A residence permit allows holders to stay in Germany for a longer period than the one stated in the visa. It can be issued for various purposes such as studying, working and partake in other activities.
The application for a residence permit is done at the Foreigners Authority within Germany.
Next, an explanation of different German residence titles, other than German visa, will be given.
Residence permit “Aufenthaltserlaubnis”
The residence permit “Aufenthaltserlaubnis” is a temporary residence title that permits foreigners who have already entered with a visa in Germany, to extend their stay under the following reasons:
- Study Residence Permit to enroll in a study training or in a professional training
- Work Residence Permit to work in a paid job
- Residence permit issued on humanitarian grounds to stay under humanitarian or political protection, or for a reason related to the international law
- Family Residence Permit to join in life their foreign or German family member living in Germany
- Residence permit for former German citizens to return as a former German citizen (if they before were German citizens and left the country for a certain period of time)
- Residence permit for long term EU residents to move in Germany as someone who lived with an EU long-term residence permit in another country (issued by such country of the EU, not Germany)
The residence permit can be extended, but only when the holder meets some criteria, including participation in the integration course (meant especially for foreigners).
The EU Blue Card
The EU Blue Card is meant for the foreign highly qualified workers who already hold a recognized university degree taken in university in Germany, or a foreign university degree recognized degree in Germany, or a foreign university degree as equal to such German university degree, and a signed job contract with a German employer for a position related to such qualification lasting not less than 1 year, and a minimum salary threshold as required by the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs.
The minimum salary threshold must be at least 1.5 times the average domestic annual salary of Germany.
The EU Blue Card is given for maximum 4 years.
Generally, an EU Blue Card candidate is not required to confirm their level of understanding of the German language.
EU Blue Card holders become eligible to apply for a settlement permit after 5 years of holding this card, or after 2 years if meeting the German language requirement.
Settlement Permit & EU Long-Term Residence Permit
A foreign person having lived in Germany for quite a few years with a valid residence permit or an EU Blue Card, will generally enjoy, to any further extent, the right about getting a permanent residence permit to remain in Germany indefinitely.
Two types of permanent residence permits are:
- The settlement permit “Niederlassungserlaubnis” and
- The EU long-term (permanent) residence permit “Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU”.
Having any of these residence titles in their hold, a foreigner will any longer be unlimited to stay in Germany and involve in the country’s economic activity (work, freelance, self-employment, other), as well as to integrate into the German way of living.
Generally, foreigners having spent at least 5 years in Germany with a valid residence permit and visa they become rightful to remain in Germany for an indefinite period, but only if they do not fail to cope with other conditions for holding a settlement permit.
Both, settlement and EU long-term permits are to give the holder a permanent right of life in Germany as well as to get a paid work without limitations.
The difference, regardless of several similarities, is that the EU long-term residence allows the holder to migrate towards other EU countries, as well as to obtain a temporary residence title.
The German settlement permit, different from the EU long-term residence permit, does not automatically expire when the holder obtains an EU long-term residence permit from another EU country.
When someone qualifies to get both such residence titles, the settlement permit and EU long-term residence permit, they must be given both at once.
Conditions that the applicant must fulfill
Generally, candidates applying for any of these 2 permanent residence titles to live permanently in Germany, they must be in the following situation:
- Must have lived for minimum 5 years in Germany with a residence permit
- Must have the money to cover living costs for themselves and their dependent family members
- Must hold the work permit allowing them to get a paid job
- Must have paid mandatory or voluntary pension contributions for minimum 5 years
- Must sufficiently understand the German language
- Must be adequately informed on the German social and legal system
- Must be familiar enough with the German life
- Their place of stay must be plenty for themselves and their dependent family members
- Must have no criminal records
- Must not be a danger to the German public security or order
However, there are some special categories released or lessened of some of these requirements, such for foreign spouses and foreigners enrolled in studies.
