What is the change? German authorities have indicated that they will stop issuing specialist permits to intracompany transferees except in cases where the assignee will work in Germany for 90 days or less. Assignees intending to remain in Germany for more than 90 days will be required to obtain an ICT card issued pursuant to the EU’s 2014 Intra-Corporate Transferees Directive.

What does the change mean? Intracompany transferees who up until now had the option of applying for a specialist permit will instead be required to apply for an ICT card. The ICT card process requires additional documentation and applicants may experience delays because of an ongoing system integration error with the issuance of ICT cards.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: ICT cardsspecialist permits.
  • Who is affected: Non-EU/EEA managers, specialists or trainees transferring from outside the EU to work in Germany for more than 90 days.
  • Impact on processing times: The change could lengthen end-to-end processing times because of the documentation requirements and the ongoing technical problems with issuing ICT cards.

Background: Germany implemented the EU’s ICT directive in August 2017. Initially, intracompany transferees had the option of applying for the new ICT cards or specialist permits as they had done before the directive was implemented.

Authorities have now issued internal guidance that ICTs who will be working in Germany for more than 90 days will be required to obtain an ICT card and not a specialist permit. Employers are required to provide additional documentation for ICT cards, including a completed standardized form confirming that the employee has continuous unlimited employment with the home country entity. (The minimum tenure is six months for an ICT card and one year for a specialist permit.)

German authorities are currently not issuing ICT cards because of a technical problem. Applicants instead are receiving hardcopy interim permits that they can use until the ICT card system is operating. Applicants should expect the possibility of delays in the issuance of interim permits and a backlog after ICT cards become available again.

BAL Analysis: Assignees coming to Germany from outside the EU will be required to apply for ICT cards if their intended stay will be for more than 90 days. Those coming for 90 days or less can continue applying for specialist permits. Current specialist permit holders are not affected by the change and will likely be able to apply to renew their specialist permit even if they intend to remain in Germany more than 90 days.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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