How to get a German Permanent Residence Permit

You’ve arrived in Germany because of work or study and are used to the lifestyle here.  If you are thinking of taking things to the next level and securing the German permanent residence, then this article will highlight just how to get it done.

Types of German Residence Permit

Citizens of the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) member states do not require a residence permit to visit Germany. All non-EU and non-EEA country nationals require a visa to enter Germany. Tourist visa only allows you to stay in Germany for a short period of only 90 days.

For any stay in Germany that is more than 90 days, it is essential for you to get an Aufenthaltstitel (residence permit). These permits are either temporary or permanent residence permits in Germany.

Temporary Residence Permits

Studying in Germany

If you have enrolled in any graduate or post-graduate program in Germany, you can enter the country through a student visa. This allows you a temporary residence permit for the duration of your course. Post this, if you wish to remain in Germany and look for a job, your residence permit is extended to another additional 18 months. On securing a job, you will be able to convert your visa into a work visa.

Working in Germany

The EU Blue card is a special visa for specialists or academics in the field of IT or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). This allows you a temporary residence permit in Germany.

Alternatively, if you have secured a job in Germany after finishing your studies or through the job seeker visa, you will be eligible to stay on through the temporary residence permit.  The permit will depend on how long you stay employed while in Germany.

Family Reunion

Spouses and partners of German citizens or those who have a permanent residence permit in Germany are also allowed a temporary permit in Germany for the purpose of family reunion.

Permanent Residence Permits

After having lived in Germany for a certain period, if you are seeking a more permanent option to settle you can become a German citizen, get an EU permit for permanent residence (Niederlassungserlaubnis or unbefristete Aufenthaltserlaubnis (unlimited residence permit)) or avail a settlement permit (Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU). To apply for German citizenship, you need to have completed eight years of living in Germany, although there are exceptions to this rule.

If you want to retain the citizenship of your home country then, you can opt for either an EU permit for permanent residence or the settlement permit. You are eligible to apply for either only after you have lived in Germany for more than five years. Both these permits allow you to stay long term in Germany and travel the EU region. The only difference between the two is that the EU permit will allow you to work anywhere in the EU, while the latter is restricted only to Germany.

Before you apply for an EU permit for permanent residence or settlement permit in Germany, it is essential that you meet the following criteria

  1. Must have lived in Germany for an uninterrupted period of 5 years.
  2. Is up to date and has paid for all the mandatory social security contributions for a minimum 60 months.
  3. Lives in a house that has sufficient living space (i.e. 13 sq. meters per person)
  4. Be able to provide for themselves and their family without depending on the government.
  5. Has sufficient working knowledge of the German language till the B1 level.
  6. Must have no criminal record.
  7. Understands the workings of the legal and social system in Germany.

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How to apply for German Permanent Residence Permit

Step 1

Pick up the application form from your local immigration office. Along with this written application, you would have to attach a set of documents as proof that you have met all the criteria to apply for German permanent residence permit.

To apply for the settlement permit under the general category, you require the following:-

  1. A valid Passport
  2. Most recent biometric passport photo
  3. Residence proof with a confirmation from your landlord.
  4. Copy of your rental contract which clearly mentions the rent paid and additional overhead costs such as heating and water.
  5. Proof that you have health insurance coverage.
  6. Confirmation that you have paid towards German retirement benefit for at least 60 months.
  7. Copy of your language course completed (B1 level) and integrations course.

If you have been employed in Germany and are applying for the settlement permit, then you would have to additionally attach your employment contract, confirmation of employment document, last 3 months salary statement and your tax clearance certificate from the German tax department.

Step 2

Make an appointment at the German Immigration office and turn up early on the day of your appointment with your documents and application form correctly filled out. You will be interviewed by an officer and asked to submit all your documents.

Step 3

Post submitting the documents personally and the interview, you would have to wait for a few weeks to hear back from the immigration authorities about your permanent residence permit.

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