EU citizens do not require a visa to enter Germany and do not require a residence permit to stay in Germany. Nationals of the EEA states Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are treated in the same way as EU citizens under the provisions of the Act on the General Freedom of Movement for EU Citizens (Freedom of Movement Act/EU - FreizügG/EU), but without acquiring the status of an EU citizen or a family member of an EU citizen.
EU citizens who identify themselves by means of a valid passport or identity card enjoy freedom of movement and thus also the right to stay for more than three months as employees, for the purpose of seeking work or vocational training, as established self-employed persons, as providers and recipients of services, and as permanent residents. EU citizens who are not gainfully employed are entitled to freedom of movement if they have adequate health insurance coverage and sufficient means of subsistence.
The issuance of a certificate of freedom of movement is no longer required by law.
EU citizens who have been legally resident in Germany for five years have the right of entry and residence (permanent right of residence), irrespective of whether the conditions for freedom of movement continue to apply (cf. § 4a FreizügigkeitsG/EU). Upon application, their permanent right of residence will be certified by the Aliens' Registration Office.
Family members (spouse or registered partner, children up to the age of 21 and, under certain conditions, other family members) of an EU citizen entitled to freedom of movement are also entitled to freedom of movement if they accompany or join them. However, family members entitled to freedom of movement who are not EU citizens (so-called third-country nationals) generally require an entry visa (see "Related Topics" - "National Visa"). After they have entered the country, the foreigners authority issues them a residence card for family members of EU citizens ex officio within six months after they have provided the required information; this card is to be valid for five years. A certificate stating that the required information has been provided shall be issued to the family member without delay. Third-country nationals Family members of EU citizens are entitled to permanent residence if the latter is entitled to permanent residence and they have been legally residing with him or her in Germany continuously for five years. They will be issued a permanent residence card by the Aliens' Registration Office within six months of application.
Note: An absence of more than two consecutive years for a reason that is not merely temporary in nature will result in the loss of the permanent right of residence.
For further information on the subject of permanent right of residence and certificates on permanent right of residence as well as residence cards and right of residence of family members (for example in the case of divorce from the EU citizen entitled to freedom of movement or his/her departure or death), please contact the foreigners authority responsible for your place of residence on a case-by-case basis.