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Immigrating to the US from Germany

If you want to migrate to a foreign country with a high standard of living, numerous opportunities and a strong educational system, you should move to the US.

For more information on how to immigrate to USA from Germany, including details on eligibility, required documents and the application process, reach out to one of our immigration lawyers. Call +1 844 290 6312 or send us a message online.

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    Visa Guide: How to Move from Germany to the US

    The United States of America is a popular destination for many people around the globe. And the reason is not far-fetched. The US is a country known for its vast opportunities in different fields. There is something for everyone who moves to the US. Many people move to the country in search of jobs and greener pastures.

    The US is also known for its strong educational system, attracting International students from all over the world.

    Many German expats and descendants live in the US. Large concentrations of German people live in cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa. So, if you want to move to the US and stay close to your German roots, consider any of these cities.

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    Which Visa is Right for Me?


    There are many reasons why Germans move to the US; it could be for business, medical care, studies or work. Whatever your reason for moving to the US, you must meet the requirements and apply for a visa.

    One of the most popular reasons to move to USA for German citizens is tourism. If you want to go to the US for a visit or tourism, you do not need to apply for a visa. This is because the US has an agreement with Germany called the visa waiver program that allows German citizens to visit the US for business, tourism, short-study, medical treatment or religious conferences without applying for a visa.

    The maximum time you can spend under this visa waiver program is 90 days.

    Even though you do not need a visa to enter the US and stay for 90 days or less, you’ll still need to meet other requirements.

    Here are the requirements below:

    Valid ESTA

    You must have a valid ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) obtained from the US ESTA official website. This is part of what you’ll present to the Border Control Officer before you can gain entrance into the US. The ESTA is valid for 2 years, so you must ensure the one you possess is valid before making your trip to the US.

    German Passport

    You must present your passport at the border before you are allowed to enter the US. The passport is a means of identity and proof of your German nationality. Note that the passport you’ll present must still be valid for 6 months after your time in the US has ended.

    Below are some of the visas in US for German citizens:

    • Student Visa.
    • Employment-based immigrant visas.
    • Family-based visas.

    Student Visa (F/M Visa)


    You can immigrate to US for studies, but you need to apply for a student visa if your study-period will last for more than 90 days. Your study type will determine whether you will apply for the F or the M visa.

    You’ll need to apply for the F visa if you are planning to attend any of the following:

    • College or university.
    • High school.
    • Conservatory.
    • Seminary.
    • Language school.

    You’ll need to apply for the M visa if you are going for a vocational or non-academic course.

    One of the first things you should do if you want to study in the US is to apply and get accepted to a SEVP-approved school in the US.

    After enrolling in the school, you’ll have to register for the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) and then pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.

    Then, your school will issue you Form I-20, which you’ll use to apply for a visa. All prospective students in the US must attend a visa interview.

    Your family can travel to the US with you, but you must enrol them in SEVIs and get Form I-20 for each family member. The form will be issued to them by the school you will study in.

    Documents Required

    • Valid German passport. It must be valid for up to 6 months after your student visa expires.
    • Confirmation page of the Form DS-160 (nonimmigrant visa application).
    • Receipt of visa fee payment.
    • Passport photograph if the upload option fails when applying online.
    • Form I-20 (certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant students or vocational students). Ensure that you and an official from your school sign the Form I-20; otherwise, your application will be rejected.
    • Bank statements show you have enough money to travel to the US, pay your school fees and live in the US.
    • Evidence of tuition fee payment. In place of this, you can submit a scholarship or sponsorship letter.
    • Proof of ties to your home country, like evidence you have a business or family back in Germany.
    • Academic credentials like your test scores, certificates and transcripts.

    How to Apply for a US Student Visa

    To apply for the student visa, follow the steps below:

    Step 1: Visit the website of the US Embassy and fill out Form DS-160. After completing the form with your correct details, print out the confirmation page. You’ll need to submit it at the Embassy during your interview.

    Step 2: Upload your passport photograph on the online form.

    Step 3: If you are between 14 and 79, you must schedule an interview. You can do this by visiting the US Embassy website. It usually takes 15 days to get an interview date when you apply.

    Step 4: Pay the visa application fee. The amount you are to pay is $185.

    Step 5: Gather your supporting documents. Ensure that every document is up to date. Use the documents required section as a checklist when preparing your documents.

    Step 6: Go for your interview and answer the questions honestly. You may be required to submit fingerprints.

    You can then make travel plans if your application is successful.

    If you're a German student dreaming of studying in the US, contact our team of experts today to explore your Student Visa options. Contact Us

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      Employment-based Immigrant Visas


      Unlike other countries, the US sets out 140,000 employment-based visas to issue to those who meet the visa eligibility requirements. Once the cap is reached, the rest of the applications are moved to the next fiscal year. The limit placed on this visa category makes the processing time longer. It could take years before your visa application can be processed.

      One of the benefits of this visa category is that you get a US green card.

      There are 5 different kinds of employment-based immigrant visas:

      • E1 visa for priority workers and persons of extraordinary ability.
      • E2 visa for professionals with advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability.
      • E3 visa for skilled, unskilled and professional workers.
      • E4 visa for special immigrants like broadcasters and ministers of religion.
      • E5 visa for immigrant investors.

      The first step when applying for an employment-based immigrant visa is to secure a job in the US. Next is for your prospective employer to get permission from the Department of Labour (Labour certification) to employ from abroad. If they get the green light, they’ll have to file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to sponsor your application. If this is successful, you’ll then be invited to make your application.

