German Residence Permit: Everything you need to know

German Residence Permit: Everything you need to know

Moving to Germany is a thrilling experience. If you are working or studying in Germany, you are most certainly looking for permanent residency and citizenship. However, you may only become a German permanent resident and obtain a Settlement Permit if you meet certain criteria. This post will explain how to get a German residence permit and simplify the procedures.

What exactly is a German Residence Permit?

If your main intention is to visit Germany for tourism purposes, you do not need a residency permit. A tourist visa permits you to remain in Germany for up to 90 days to see the nation and its numerous attractions. However, staying over the 90-day limit is not possible without a residency permit. It is only provided after you have lived and worked in Germany for a specific time – normally four years, but certain visa types allow you to apply for permanent residence sooner. It is a document issued to non-EU citizens who seek to live in Germany which permits the possessor to stay in Germany for a certain time. A residency permit extension is frequently possible.

Types of Residence Permits

A German residence permit can be obtained for a variety of reasons. Among the key goals are to study, work, and participate in other activities. There are many sorts of residence permits based on the reason for admission and length of stay.

  1. Temporary residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis): This type of permit allows you to stay in Germany for a specific purpose, such as studying, working, or reuniting with family. Temporary residence permits are usually valid for a limited period of time and must be renewed before they expire.
  2. Permanent residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis): This type of permit allows you to live and work in Germany indefinitely. To be eligible for a permanent residence permit, you must have lived in Germany continuously for at least five years with a temporary residence permit.
  3. EU Blue Card: The EU Blue Card is a residence permit specifically designed for highly qualified non-EU citizens. It allows you to live and work in Germany and other EU countries for up to four years. To be eligible, you must have a university degree and a job offer in Germany with a salary that is at least 1.5 times the average wage in the region where you will be working.
  4. Settlement permit (Daueraufenthalt-EG): This type of permit is similar to the permanent residence permit, but it is specifically for non-EU citizens who have lived in Germany for at least five years and meet certain other requirements, such as being able to support themselves financially and having sufficient knowledge of the German language.
  5. Family reunification residence permit (Familiennachzug): This type of permit allows you to join a family member who is already living in Germany with a valid residence permit. To be eligible, you must be a spouse, child, or parent of a family member in Germany, and you must meet certain other requirements, such as being able to support yourself financially and having sufficient knowledge of the German language.

Advantages of Permanent Residence in Germany

You will have access to more advantages as a permanent resident in Germany than you had as a temporary resident. This includes the following:

  • You are not required to renew your residency permit every few years.
  • You will be able to change occupations or establish a business notwithstanding your credentials or degree.
  • If you leave your employment, you will be eligible for German social security payments such as welfare.
  • If you intend to study at a German institution, you can apply for financial help.
  • After eight years of continuous residence in Germany, you can petition for German citizenship.

German Residence Permit Requirements:

To be given any of the residence permits, you will need to fulfill a few requirements, such as:

  • Have a valid passport from another country,
  • Not have a criminal record,
  • Be proficient in German at least a B1 level,
  • Have German health insurance,
  • Pass a health check which proves you are healthy enough to work and study,
  • Be financially stable and support yourself and your family,
  • If you plan on working in Germany, you will need a letter from your employer with the job offer and description,
  • If you intend to study in Germany, you will need to show proof of admission to a university.
  • You will require proof of marriage, such as a marriage certificate if you intend to join your spouse in Germany.

Documents needed for Residence Permit Application-

  • Passport
    1. The application form that has been completed & signed (Antrag auf Erteilung der Niederlassungserlaubnis).
    2. A current passport-size photograph. (35mm x 45mm on a white backdrop)
  • Evidence of German health insurance
    1. If you have statutory health insurance, you must present a confirmation certificate from your provider.
    2. If you have private health insurance, bring the policy and documentation that you have paid your contributions.
  • Proof of contributions to social security
  • Income and financial stability proof:
    1. If you are employed, please provide bank statements.
    2. If you are a freelancer or self-employed, you must file tax returns.
  • Proof of German language proficiency. (Recognized certificate with at least a B1 level)
  • If you have a job: contract of employment, as well as:
    1. Salary statements for the previous six months.
    2. Employment certificate provided by your employer during the past 14 days.
    3. Certificate issued by a German pension insurance company.
  • If you are a freelancer or self-employed person, please provide your entire audit report and most recent tax assessment. The audit must be done by a professional, such as a tax counselor, tax agent, or auditor.
  • The notice of pension eligibility (if you are a retiree).
  • Proof that your primary home is in Germany. This consists of:
    1. The Certificate of Address Registration (Meldebestätigung).
    2. Your landlord’s lease or rental agreement.
  • Evidence of a German university degree or vocational certificate (if applicable).
  • Your Marriage License (if you are married to a German citizen).
  • Your professional certification (if you are considered a highly skilled worker).

Note: Please keep in mind that the Ausländerbehörde may request extra documentation particular to your circumstance.

How to apply for a Residence Permit?

You must apply for permanent residency before your existing residence permit expires. The procedure for applying for a German Permanent Residence Permit is as follows:

  1. To schedule an appointment, go to your local Ausländerbehörde (German Immigration Office). This is the same location where you first obtained your residence permit.
  2. Pick up and fill out the application form (Antrag auf Erteilung der Niederlassungserlaubnis).
  3. Gather all of the documents specified below.
  4. Bring your papers and the application form to your appointment with the Ausländerbehörde. During the appointment, you will also be required to participate in an interview. If you are applying for a settlement permit as the spouse of a German national, your spouse must accompany you to the interview.
  5. Pay the application cost. During the appointment, you will be notified of the payment option, which is either cash, an EC Card, or a bank transfer.

Note: If you want more assistance with your application for German permanent residency, we recommend contacting the German embassy or consulate in your home country.

How long does it take?

It will take roughly two to three weeks for the Ausländerbehörde to make a decision once you submit your application and papers.

How much does it Cost?

The cost of your permanent residence permit is determined by the type of permit you have:

  • The charge for skilled workers is €113.
  • If you are a freelancer or self-employed person, the price is €124.
  • The rate for a highly qualified expert is €147.
  • If you are a Turkish citizen, the price is €28.80.

Can International Students get Permanent Residency in Germany?

No, if you hold a student visa, you cannot seek permanent residency in Germany. Your stay in Germany as an international student does not count towards your “residency time” for permanent residence.

You do, however, have an edge if you hold a degree from a German educational institution. After graduation, you can apply for a Job-Seeker Visa to hunt for employment, and if you acquire a qualified job offer (and obtain a skilled-worker residence permit in Germany), you can apply for permanent residency in only two years.

Skilled professionals with non-German degrees, on the other hand, will have to wait four years before applying for permanent residency.


It is important to note that a German residence permit does not automatically grant you the right to work in Germany. If you wish to work in Germany, you will need to apply for a separate work permit.

It is recommended that you contact the German embassy or consulate in your home country for more information.

Also, Read

Document Checklist for Germany Student Visa

9 steps to study in Germany

Unemployment Benefits in Germany

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