A German residence permit is a document designated for non-EU nationals wishing to reside in Germany. It allows its holder to stay in Germany for a restricted period. There is usually a possibility of residence permit extension.
A German residence permit is issued for various purposes. Studying, working and participating in other activities are among the main purposes. There are several types of German residence permits according to the purpose of entry and intended length of stay.
In this article, you can learn more about the German residence permits. Find the main types of German residence permits, how to get one, the application criteria, and much more.
Types of German Residence Permits
Depending on your purpose and length of the intended residency in Germany, there are a few types of German Residence Permits. It is crucial for you to select the right type of residence permit. Your whole application process, including the required documents and fees, depend on the type of permit you are applying form.
The types of Germany residence permits are as follows:
- Germany Temporary Residence Permit.
- Germany Permanent Settlement Permit.
- Germany ICT Card.
- Germany Mobile ICT Card.
- Germany EU Blue Card.
- Germany EU long-term residence permit.
German Temporary Residence Permit
The German Temporary Residence Permit is for persons who need to reside in Germany for a limited period. This residence permit is issued to persons wishing to reside in Germany for specific purposes. According to these purposes, there are a few types of Germany temporary residency permits:
- Germany Student Residence Permit.
- Germany Residence Permit for Temporary Employment.
- German Residence Permit for humanitarian or political reasons.
- German Family Residence Permit.
Each of these types of German residence permits for temporary stay has its own requirements. Temporary residents can apply for an extension of their permits in specific cases, i.e. a person on student residence permit has not graduated yet.
How to Apply for a German Temporary Residence Permit?
The application process for a German Residence Permit depends a lot on the type of the application form you are applying for. However, there is a common outline of this process for all types of Germany residence titles.
The process for applying for a Germany residence permit goes as follows:
- Enter in Germany with the right Visa. If you need a visa to enter Germany, make sure you enter with the right one. You cannot apply for a residence card under a tourist or business visa. Not even under a medical or cultural visa. You will need the right visa, for your application to be eligible.
- Register your German address. Upon arrival, get a place where you will be staying in Germany, if you have not already done so. You should register your address at the German authorities in the city you have settled in.
- Get Health Insurance. You may have purchased temporary health insurance from your home country. However, you should get health insurance in Germany for the whole period of planned stay in the country.
- Open a Bank Account. This is compulsory for a Germany residence permit application. You must have a bank account through which you prove financial stability.
- Fill an application form and set an appointment. There is a different application form for every type of residence title. Get the right form and answer all the questions given. Also, schedule an appointment with the closest immigration center to your place of residence in Germany.
- Have your documents ready. You should already prepare most of your documents while you are in your home country. Still, check if you have them all before attending your appointment.
- Attend your appointment. In the day of your appointment, show up at the right center with all the documents with you. You will attend a short interview, and then wait for the processing of your application. Usually, you have to pay the Residence Title fees on this day.
Germany Permanent Settlement Permit
A Germany Permanent Settlement Permit is a residence permit to stay in Germany for an unlimited period of time. The main conditions that an applicant for a Germany Permanent Settlement Permit should meet are as follows:
- The applicant lived in Germany for at least 5 years under a temporary residence permit.
- The applicant is financially capable of maintaining herself/himself.
- He/she has paid contributions into the statutory pension scheme for at least 5 years.
- The applicant has knowledge of the German language at required levels.
- The applicant possesses a basic knowledge of the legal and social system and the way of life in Germany.
- He/she has a living space for themselves and their family.
Yet, you may be exempt from some of these requirements if one of the following applies to you:
- You are an EU Blue Card holder.
- You have graduated from a German university.
- You are a highly qualified professional.
- You are a self-employed person.
Application Process for a Germany Permanent Residence Permit
The application process for a Germany Permanent Residence Permit is simple and quick. All you need to do is follow the steps given below:
- Check if you meet all of the requirements for a settlement permit in Germany. The requirements may differ a bit according to your current residency title. As explained above, if you belong to any of the four categories, some requirements may be facilitated for you. Make sure which requirements apply to you before you start the application procedures.
- Collect the required documents for a Germany Permanent Residence Permit. You can find a full list of these requirements below. Make sure you collect all of them, or else your application will not be processed.
- Make an appointment with the German Foreigners’ Registration Office. Note they due to the number of applications they do not accept walk-ins. You must make an appointment prior to submitting your application.
- Pay the residence permit fee. All applicants need to pay a fee for a permanent settlement permit. The fee may vary according to your current residence permit
- Attend the interview. When you submit your application for a permanent residence permit in Germany, you will have to attend an interview. The interview lasts about 15-20 minutes. The interviewer asks you questions regarding your applications and your background.
