In Germany, the Residence Act (AufenthG) governs the territorial access of third-country nationals:
- As previously mentioned, the C visa authorizes a short stay.
- The D visa allows entry for longer stays. After entering, the D visa is converted into a residence or settlement permit by the local foreigners’ registration office. A residence title can be issued for the following purposes: education, employment, reasons related to international law, as well as humanitarian, political, or family reasons. A settlement permit is issued if a third-country national has held a residence permit for five years and meets the required additional criteria (security of livelihood, no criminal record, adequate command of the German language, etc.). Highly qualified foreign nationals or holders of the “EU Blue Card” may be granted the permit before the end of this period (§ 19 and 19a AufenthG).
- Preferential treatment is given to members of some non-European countries. According to § 41 AufenthV, they may enter Germany without a visa even for longer stays. The required residence title may be obtained in Germany. These countries include Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, and the United States.
- There are over 40 third countries whose nationals are exempt from visa requirements. These include Argentina, Australia, Latvia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Venezuela. Their citizens may visit Germany for up to 90 days without a visa. Without a visa, however, employment is not possible (according to Regulation EC No. 539/2001, Article 1 Paragraph 2, in conjunction with Annex II).