Temporary Residence with a National Visa
Are you the citizen of a state from which you can only enter Germany with a visa?
Then you must initially apply for this at the German diplomatic mission (embassies, consulates) stating the intended purpose of your stay.
A national visa is needed if
- you will stay in Germany for longer than three months and
- if you want to reside in Germany for a purpose of stay specified in the German Residence Act.
Note: You require a Schengen visa for stays of less than three months.
Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and the United States of American can also enter the Federal Republic for a longer stay without a visa and must apply for a residence permit no later than 3 months after entry in such cases.