How to get Permanent Residency in Germany? Most people have to wait at least five years to obtain permanent residence in Germany, but did you know that there are also a number of exceptions that could allow you to cut this waiting time by a year or more?
What is permanent residency and who needs it?
It is known as a settlement permit also, while permanent residence is an unrestricted right of residence in Germany. Unlike a specific visa, there’s no expiry date on a settlement permit, and no requirement for you to fulfil conditions such as being employed, studying or being in self-employment. Ultimately, it’s hugely beneficial for people who want to stay in Germany long-term to get permanent residency.
Once you do, you can say goodbye to lengthy queues at the Foreigner’s Office, fears about not meeting the requirements for your visa to be renewed, and general insecurity around your residence rights.
If you have held a residence title in Germany for at least five years without interruption, you may be eligible for an open-ended residence permit, subject to certain conditions.
The EU long-term residence permit
The EU long-term residence permit is an open-ended residence title enabling you to also settle in another State of the EU, assuming that you comply with the rules that apply there.
You will receive a German EU long-term residence permit if you have held a residence title for at least five years, if you can ensure your and your family members’ livelihoods through a regular source of income, you have adequate knowledge of German, and are integrated in Germany.
The settlement permit
The settlement permit enables you to take up open-ended residence in Germany. This title does not however entitle you to stay in another EU Member State for more than 90 days. In order to receive this title, you must have held a residence title for at least five years, have paid statutory pension insurance contributions for at least 60 months, have a secure livelihood, and be well integrated. In the case of married couples, it is sufficient if one partner has paid the pension insurance contributions and is entitled to pursue gainful employment.
You receive a settlement permit if you have held a residence title for four years for employment as a skilled worker (with vocational training or an academic education) or as a researcher, hold a job, have paid compulsory pension insurance contributions for 48 months and have sufficient knowledge of the German language.
Persons who have completed a degree or vocational training in Germany:
You receive a settlement permit if you have successfully completed vocational training or a degree in Germany, have held a residence permit for two years for employment as a skilled worker (with vocational training or an academic education) or as a researcher, hold a job, have paid compulsory pension insurance contributions for 24 months and have sufficient knowledge of the German language.
EU Blue Card holders
If you hold an EU Blue Card and have a basic knowledge of German, you will receive a settlement permit after only 33 months, provided you have been in appropriate employment during this time and paid statutory pension insurance contributions.
If you have a sufficient understanding of German, you will be issued with a settlement permit after only 21 months.
If you’re lucky enough to have some highly sought-after skills like engineering or tech, you can come to Europe on a Blue Card and receive a whole host of benefits.
You may be issued with a settlement permit after only three years if you are successful and able to earn your livelihood and support your dependants with sufficient income.
The definition of ‘successful’ is not particularly well-defined, but essentially you will have to prove that the income from your business is sufficient to take care of you and your family. You will also have to have paid into a pension pot or show that you have around 200,000 Euros in assets that will enable you to look after yourself in your old age. As always, health insurance is also a must, though language skills are not required.
Family members of a German national
You will receive your settlement permit if you have held a residence permit for three years, the family unit continues to exist in Germany and you have sufficient knowledge of German.
Recap to Become a German Permanent Resident
The period of time you have to live in Germany before you get a Settlement Permit depends on your current residential status. As such, you can become a German permanent resident:
After four years if you are a skilled worker.
While, After four years if you are a researcher.
Meanwhile time duration is two years if you are a skilled worker with a German university degree or vocational training.
After 33 months if you are an EU Blue Cardholder. If you are an adequate speaker of the German language, you can get the Settlement Permit after 21 months.
After three years if you are self-employed.
You can get permanent residence After five years if you are a freelancer.
After three years if you are the family member of a German national.
After five years if you are in Germany as an asylum seeker or refugee. The period can be shortened to three years if you can speak German well and are able to earn your own living.
You cannot work in other European Union countries if you are a permanent resident of Germany. If you find work in another country, then you will have to apply for the relevant residence and work permit for that country, which means you will have to give up on your German residency.
International Students in Germany
Students cannot apply for permanent residency status in Germany if they have a student visa. The time they spend in Germany as an international student does not count towards their “residency time” for permanent settlement.
However, with a degree from a German educational institution, you have an advantage. After graduation, you can apply for a Job-Seeker Visa to look for work, and if you receive a qualifying job offer (and get the skilled-worker residence permit in Germany) you can apply for permanent residence after only two years.
In contrast, skilled workers with a non-German degree will have to wait four years before they apply for permanent residency.
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