Smaller period of stay to apply for a permanent residence title is needed in the following cases:
- For self-employed foreigners
- Holders of the EU Blue Card
- Highly-qualified foreigners
- Foreigner joining their German national family member
- Foreign spouse following the end of living together as a married couple
- Foreign minors, which held a residence permit for family reunion for 5 continual years before about the age of 16
- Foreign persons of age 16 and older who have stayed with a residence permit for 5 continual years and can meet other conditions
Periods of stay in Germany with a residence permit are calculated as periods of holding a residence permit:
- The time spent with a residence title out of Germany
If the candidate left Germany as a part of their job – to work in another country and they did not stay there for more than 6 continual months, or 10 total episodic months
- The complete time spent inside Germany with a residence permit, settlement permit or EU long-term residence permit
If the candidate was holding any of the previously mentioned titles when leaving Germany and the EU, and they reached either their end of any of such title’s valid period while being abroad or they have taken an EU long-term residence permit from a different EU member with a validity period up to 4 years
- The complete time spent as a person with the right of movement
- Half of the time spent enrolled in studies or in professional training
The EU long-term residence is not given to the following foreigners:
- Enrolled in studies or vocational training
- Living as protected persons
- Awaiting for a response on their application for asylum
- Permitted to live within the EU as protected subsidiary through the international law or EU law, or foreigners who are in a wait to get such a residence status
- Refugees or persons in a wait to get a refugee status
- Temporarily living in Germany such as an Au Pair or temporary workers and some posted workers
- Holding a status under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations (of 1961) and on consular relations (1963) or on the representation of states in their relations with international organizations of a universal character (1975) , under Convention on special missions (1969)
The EU long-term residence permit
This permanent residence type can be given to foreigners having lived mainly in Germany for 5 continuous years, holding either a visa, a residence permit or a settlement permit.
This residence permit, different from settlement permit, offers wider movement options within the EU countries, discounting Denmark, Ireland and the UK.
Disqualifying foreigners to take this residence title are only those who have stayed in Germany on humanitarian grounds as for studies.
The fee to apply for this residence title is 109 Euro, while in case of refusal is 54.5 Euro.
- A duly completed and signed EU permanent residence permit application form “Antrag auf Erteilung der Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt – EU”
- A valid national passport and a residence permit
- A covered health insurance
Persons who have a covered statutory health insurance, different from private health insurance holders, they do not have to extend their health insurance from time to time.
- Documents to show their residence in Germany
- Home registration certificate “Meldebestätigung” (received by the Residence Registration Office “Einwohnermeldeamt”)
- Rent agreement + A confirmation letter of accommodation “Einzugsbestätigung” issued by the homeowner
- Personal interview upon a preset appointment
- Documents showing enough money to live and accommodate
- Work contract + recent valid employment certificate + salary slips of the past 6 months – for an employed candidate
- Duly completed and signed audit report form “Prüfungsbericht” completed by tax expert, CPAs or authorized persons+ documents required within such report (i.e. The extract of business registration) + last tax assessment – for a self-employed person
- Tax bills, bank statements, other bills, cash flow statement – showing money generated and the payment of expenses – for freelancers
- Documents showing the costs of the accommodation
- Rent agreement + monthly rent expenses
- Purchase agreement on a residential property + monthly costs related to the home ownership
- Documents showing a paid (covered) statutory/voluntary pension contributions (for minimum 5 past years) of the statutory pension insurance / pension company
- Pension information about a German (statutory “state”) insurance / private pension insurance
- Pension information about another country’s state / private pension insurance
- Retirement pension plan of the spouses/life parents
Application Fees for Residence Permits
Whenever somebody applies for a long-term residence permit, the following fees are to be charged:
- Settlement permit (generally)
- Settlement permit for highly qualified persons – 200 Euros
- Settlement permit for self-employment – 150 Euros
- Settlement permit of different circumstances – 85 Euros
- EU long-term residence permit – 85 Euros
- Residence permit (generally)
- Valid for up to 1 year – 50 Euros
- Valid for more than 1 year- 60 Euros
- Extension for up to 3 additional months – 15 Euros
- Extension for more than 3 additional months – 30 Euros
- Change of residence title, including its extension – 40 Euros
- EU Blue Card
- The initial application – 100 Euros
- Extension for up to 3 months – 96 Euros
- Extension for more than 3 months – 93 Euros
- Turkish nationals – up to 28,8 Euros