A German visa allows you to enter Germany. A German residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel or Aufenthaltserlaubnis) allows you to live in Germany.

There are many kinds of German residence permits. Some let you work, and some allow you to study or be self-employed. For example, the freelance visa, the artist visa, the work visa, the Blue Card and the student visa are residence permits. The tourist visa is not a residence permit.

The residence permit is a plastic card. In the past, it was a sticker in your passport.

Do I need a residence permit? ➞