence, a passport is not required.
  • No visa is required for entry.
  • Any employment can be taken up.
  • Swiss nationals and their family members receive a Residence permit Switzerlandif you want to stay in the Federal Republic of Germany for more than three months.