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Permanent residence in Germany: rights and possibilities of moving for permanent residence in Germany

In this section of our website you will learn how to relocate, move to permanent residence from other countries to Germany, what documents give the right to permanent residence in the country, how to get a visa and obtain a permanent residence permit. Each possibility of moving is considered in detail on a dedicated page of the site.


The European Union citizens have the right to come to Germany for permanent residence without any restrictions, but this is not the case for the citizens of other states, such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, etc. In order to have a permanent place of residence (PPR) or regular domicile in Germany, you have to obtain the required documents or status, giving the right to permanent residence in the country. From the table below you will find out what documents grant the right to live in Germany.

Table 1. Documents giving the right to permanent residence in Germany

Document, status Document, status in German Explanation
German citizenship Staatsbürgerschaft All citizens of Germany have a interstate German citizenship and are at the same time the citizens of the European Union. Under certain conditions, foreigners can obtain the German citizenship.
The EU citizenship Unionsbürgerschaft Citizens of the countries belonging to the European Union can freely enter, live and work in Germany. In case of obtaining citizenship in another EU country, you can thus obtain the German permanent residence permit.
German residence permit Niederlassungserlaubnis A residence permit gives the right to indefinite residence and unlimited employment. This document can be obtained by/upon a long stay in the country.
The EU long-term residence permit Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU The right to indefinite residence and unlimited employment, as well as the right to temporary stay in any country of the European Union.
The EU Blue Card Blaue Karte EU The document permitting residence and work in Germany for a period of several years, with the possibility of extension.
Permit to stay in Germany Aufenthaltserlaubnis, Aufenthaltstitel A temporary residence permit for Germany is usually issued for a period of up to three years with the possibility of further extension. The right to engage in labour activities, employment is specified in this document in a particular way.

§ Obtaining a visa for permanent residence in Germany

Visas are documents that give the right you to enter Germany for a specific purpose and, as such themselves, do not give the right to permanent residence in Germany; usually, a visa is limited in time by several months. A visa has to be obtained to get a permit to enter Germany, after which a person who has the right to permanent residence in the country can apply for one of the documents listed in table 1, that will give the right to a long-term or permanent stay. On dedicated pages of our site you will find detailed information about all types of visas: visas to Germany.

§ How to move to permanent residence to Germany from other countries

To obtain a permanent place of residence and relocate to Germany, you have to get a residence permit or the German or EU citizenship, these documents or status allow you to have a permanent place of residence in Germany, yet, obtaining them right away/ without delay is a very rare case, for example, if a person has a German origin and meets the ethnic German resettlers program requirements. The conditions for obtaining these documents or the said status are described in detail on dedicated pages of our website.

The usual way to obtain the permanent residence permit in the Federal Republic of Germany, is to come to the country for any permitted purpose, which implies a long-term stay in the country (for example: work, study, marriage, business, political asylum), to get a stay permit, which is usually issued for 3 years in this case; to find work over this period of time so as not to depend on the financial support on the part of the state, then extend the permit to stay; and over time, this will allow the said person to meet the requirements for obtaining a residence permit or citizenship, thus acquiring a permanent place of residence in Germany. Table 2 below presents 20 legitimate opportunities or ways for getting a permanent residence permit in the country.

Table 2. Ways of getting a permanent residence permit in Germany

Nr Opportunity for permanent residence Documents, status
1. Long-term residence, stay in the country Residence permit or Citizenship
2. Marriage with a German citizen Permit to stay or Residence permit - > Citizenship
3. Citizenship by birth, under certain conditions Citizenship
4. Adoption of a child under 18 Citizenship
5. Ethnic German resettlers/ Late resettlers Citizenship
6. Ethnic German resettlers, family members Citizenship
7. Ethnic German resettlers, other family members Permit to stay - > Residence permit - > Citizenship
8. Work in Germany for university-educated, college-bred specialists Permit to stay - > Residence permit - > Citizenship
9. Work in Germany for specialists without higher education in professions in demand Permit to stay - > Residence permit - > Citizenship
10. Starting your own business Permit to stay - > Residence permit - > Citizenship
11. Becoming an entrepreneur in a free profession (freelancing) Permit to stay - > Residence permit - > Citizenship
12. Working as a volunteer Does not lead to getting a permanent residence permit; during your stay you have to find a job or go to college and obtain a permit to stay in the country for a new reason.
13. Practical training student internship Does not lead to obtaining a permanent residence permit; during your stay you have to find a job or go to university and get a permit to stay in the country for another reason.
14. Working under the au-pair program Does not lead to obtaining a permanent residence permit; during your stay you have to find a job or begin your studies and obtain a permit to stay in the country for a new reason.
15. Higher education After studying, find a job and obtain a permit to work in Germany, then follow the conditions of obtaining a Residence permit / the Citizenship.
16. Getting vocational education and training Upon graduation, find a job and obtain a permit to work in Germany, then follow the conditions of obtaining a Residence permit / the Citizenship.
17. The right to asylum for the persons persecuted for political reasons Permit to stay - > Residence permit - > Citizenship
18. Granting asylum to victims of persecution in the country of origin. Permit to stay - > Residence permit - > Citizenship
19. Subsidiary, auxiliary protection for refugees Permit to stay - > Residence permit - > Citizenship
20. Jewish immigration to Germany Residence permit - > Citizenship

If you are aware of other opportunities or ways to get permanent residence in Germany or you have the experience of relocating permanently to the country, we suggest that you share it below on the page in the comments and questions section.


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