Every year many talented athletes from the United States come to Germany to play professional or semi-professional sports. Some athletes have agents who take care of their residency permits for them—others do not. In the past, some athletes have stayed in Germany beyond the 90 days that visa-free travel between the United States and Germany allows. Staying more than 90 days in Germany without a residency permit is a violation of German immigration laws and can carry steep consequences including fines, deportation, and bans from future travel to Europe. All of this can be avoided by securing a German residence permit either prior to travel or shortly after arrival in Germany.
We strongly recommend that anyone who wants to play sports in Germany secure a residency permit prior to traveling to Germany. Since not everyone knows which club they might play for when they arrive in Germany, it is also possible to secure a residence permit after your arrival at the local Ausländerbehörde (foreigner’s office).
Below is a list of documents that one must have in order to apply for a German residence permit:
• An official contract from the sports organization or club;
• A valid U.S. passport with at least one year of validity;
• Proof of health insurance;
• If you are still in school, you will need official documentation from the institution where you are studying;
• Official documentation stating where you work;
• A completed residency application, which can be found at: http://visa.diplo.de/.
You must provide two copies of all official documents for either the German Embassy (or a German Consulate) in the United States or for the Ausländerbehörde in Germany, depending on where you decide to apply. The application process will take a minimum of 8 weeks.
For further information on the Germany Embassy in Washington, D.C. or the German Consulate nearest your town in the United States, please visit http://www.germany.info/
Good luck and…Play ball!