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Recently, there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of US citizens moving to Germany. Statistics show that as many as 1,086 Americans received German citizenship in the year 2016. This is a dramatic 33% leap from the numbers in 2015 and double the number recorded in 2009. Moreover, as per the 2016 records of the Institute for International Education, more than 10,000 American students were studying in German higher education institutes, a 9% increase from 2015 and a 25% leap from 2009. So far, in 2017, Germany has received a never-before-seen number of applications for German citizenship from Americans.
While no particular reason for this surge has officially been pegged down, a popular theory is that more and more Americans are experiencing disillusionment over the new presidential rule in the USA. However, it is easy to understand why Germany is a favored destination.
The cost of higher education in Germany is significantly lower than in the USA, with most universities being tuition-free even for foreigners, and the standards are exceptionally high, making it a coveted choice for students. Moreover, Germany’s super-strong economy and low population level have created a perennial demand for skilled workers and a nominal unemployment level, which is the reason many American students choose to continue living and working in Germany after obtaining their degree, which Germany facilitates. Also, Germany’s top-class healthcare facilities are much more affordable than in the USA, and maternity and paternity leave structures are several times more attractive.
It is easy for American citizens to temporarily base themselves in Germany as they don’t need a Schengen Visa for stays up to 90 days. After that period, a residence permit is compulsory for continued stay in Germany. It might not be easy finding a job in Germany while being based in the USA. But, skilled workers with at least a Bachelor’s degree can come to Germany with a 6-month residential permit to look for a job. They are not allowed to work during this period but it buys them ample time to find a job, after which they can obtain a work visa.
Students signing up for intensive German-language courses can stay in Germany up to 12 months. It is also possible for Americans to come to Germany on a 12-month au pair visa, but only with a valid invitation from a hosting family in Germany. It is not difficult obtaining an internship visa in Germany either; if the internship is unpaid, the applicant needs to prove that he/she has a secondary means of support.
Germany also issues freelance permits against relevant qualifications and at least some proven interest in the applicant’s work in Germany. And specifically in Berlin, due to its mission to be one of the world’s leading creative cities, working artists can apply for a simplified freelance permit if they can show a body of work and proof of a secure livelihood in their field.