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South Africans in Germany

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Germany is a popular destination for immigrants from all over the world due to its strong economy and high standard of living. The country has a long history of immigration, with the first wave of immigrants arriving in the 1950s and 1960s to help rebuild the country.
Today, Germany is home to a diverse population of immigrants. In recent years, the country has seen an increase in refugees and asylum seekers, with over 1.5 million people seeking asylum in Germany since 2015.

The German government has implemented various policies and programs to manage immigration and integration, including language and job training programs for immigrants, as well as measures to combat discrimination and xenophobia. One of the most significant changes in recent years has been the introduction of the Skilled Immigration Act in 2020, which aims to attract highly skilled workers from outside the European Union to fill labour shortages in various industries.

Our “I want to work or live in Germany” page summarises all your options to legally come to Germany

I want to work or live in Germany

Important facts South African citizens need a visa to travel to Germany and a residence permit to stay longer than 90 days A visa allows you to enter the country, you apply for your visa at the German Embassy in South Africa. You must apply for the correct long-stay visa, this is linked to the residence permit you will apply for once you are in Germany. For a list of long-stay visas and their relevant information please view our long-stay visas page. After arriving in Germany, you need to register at the Foreigners Office (Ausländerbehörde) Thereafter you need to apply for a residence permit (Aufenhaltstitel or Aufenhaltserlaubnis), which


It is essential to obtain the appropriate visa before your departure. A visa is a legal requirement that allows foreigners to enter and stay in Germany for a limited duration.
Depending on your nationality, the purpose of your trip, and the length of stay, you may need to apply for a Schengen visa (Type C) or a national visa (Type D).
It is advisable to research the requirements and gather all the necessary documents well in advance. An incomplete application or missing documents could lead to a delay or rejection of your application. With the proper visa in hand, you can enjoy your visit to Germany with peace of mind and the ability to fully immerse yourself in the country’s culture and beauty.

Family Reunification Visa

“German citizens or citizens from non-EU countries who have an Aufenthaltserlaubnis (residence permit) or a Niederlassungserlaubnis (settlement permit) are allowed to bring their relatives to

List of Long Stay Visas

Long Term visas are seen as visits longer than 90 days and will typically be for work or study visits. If your application is approved,

List of Short stay Visas

According to the German Embassy in South Africa, “South African passport holders require a visa to enter Germany.  It is important to note that if you

Visa application tips

We are not immigration agents, and your first point of contact should always be the German embassy or consulate in South Africa.Most of the information


The Residence Act is the primary legal framework for immigration in Germany. It sets out the conditions under which non-German citizens can enter and reside in the country. The act distinguishes between different types of visas, such as short-term and long-term visas, and regulates the rights and obligations of foreign residents, including their access to social benefits. There are two types of Residence permits in Germany. The one is an Aufenthaltserlaubnis/Temporary Residence and the other is a Niederlassungserlaubnis/permanent residence.

Legal Basis

  • The German AufenthG (Gesetz über den Aufenthalt, die Erwerbstätigkeit und die Integration von Ausländern im Bundesgebiet ) can be found on the website of the Bundesministerium der Justiz
  • There is also an English version of the Act on Residence, Economic Activity and Integration of Foreigners in the Federal Territory
Temp Aufenthalt

Residence in Germany

A Visa allows you to enter Germany, and stay for no more than 90 days in a 180-day cycle.When you want to stay in Germany for longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for the correct visa in your home country and once you are in Germany, apply for the subsequent residence permit (Aufenhaltstitel) at the competent Aliens Authority in Germany. There are two types of residence permits in Germany: Temporary  – Your first type of residence in Germany will always be temporary. You can only apply for permanent residence once certain conditions are met.   Permanent –  may be granted in the form of a Settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) or Permanent EC


Foreigners who wish to become German citizens must meet certain requirements, including a minimum period of residence in Germany, fluency in the German language, and knowledge of German culture and history. Applicants must also renounce their current citizenship, unless they are from an EU country or Switzerland. The naturalization process can take several years, and applicants must pass a citizenship test and demonstrate good conduct.

Overall, the immigration process in Germany can be complex and time-consuming. However, with careful planning and preparation, foreigners can successfully navigate the process and enjoy all that Germany has to offer.

Ways of obtaining German citizenship

Please note: Although the information on this website has been prepared with the utmost care, we cannot accept any responsibility for inaccuracies contained herein. Always refer to the official websites for up-to-date information.  The German Cabinet approved the new legislation to allow Dual Citizenship.  The new law comes into effect on  26 June 2024. This page will then be updated as wellHere is a link to the changes (in German).   A summary of the proposed changes:  Multiple citizenship will be allowed, there is no need to renounce your South African citizenship anymore. This also means you will have to apply for retention of your South African citizenship. If you meet the

Resources and Support Services

Germany offers various governmental assistance programs to immigrants to help them integrate into society. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) provides language courses, vocational training, and job placement services to immigrants. The courses are offered in various languages, including German, English, and French. The BAMF also offers counselling services to immigrants on various topics, such as housing, education, and healthcare.

The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) also provides assistance to immigrants. The BMAS offers job placement services, vocational training, and financial assistance to immigrants who are unemployed or underemployed. The ministry also provides information on social benefits and pensions.

Make it in Germany is the portal of the Federal Government for skilled workers from abroad. Find information on jobs, visa & living in Germany!

Learning German

There are several approaches to learn German, all of which can help you achieve your language learning goals. You can opt for convenient online sites

Immigration Assistance

The following companies can assist with immigration.

