BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - EU citizens / EEA citizens / Swiss citizens

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EU citizens / EEA citizens / Swiss citizens

If you are a national of the European Union (also known as Union citizens) entitled to freedom of movement, you have unrestricted access to the German labour market. You and your family members need a visa or a residence permit neither to enter the country nor to work in Germany (section 2 of the Freedom of Movement Act/EU).

Exceptions apply to nationals of Croatia with regard to the free movement of workers based on the Accession Treaty which was signed on 1 July 2013 upon Croatia joining the EU. In accordance with this Treaty, the free movement of workers with regard to Croats is restricted in accordance with the so-called 2+3+2 regulation with the effect that Croats require an EU work permit [Arbeitserlaubnis-EU] which is issued by the Federal Employment Agency [Bundesagentur]. As a citizen of the EU, they do not however require an entry visa or a residence permit for their stay.

Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA: These are the Member States of the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) have equal status with EU citizens who have an unrestricted entitlement to freedom of movement (section 12 of the Freedom of Movement Act/EU [Freizügig¬keits¬gesetz/EU – FreizügG/EU]) and their family members.

All you need to enter the country is a valid passport or identity card (section 2 subs. 5 of the Freedom of Movement Act/EU). Just like German nationals, you have to register your residence at the residents’ registration office in the town in which you live within three months of entering the country.

An exception relates to family members of EU and EEA citizens who themselves are not nationals of the Union, the EEA or Switzerland: In order to enter Germany, they require a visa in accordance with the legal provisions applying to foreigners, to whom the Residence Act applies. They then receive a "residence card" from the aliens authority (Ausländerbehörde) in Germany (section 2 subs. 4 sentence 2 of the Freedom of Movement Act/EU).

Nationals of Switzerland and their family members also enjoy freedom of movement within the EU, but must apply for a special purely declaratory residence permit for Swiss nationals (section 28 of the Residence Act).

Which aliens authority (Ausländerbehörde) is responsible is determined by where you will be living in Germany.

Date 17 June 2013

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