How to write a Motivation Letter for your Residence Permit

Worldify - Man typing on computer
Written by
Gabrielle Soria
Published on
April 29, 2023

Motivation letters have historically been for German student visa applications—however, we’re seeing more and more German consulates requesting motivation letters for your residence permit. It can be easy to dismiss the importance of the motivation letterhowever, it is one of the most important, if not the most important, parts of your visa application.

Not a “writer”? Feeling a bit intimidated? Don’t worry. In this post, Worldify co-founder Gabrielle Soria walks us through in-depth explanations of what your motivation letter should include, how best to format it, and some common pitfalls to avoid. Let’s dive right in!

What is a motivation letter?

A motivation letter is essentially a statement of your interest and intent—why you want to move to Germany, and live and work here. Motivation letters are reviewed by the immigration authorities, who decide, based on the information and rationale you have provided, whether your presence in Germany will be beneficial to all parties involved. For this reason, it’s important to put significant effort into crafting your letter.

Successful motivation letters should follow the right format and make sure a few key points are addressed.

Formatting your motivation letter

Like most professional letters, the format of your motivation letter follows the classic format:

  1. Header 
  2. Introduction
  3. Body
  4. Conclusion

1. Header

Your header section should be formatted like a professional business letter, and include the following:

  • Date
  • Country in which you are applying for the visa
  • Name of German Embassy/Consulate where you are applying for your German visa
  • Address of German Embassy/Consulate
  • where you are applying for your German visa
  • Your name as it is listed on your passport
  • Your contact details

2. Introduction

As you might guess, the introduction is your chance to introduce yourself. Roughly 3-4 sentences, this section should tell the authorities who you are, why you are requesting entry into Germany, and an overview of what makes you a competitive candidate to live and work in Germany. Let’s break that down: 

  • Who you are: Here it’s good to include your name, nationality, age, and educational background.
  • Why are you requesting entry into Germany: This is a good time to clarify for the authorities that you plan to truly settle in Germany. Cite your employment offer, your employer name, and the conditions of your contract (especially if the contract is unlimited). 
  • What makes you a competitive candidate: This is a chance to overview your professional achievements. Why does the German workforce benefit from your arrival? What have you achieved in your career or contributed to your industry or past employers?

Again, this is just an overview—we’ll get into the meat of both of the “Why Germany” and “Why You” angles in the following paragraphs. 

3. Body

The main thing you want to achieve in the body of your letter is explaining your motivation for moving to Germany—whether that’s to live and work, or to study. The immigration authorities want to know your why. Why Germany, why you, why now. This section of your letter should be well-researched and thoughtful—it’s a cultural truth that German prize logic and rational reasoning. This is your chance to truly make your case, speaking directly to the decision-makers. 

“The immigration authorities want to know your why. Why Germany, why you, why now. ”

Why Germany?

You’re leaving your home country to move abroad… but you could have chosen anywhere in the world. What was it that made Germany the winning place? (Remember the goal here—an answer like: It was the only place that offered me a job isn’t going to cut it!) What you want to achieve in this section is to make the person reading it proud to be German—and to showcase your excitement and enthusiasm for your new country. 

Need a few talking points? Consider… 
  • Germany is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.
  • It is a rich cultural hub, with a history of artistic and cultural achievements.
  • Germany has an excellent quality of life, with emphasis on health, wellness, and safety.
  • There is a strong social welfare system that emphasizes equality—making sure that no one falls behind.
  • Germany is very environmentally-friendly, and prides itself on cleanliness.
  • Germany is very respectful towards its citizens. The German system favors workers’ rights, and renters’ rights to be very human-centered, rather than corporate-centered. 
  • With more than 100 million native speakers, German is the most widely-spoken first language in Europe, which makes the German language increasingly important in the global market

You can use the points above (and any you already have in your mind) as the basis on your research and argument. Dig into these topics and themes, and pull out the reasons you feel Germany is the right fit for you, your career, and even your family. 

Why You?

Now that you’ve covered why Germany is the right place for you, it’s time to tackle why you are right for Germany. What makes you an exciting candidate for Deutschland? What can you bring to the table? 

Some thought-starters:
  • What is your professional history? What have you achieved in your career thus far? 
  • What are your professional goals? What impact do you hope to have on your teams and coworkers, your industry, and the world? 
  • What can you bring to the table? What makes your perspective, background, diversity, or point of view unique?

Why Now?

While this doesn’t have to take up too much of your letter, it’s always nice to explain why you’ve chosen to make this decision at this point in your life and career. 

4. Conclusion

This is your last chance to leave a strong impression on the reviewer. It should summarize again your points above, drive home your keen interest in resettling to Germany, and clear up any inconsistencies or questions a reviewer might have about your application (for example, a career change, or an academic background that doesn’t match your current employment profiles). It’s also good to include a line about your financial set-up in Germany—how you plan to support yourself (and any family members) financially.  

“If you’re not a ‘writer’, don’t worry—all that really matters for this letter is that your facts are true, and your interest is genuine.”

What to avoid in your motivation letter

  • Spelling and grammar mistakes. Be sure to run your letter through the appropriate spelling and grammar checks. If you’d like a second pair of eyes, you can always ask for assistance at
  • Unprofessional email address. A personal email is okay, but avoid names like c00llord74.
  • Plagiarism. Don’t copy text without attribution. 
  • Lack of structure. Make sure that your letter is formatted professionally and flows from paragraph to paragraph. 
  • False information. It may be tempting to dramatize or embellish your letter, but make sure that nothing is misleading or false. The authorities can definitely find out, and this can jeopardize your visa approval. 
  • Lack of details. A generic, high-level letter isn’t going to impress the reviewers—and worse, might convey that you don’t value your visa application. Make sure your case is full and thorough. That said… 
  • Over-writing. Your letter doesn’t need to be the next War and Peace. Make it clear, concise, and well-reasoned… aim for one page, two at the max.  

If you’re not a “writer”, don’t worry—all that really matters for your motivation letter is that your facts are true, and your interest is genuine.

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