      Under this visa category, you can come to the US with your family members. But they’ll have to be your spouse or children below 21 years old and unmarried.

      Each family member has to submit a separate visa application.

      Required Documents

      Here are the documents you need to present when making an employment-based visa application:

      • German passport that will still be valid for 6 months after your intended entry date.
      • Completed and signed Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, Form DS-260.
      • Two passport photographs.
      • Civil status documents like birth and marriage certificates. You’ll have to present both original and copies of your documents.
      • Bank statements showing you have enough money to move to and live in the US. If you do not have enough money for this, a relative who is a citizen or permanent resident can file  Form I-864, Affidavit of Support on your behalf.
      • Completed vaccination and medical exam forms.
      • Receipt of the visa fee payment.

      If your documents are in German instead of the English language, you’ll also have to provide certified translations. You can engage the services of a certified translator at the US Embassy or Consulate in Germany.

      How to Apply

      After the USCIS approves your employer’s Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, the petition is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC).

      The NVC will assign a number to the petition and place you on a dated list. When your date reaches, you will be contacted by the NVC to file Form DS-260.

      The NVC will instruct you on how much and where to pay your visa application fees. Note that unless specifically asked, do not pay your application fees to the NVC or US Embassy.

      After paying the fees, you’ll be scheduled to attend an interview. Then you can go for your vaccination and medical exam. An approved panel of doctors must conduct the medical exam. At the interview, you are expected to submit every document you have filed or have.

      If you are successful with the application, you can then enter the US.

      The US provides numerous pathways for employment-based immigrants from Germany. Contact our legal experts for guidance today. Contact Us

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        Family-based Immigration


        If you want to migrate to the US under this category, then you must have a close family member who lives in the US permanently. This family member must be either a citizen or a lawful permanent resident. They must also be at least 21 and must prove they have enough money to take care of their family size.

        US citizens can sponsor the following family members:

        • Immediate relatives like fiance(e), spouse, children and parents. There is no limit to the number of visas issued in this category.
        • Family preference like brothers and sisters. There is a limit to the number of visas issued in this category.

        US lawful permanent residents can only sponsor their spouse and unmarried children not older than 21.

        When you get a family-based visa, you are getting a green card that lets you settle in the US permanently.

        Required Documents

        The relative in the US has to file Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 with the sum of $535.

        If you are in Germany, you’ll be notified by the NVC of the documents you need to submit when making your application.

        If you are in the US, perhaps on another visa, you’ll have to submit some documents after your relative files Form I-130 for you.

        Documents required from immediate relatives:

        • German passport.
        • Form I-485.
        • Birth or marriage certificate.
        • Passport photographs.
        • Form I-864, Affidavit of support.
        • Evidence of your immigration category.

        Documents required from family preference migrants:

        • German passport.
        • Passport photographs.
        • Form I-864, Affidavit of support.
        • Birth certificate.
        • Form I-797.
        • Evidence of your immigration category.
        • Birth certificate.
        • Evidence of maintaining lawful status since entering the US

        How to Apply

        The application process for family-based visas starts with a relative in the US. They must file a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 and Affidavit of Support, Form I-864, with the USCIS.

        If the USCIS approves, they’ll forward the application to the NVC.

        The NVC will issue you an immigrant number and tell you when and where to submit your documents. You’ll also be told how much to pay as a processing fee.

        You’ll be invited for an interview at the US Embassy in Germany. If your interview is successful, you’ll be given a packet that must not be opened till you hand it over to the border officer at the port of entry. If you are admitted into the country, your green card will be posted within 45 days.

        If you are already in the US when your relative files Form I-130, you’ll need to file Form I-485 and then attend a biometric appointment in the visa centre closest to you. You’ll only be invited for an interview with your relative if there are discrepancies in your application.

        Reunite with your loved ones in the US. Our top immigration lawyers are here to assist you in obtaining a Family-based Visa today. Contact Us

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          Special Considerations

          German citizens or permanent residents may qualify for certain considerations when applying for a US visa.

          One of such considerations is the interview waiver.

          An interview may be waived if you meet all of the following conditions:

          • You’re a citizen or permanent resident of Germany.
          • You’re physically present in your country when you applied for the visa.
          • Your ESTA or visa application has never been denied.

          For the Embassy to waive the interview, you will also fall into one of the 4 categories below:

          • You are applying for a visa renewal.
          • You are a first-time M, F or J applicant.
          •  You are a first-time H, L (individual), O, P, and Q applicant.
          • You are older than 80 or younger than 14.

          How Can Our Lawyers at US IAS Help You?

          Getting a US visa involves going through quite a rigorous and tedious process. There are many forms to file, which can be time-consuming. Again, US visas are competitive because many people are applying for them all over the world. This makes the application process strict. You must meet every criterion else; your application will be denied.

          A US visa denial can be demoralising because of the sheer time and resources it takes to make an application. So, to navigate these challenges when applying for a US visa, contact our lawyers at IAS.

          We can assess your eligibility, guide you on the application process and even contact the USCIS to track your visa application.

          If you want to make further inquiries about the US visa or would like to speak with any of our consultants, call +1 844 290 6312 or send us a message online.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    You can work in the US as a German citizen. All you need to do is apply for the visa appropriate for the work you want in the US. There are visas for temporary work and also employment-based visas that make you a lawful permanent resident.

                    A German citizen can move to the US. You have to apply for the visa best suited for your travel needs.

                    A German citizen can apply for a green card. This can be done in 2 major ways: by getting an employment-based green card or a family-based green card.