I have a European citizenship, what permissions do I need to enter and live in Germany?
People who belong to the European Union have the right to enter other EU countries at any time, to reside in any place of their choice (right to freedom of movement) and to settle there in the pursuance of their own goals (freedom to settle). Citizens of EEA countries who are not EU citizens are treated as equal to EU citizens with regard to freedom of movement (§12 FreizügG). So just move in.
Can you describe me a bit more what kind of privilege you are talking about?
The privilege of European status is that your right to be must be explicitly denied and the denial needs to be based on very strong arguments. These strong arguments must have to come from reasons of public order (committing many severe crimes), security (e.g. suicide bomber) or health (very contagious disease, e.g. ebola).
What formalities do I have to consider, when I want to live in Germany?
You just have to register your physical address at the "Meldeamt" of your municipality. Your stay in Germany is not subject to any permission! You enjoy the freedom of movement (Directive 2004/38/EC! You do not need to visit immigration! If immigration has an issue with you, rely that they will contact you.
Are there really no restrictions for Europeans to live in Germany?
Well, I would not really say restrictions but more expectations of the authority. Citizens of the Union enjoy the freedom of movement for
- working in Germany either as employee, freelancer or as a comany,
- searching for a job,
- receiving services,
- for other reasons (e.g. studying, living on retirment) when able to show the requirements of §4 FreizgG.
My spouse is however not from the EU? What about him? Does he not need a residence visa? Does he not need anything at all?
Non-EU family members enjoy the freedom of movement when accompaning or joining that European family member in direct line and when they can show sufficient health insurance and sufficient funds for their livelihood. If the EU ciitzen is visiting a university in Germany, then only the spouse (hetero or homo) who are receiving alimony resp. support.
What about these Non-EU family members, they just come and no formalities what so ever?
Oh, this would be a nightmare for the beraucrats if there were no formalities. Since third-country citizens should be able to show this status they have to receive a certificate (Aufenthaltskarte) on this European status within six months after all documents have been submitted (§5 I FreizügG/EU). This certificate is to be valid for at least five years. The office may only demand to see from the non-EU adult a proof of (self-)employment or of sufficient funds to finance your living in Germany, health insurance. Practically, some case deciders still consider these documentation as a residence permit... Also keep in mind, this card does not grant but only documents your freedom of movement!
Coming from Switzerland, I want to live for a while in Germany. What am I required to do? Do I need to obtain a residence permit?
You will generally be treated as a European Community citizen. Okay, Switzerland does not belong to the European Union but based on a “bilateral” treaty, Swiss are considered as if they were European.
I have been living here for six years with my spouse and kids. Not planning to return, what do I need to stay here permanently?
Nothing! After five years, you and your dependants have the permission to remain here permanently. However, Non-Europeans still have to apply for the recognition of this status.
What do you mean for other reasons?
Persons coming in for other reasons are
- old-age pensioners,
- those direct relatives that support their supported children,
- (grand)parents being supported by the European.
Which family members may follow students?
These persons are exclusively the spouse or long-term partner and their children, who are entitled to their support.
Is this permanent residence permission not somewhat hypocritical? I can’t be expelled anyhow. The thing is that European law is superior to German law which gives me this freedom. Can Germany take this away from me?
No, it is not really hypocritical. National sovereignty has not been abolished. Europeans are subject to expulsion if they become a danger to public order, security, or health. The law does not talk of expulsion in these cases but of an ascertainment of loss of the freedom of movement. The standards to meet these prerequisites are high. There must be real and sufficiently severe endangerment, which would touch basic interests of society. This danger must also come from your actions. If you do not voluntarily leave, you will be expelled. No, do not worry; if you got a bunch of speeding or parking tickets. They do not jeopardize your residency status though they do your driver’s license. But, if you start dealing with anthrax, women, etc. that will give grounds for expulsion.
My non-EU member of my family was refused entry because she allegedly needed a visa. I though family members were allowed entry. What’s going on?
Just belonging to an EU family does not mean that these third-country persons have the same rights as members do. They are almost as much subject to the normal rules as if they were entering independently (§4 IV 2 FreizügG/EU). When you show the authorities, that you have been living together at home and plan to do so here, then you will easily get the permit. In other words, when the non-EU is sent off to Germany without the EU partner, then no privilege exists.
My EU family member passed away, will they now kick me out, just because I am not EU?
Generally, not! §4a FreizügG/EU allows you a permanent right of residence, when your European family member
- resided here during the last two years before dying,
- died due to an accident at work or occupational disease,