Germany – Intra-corporate transferee (ICT)

You work for a company established outside the European Union (EU) and you are going to be transferred to a branch in Germany? You can find information below on the conditions, procedures, rights and mobility you can enjoy during your stay.

You can enter, reside and work in Germany as an intra-corporate transferee if you are a manager, specialist or trainee employee. The definitions and conditions of admission are governed by the EU Directive on intra-corporate transfer (Articles 3 and 5 of Directive 2014/66/EUSearch for available translations of the preceding link). If you fulfil the conditions, you will be issued an intra-Corporate Transferee permit.

Please note that before being transferred from a company branch located outside of the EU to a branch in Germany you must have been employed by that company for a certain time period: if you are a manager 6 months; a specialist 6 months; a trainee 6 months.

Where and how to apply

The ICT KArte is applied for by the employee himself. In principle, the procedure is comparable to the procedure for granting other residence permits. Thus, in addition to the provisions of the Residence Act, the provisions of general administrative procedural law also apply. The ICT card may only be applied for from outside Europe. The extension of the ICT card can, however, also be applied for in Germany.

The employer
Documents required

Document that shows that the Federal Employment Agency has granted approval or it has been determined by statutory instrument or by intergovernmental agreement that the ICT Card may be issued without the approval of the Federal Employment Agency.

A work contract valid for the duration of the intra-corporate transfer and, if necessary, an assignment letter stating a) specific information regarding the place and kind of work and remuneration as well as other terms and conditions of employment granted during the intra-corporate transfer, as well as b) evidence that, after completion of the intra-corporate transfer, the third-country national will be able to return to an entity belonging to the same undertaking or group of undertakings established outside the European Union at the end of the assignment, and he evidence of his professional qualifications.

Further requirements

The intra-corporate transfer must exceed 90 days.

Duration of validity of permits

The period of validity of the ICT permit is of at least one year or the duration of the transfer (whichever is shorter), and may be extended to a maximum of 3 years for managers and specialists and 1 year for trainee employees.

After this period, the transferee will need to leave the Member State territory for 6 month before being able to apply for a new ICT permit

Extension or renewal

Six months must elapse between the end of the last transfer of the employee transferred within the company to the federal territory and a new application. This also applies in the event of a change of employer.

Change of status

If the employer changes, see above (you have to wait for 6 month to apply for a new ICT Card).

Family members

Family reunification is based on the regulations of family reunification with third-country nationals with an “EU Blue Card”. This means that no knowledge of German is required. In addition, applications for family reunification must be decided at the same time as applications for (mobile) ICT cards. Applications for family reunification with holders of Mobile ICT cards can also be made in Germany.

A family reunion with third-country nationals who only make use of short-term mobility is not provided for, but will have to be solved via mobility within the Schengen states (according to which national titles on entry and stay up to 90 days apply to the other states) or via Schengen visas. However, unlike longer-term permits, no gainful employment is permitted.

Upon the fulfilment of certain conditions you can, on the basis of an ICT permit issued in one EU country, work in other EU countries if the entity where you will work belong to the same company. If the duration of your mobility is shorter than 90 days during a 180-day period you are subject to short-term mobility rules. If the duration of the mobility is longer than 90 days, you are instead subject to long-term mobility rules.

The following procedures apply if you have an ICT permit in an EU Member State and intend to move and work in Germany:

Short-term mobility

A third-country national shall not be required to have a residence title for stays for intra-corporate transfers not exceeding 90 days within a 180-day period, provided the host entity in the other member state has notified the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees that the third-country national intends to take up employment in the federal territory, submitting the following at the same time:

  • • evidence that the third-country national possesses a valid residence title issued by another member state of the European Union in accordance with Directive 2014/66/EU;
  • • evidence that the national host entity belongs to the same undertaking or group of undertakings as the undertaking established outside the European Union by which the third-country national is employed;
  • • a work contract or, if necessary, an assignment letter which have already been presented to the competent authorities of the other member state; and
  • • a copy of the third-country national’s recognised and valid passport or passport substitute;

The host entity must make the notification when the third-country national applies for a residence title in the ambit of Directive (EU) 2014/66/EU in another member state of the European Union. If, at the time of application, the host entity in the other member state is not yet aware of the third-country national’s intention to be transferred to an entity in the federal territory, it must make the notification as soon as it becomes aware of this intention. If the residence title has been issued by a non-Schengen state, and if the third-country national enters the federal territory via a non-Schengen state, the third-country national must carry a copy of the notification and present it to the responsible authorities at their request.

If the third-country national has not been denied entry and residence the third-country national may enter the federal territory at any time during the validity of the residence title issued by the other member state and stay there for the purpose of the intra-corporate transfer.

The third-country national must inform the foreigners authority without delay if the other member state extends the residence title.

Long-term mobility

Third-country nationals who are already in possession of a residence title under the ICT Directive for an EU Member State and are planning to stay in Germany for a prolonged period (more than 90 days) may apply for a separate residence title for this purpose, known as the Mobile ICT Card. In principle, the procedure is comparable to the procedure for issuing an ICT card.

The application for the Mobile ICT Card can be submitted not only to the local foreign authority, but also to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, which acts as the National Contact Point for the implementation of Directive 2014/66/EU. In this respect, the applicant has a choice.

The application for a Mobile ICT Card can be submitted at least 20 days before you enter Germany. In this case, residence and employment in Germany for up to 90 days within a 180-day period are considered to be permitted until the immigration authority has decided. The only condition is for the residence title issued by the other EU Member State to be still valid. The Mobile ICT Card can be submitted after entering Germany if the Federal Office has received a notification on short-term mobility before you enter the country. In this case, however, the Mobile ICT Card must be applied for at least 20 days prior to the end of the residence within short-term mobility. The application may also not be made at the same time as the notification on short-term mobility.