Ask Carl

Our intuitive immigration software is FREE and guides you through every process. We also assist South Africans looking to emigrate to Germany with cost-effective, streamlined


The following companies can assist with obtaining documentation.


Get South African apostilles, police clearances, birth/marriage certificates, legalisations and much more quickly and efficiently through our legal service. We have helped thousands of people

Doc Assist

Embark on a hassle-free journey with our comprehensive document services. Whether you’re planning to travel, work abroad, or need vital documents, Doc Assist is here

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Settling into a new country can be challenging at times, and it’s important to ensure that you have all the information you need to make the transition as smooth as possible. After all, you want to enjoy all that Germany has to offer, without worrying about any logistical or administrative issues that may arise. 

Travel and Transport

General Travel tips – Flying

When it comes to travelling, especially by air, taking precautions and planning ahead is key to ensuring a smooth journey. Here are some general travel tips that can come in handy during your next flight! We also have some advice

Driving in Germany

Germany is a beautiful country known for its scenic drive routes, bustling cities, and rich culture. If you are planning to own a car in this country or drive here, there are some important things that you need to know.

General Travel tips – Booking Flights

This page is dedicated to helping you make the best choices when it comes to planning your travels. We have information about  Airlines that fly between Germany and South Africa, airports in Germany and tips for searching for flights that fit your

Public transport in Germany

The German public transport system is extensive, reliable and very affordable. The Deutsche Bahn AG is the national railway company and is state-owned. The DB offers long distance, regional and local travel options.Here is a list of PDF Files with the route

Travel to Germany – Tips

If you’re planning a trip to Germany, we’ve got some travel tips that we think you’ll find incredibly helpful.  If you’ve got your own tips to share, we’d love to hear them!  Simply submit them to us and we’ll be happy to

What can I bring into Germany

It is very tempting to bring some South African goodies with you when you travel to Germany, and while most items are allowed, there are Restrictions. There is also a limit on duty-free allowances.The German Customs Agency is called the Zollampt.


Checklist after arriving in Germany

Your first days in Germany can be very overwhelming and confusing. The forms you must fill in and the administrative tasks you must do will depend on your reason for being in Germany. A student will have a different to-do

Registering in your town

Registering at the Local Town Office

If you plan to stay in Germany for longer than 3 months, you will need to register at your local Bürgeramt (Town office).This is called a Meldepflicht and is compulsory. More about the law can be found in BMG (in German) or in EnglishIt must


Temp Aufenthalt

Residence in Germany

A Visa allows you to enter Germany, and stay for no more than 90 days in a 180-day cycle.When you want to stay in Germany for longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for the correct visa in

Applying for residence

A visa allows you to enter Germany. If you want to stay longer than 3 months you will need to apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) at the local immigration authority (Ausländerbehorde )You can only apply for a residence permit after you registered

Temporary proof of German Residence

To stay in Germany longer than 90 days in a 180 period, you will need a residence permit. Qualifying for a residence permit will depend, among other things, on the type of visa you applied for. Your long-stay visa allows

Learning German

Learning German

There are several approaches to learn German, all of which can help you achieve your language learning goals. You can opt for convenient online sites that offer a range of language courses or download mobile apps that make learning on-the-go

Making life easier


The most important financial topics for daily life in Germany Income Tax Information about taxes and where to find assistance Pensions How does the German state pensions work, what can you do to supplement your pension Foreign Exchange- ZAR to

Waste disposal and recycling

This is a general guide to waste disposal and recycling. Some rules may differ from town to town, for example, the collection of bulky waste, so always make sure about the rules that apply in your town.You can search for

Useful apps

Having the correct information available when you need it is priceless.  Here are some apps that can make your life easier in Germany. Note for most we did not add links to the apps, as it is a lot of

Schools and Studies

General school information Take note that Home Schooling is not allowed. German Vocational training Interested in doing Vocational Training (Ausbildung) in Germany?Germany is one of the best providers of Vocational Training. German Vocational training All the information you need to

Minijobs and hired help

Are you looking for services like cleaning, someone to look after the kids or help out with the gardening?The sites we list here are currently only available in German. You have the option to hire someone on a more permanent

Keeping in touch with your roots

South African Communities

Church Groups American Protestant Church in Bonn – from August they will have an Afrikaans speaking pastor, Ds Mario Weyers. If you would like more info feel free to contact DeWet Herselman Kirche in Aktion, het kampusse (gemeentes) in Frankfurt,

Radio Stations and Playlists

Most South African radio stations have a streaming option, another option is to download apps with a selection of radio stations. Here are some suggestions   Information Radio South Africa Play your favourite FM radio station via an Android app

Keeping in touch virtually

As an ex-pat, it is essential to keep in touch with family and friends from back home. We yearn for news and contact with loved ones, and although we cannot always be physically together, we can at least try to keep

Similar Shops

Back home, you know exactly in what shop to look for specific items, where to find quality products and what shops have cheaper options.We tried to make a comparison of SA and German shops in the list below. You welcome

Products we love

We all miss familiar products we loved in South Africa. Some of these you can buy here in Germany, and for some, you will have to find a suitable substitute.  The following shops sell South African Food/Grocery items Search our

Streaming South African content

Your best option to legally watch South African products is to get a subscription to Showmax or Netflix.  Showmax Unfortunately Showmax will only be available outside of South Africa until 1 December 2023. We will keep you updated if there