What is the change? Legal amendments passed at the beginning of this year in relation to § 31 AufenthV to improve processing times for certain foreign nationals, in particular the provision for processing time restrictions for preapprovals from the Foreigners’ Office where employees previously stayed in Germany, have experienced delays in their implementation due to technical system issues.

What does the change mean? Until German embassies are able to access the information regarding whether a preapproval from the Foreigners’ Office is required due to a previous stay in Germany or measures of terminations were executed, the preapproval of the Foreigners’ Office remains required in all cases, even where the Foreigners’ Offices do not provide feedback within 10 days of submission of the data from the embassy.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: German D entry visa applications where the employee previously resided in Germany.
  • Who is affected: Non-EEA nationals and accompanying family members.
  • Impact on processing times: The intended improvements in processing times have not occurred, as the embassies are unable to approve applications without preapproval from the responsible Foreigners’ Office.
  • Business impact: Employers and individuals should expect timelines to remain the same until the rule is implemented.
  • Next steps: Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working with the Ministry of the Interior to coordinate their systems so the rule may be implemented.

Background: The legal amendment, passed in December, allowed foreign nationals who had previously resided in Germany to avoid waiting for work permit preapproval by local immigration authorities, which was previously mandatory. Under the new rule, if local immigration authorities do not respond to the request for approval within 10 days, the German Embassy or consulate is allowed to approve the application.

The Foreigners’ Office has recently confirmed that the rule has not been implemented because German embassies are unable to determine through their computer systems whether preapproval by local authorities is required due to previous stays in Germany.

BAL Analysis: The planned changes were expected to improve processing times by several weeks. BAL is following these developments and will report any changes that will improve processing times. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently advising non-visa nationals to apply for an entry visa if the individual has not lived in Germany before and has obtained preapproval of the work permit. This is because the Foreigners’ Office may not be able to provide timely appointments for individuals after they arrive in Germany to allow them to start work soon after arrival, which an issued D visa would facilitate. Non-visa nationals should plan accordingly if they need to apply for an entry visa before traveling to Germany.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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