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I travel a lot to Germany as a tourist. I was thinking of buying an apartment there. Germany laws do allow you to buy property even on tourist visa. But I was wondering if I could rent that property out as a tourist should I choose to buy one. I did a lot of research but am not able to find a definitive answer to this. Since tourist visa prohibit you from deriving monetary gain as described on some websites while other claim one cannot get a job on it very interchangeably; which are not necessarily written by lawyers. Which I find very confusing since on the one hand you can buy and sell property so would renting that be considered different?

The reason why I ask this question is because renting does not appear to be "gainful employment", so I guess my question is, does being on a tourist Visa in Germany, one cannot be "gainfully employed" or "derive monetary benefit"?

Thanks for any light you can shed on this

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    Renting out your apartment is something that you can do without traveling to Germany. For this reason, this is not "work done during your visit in Germany". But before you buy, you should keep in mind that the laws here in Germany are said to be "landlord-unfriendly": For the landlord, it's sometimes impossible to terminate the rental contract. And any kind of repair (even painting the walls!) must be done by certified craftsmen unless the repair is done by the tenant. Jan 1 at 9:40

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A non-E.U. person may own real property in Germany and may rent it. Earning rental income from an isolated piece of investment property is not considered being "gainfully employed" for purposes of a tourist visa.

This is basically because the tourist visa and your presence in Germany are not what is facilitating your German rental property income.

From an immigration perspective, earning rental income from rental property that you own in Germany is only modestly different from owning a few hundred thousand Euros worth of VW or BMW stock and earning income from that.

One could imagine a situation where your need to actively manage a large portfolio of rental properties in Germany on an hands on basis physically in Germany, if you did this, rather than hiring an E.U. based property management firm to take care of this for you, this might violate your visa. But, if it did, in all likelihood, once you had that large of a real estate portfolio in Germany, it would be possible to arrange some sort of investor or employment based visa beyond your simple tourist visa to make it possible for you to do so.

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    Also check if that rental income has to be taxed in Germany, maybe according to : § 49 Abs. 1 Nr. 6 EStG .
    – lalala
    Jan 1 at 10:23
  • @ohwilleke Would you be able to own-and-rent-out in similar circumstances in the U.S. without an immigration bar?
    – kisspuska
    Jan 2 at 4:20
  • @kisspuska: that is a different question, which you should ask separately. I don't know the answer, but it will get lost in the comments. Jan 2 at 5:42
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    @kisspuska Yes.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 3 at 15:10

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