After the interview, you will need to wait for an answer in your application.
Germany Settlement Permit Requirements
On the day of the appointment with the German Foreigners’ Registration Office, you will need to submit a few documents. The required documents serve to prove that you meet the criteria for a Germany permanent residence permit. Based on these documents and the interview, the German authorities will take a decision on your case.
The required documents for a Germany Permanent Residence Permit are as follows:
- Germany Settlement Permit Application Form. The form asks some questions on your identity, time spent in Germany, your occupation etc. Make sure you fill in all the mandatory questions.
- Valid passport. You should also submit your passport when you apply. Remember that your passport will remain at the German authorities while your application is being processed.
- Biometric photo. Make sure you submit a photo of you, taken within the last three months.
- Proof of sufficient income. The German authorities want to make sure you will not be using welfare assistance. Thus, you must submit proof that you have sufficient income to support yourself and your family financially. The evidence of sufficient income depends on your employment status, as follows:
- If you are employed:
- Work contract.
- A recent statement from your employer confirming you work there.
- Pay slips of the last 6 months.
- An overview of social security payments.
- If you are self-employed or a freelancer:
- Most recent tax return.
- An audit report from a licensed tax consultant.
- If you are retired: a pension statement
- If you are unable to work:
- A doctor’s statement.
- Assessment from the employment office or disability statement.
- Health insurance. Submit proof you have health insurance from either the public or a private provider.
- Proof that you (or your partner) are paying into the pension system.
- Registered Address. Bring the confirmation of your registered address with you.
- Rental agreement or purchase contract. Its monthly costs and total square meters must be indicated in this document.
- Integration course or German language certificate with the final exam’s grade listed.
- If you are employed:
In some cases, you will need additional documentation, so check the requirements for your employment category
Germany Permanent Residence Permit Fee
The costs of a Germany Permanent Residence Permit depend on your situation. Though most applicants will need to pay a fee of €135, there are others as:
- Self-employed persons who need to pay a fee of €200.
- Highly qualified people who have to pay a fee of €250.
Germany EU Blue Card
A German EU Blue Card is a residence permit issued to third country nationals for the purpose of highly qualified employment in Germany or another EU country. It is issued with a validity of up to four years.
An EU Blue Card to work in Germany is granted under the conditions that the applicant:
- Holds a German or foreign recognized higher education qualification.
- Has at least five years of work experience in their field.
- Has an employment approval by the Federal Employment Agency in Germany.
- Receives a salary equal or exceeding as stipulated by the German laws.
The EU Blue Card can lead to a permanent settlement permit if the applicant holds a position of employment for at least 33 months.
Germany ICT Card
A German ICT card is a temporary residence permit for workers transferred to Germany to work for a branch of the company they work for in their country. It can be issued for up to three years of residence.
The main criteria set for applicants for a German Intra-Corporate Transfer Card are:
- The applicant is a non-EU national.
- He/she works as a manager or specialist in the host entity.
- The intra-transfer is longer than three months.
- The Federal Employment Agency of Germany has approved the intra-transfer.
- The applicant should provide a valid contract for the whole period of the intended residency in Germany.
- He/she should provide evidence of professional qualifications.
A trainee employ is also eligible to apply for an ICT Card. However, the validity of the card in such case is no longer than 1 year.
Germany Mobile ICT Card
A Mobile Intra-Corporate Transfer (ICT) Card is a residence permit for temporary stay in Germany. It is granted to persons who possess a valid residence title issued by another country, who wish to move to Germany for the purpose of an intra-corporate transfer.
- The main requirements for a Mobile ICT Card are as follows:
- The applicant will work as a manager, specialist or trainee employee in the host entity in Germany.
- The transfer lasts more than three months.
- The applicant has a work contract for the duration of the transfer.
- Appropriate knowledge of the German language.
- Approval by the German Federal Employment Agency for the transfer.
Germany EU Long-Term Residence Permit
An EU long-term residence permit is a permanent residence title equal to the German permanent settlement permit. The main criteria that those applying for an EU long-term residence permit should meet are as follows:
- Residence in the EU for a minimum of five years.
- Fixed and regular income.
- Sufficient command of the German language.
- The applicant must possess sufficient living space for himself and the members of his/her family.
Costs of German Residence Permits
All those applying for a German Residence Permit will need to pay a fee for the processing of their application. The fee depends on the type of permit one is applying for
The costs for a German residence permit are as follows:
- German Temporary Residence permit
- Valid for up to 1 year – 50 Euros
- Valid for more than 1 year- €80s
- 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 long-term residence permit – 85 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
German Residence Permit Processing Time
The processing time for a Germany residency permit application is around two to three weeks.