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An expat’s nationality determines the ease or struggle with which they can enter and stay in the Ruhr Metropolis. Located in the west of Germany, this large region follows guidelines determined by the European Union and thus the national Government in Berlin. Most EU nationals benefit from general legislation within its borders, for others, freedom of settlement is not quite so simple.

The much used phrase “Freedom of Movement” within the EU is just that and possible without a visa. However, everyone who wishes to remain or work in a country other than that of their own nationality, must register with the authorities if their stay exceeds three months. The local office for foreigners, Ausländeramt or Ausländerbehörde, should then issue a residency permit. This holds true for all EU citizens wishing to relocate and settle in the Ruhr.

Most other foreigners from outside the European Union  need a Schengen visa but may, under normal circumstances, be able to move freely within the EU once they do so.

Non EU nationals wishing to run a business or take up employment in Germany need to apply for a visa to enter the country. This is intended for stays of ninety days or more. Generally speaking, there are many exceptions and specific regulations depending on the nationality of the person applying.

Residency and permits for settling are complex topics, again depending upon nationality. As of March 2020 the Federal Government has aligned the requirements of the business community to the loosening of traditional restrictions. Stay up to date with central resources.

Contact details are exemplary. Search foreigners office, Ausländeramt or Ausländerbehörde, plus your location.

By Vincent Green, Jun 9 2021

Stadt Essen
Zentrale Ausländerbehörde

Am Funkturm 8
45145 Essen

+49 201 883 8888

People on horizon


Larger events that affect street life or draw larger crowds in the Ruhr Metropolis are presented in the Events Overview. These include funfairs, marathons, street fairs, music festivals and Christmas markets. Activities such as the Ruhrtriennale, Park Lights, Extra Shift and Ruhr Reggae Summer are exemplary. Photo © Ravi Sejk.

Written text on paper


We stand in a foreign culture finding ourselves pointing, gesticulating and hoping to be understood. Many Germans speak at least some English. However, some expats relocating to the Ruhr Metropolis may wish to carry a few basic but helpful words with them for use in awkward moments.




Following relocation, highly educated
expats experience obstacles.
Beyond language, awareness of cultural
norms in the Ruhr Metropolis are key
to infusion in the local environment.
Amazing Capitals Ruhr empowers
international employees.

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Companies and cities in the Ruhr Metropolis
compete with the rest of the world
to attract and also retain professionally
talented individuals.
Amazing Capitals Ruhr inspires
international employees to relocate.

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