How to get a residence permit in Germany: requirements and methods of obtaining a residence permit
On this page you will find out what a German residence permit is, how, who and under what conditions can obtain a residence permit in the country, as well as what advantages it provides and how much it costs to obtain a residence permit for the citizens of other countries.
§ What is a German residence permit?
A person who is not a citizen of Germany, the EU, or some other countries, does not have the right to enter Germany without a visa (see the German national and Schengen visas). To stay in Germany for a long time, s/he has to obtain a special personal temporary residence permit (in German: Aufenthaltstitel), which may contain a permit to work or study in the country, yet, this permit is limited in time and has to be constantly renewed. The document that gives the right to indefinite residence and unlimited employment in Germany is a residence permit (in German: Niederlassungserlaubnis).
A German residence permit is a document that gives a foreigner the right to stay and work in the country without restrictions as to the time limits and territory.
In the list of documents giving a foreign citizen the right to stay in Germany, the residence permit provides the greatest rights and the practical absence of restrictions in the labour sphere. A residence permit, however, is not an identity document and does not replace a foreigner's passport.
Another document comparable to a residence permit in Germany, which gives the right to indefinite residence and unlimited employment in the country, is the the EU long-term residence permit (in German: Daueraufenthalt-EU). This document gives its holder the right to reside in almost all the European Union countries.
§ How and who can obtain a residence permit in Germany
Foreigners can obtain a residence permit in Germany if the following general conditions are met, as provided for by the Act concerning Residence, Employment and Integration of Foreigners in the Federal Republic of Germany, Economic Activity and Integration of Foreigners in the Federal Territory (Residence Act) (in German: Aufenthaltsgesetz). For certain categories of foreigners (for example, refugees, private entrepreneurs, the EU Blue Card holders), other special conditions may apply; for information on the current conditions in each individual case, consult the Foreigners Registration Office.
Conditions for getting a residence permit
|Permit to stay||A foreigner must have the right to stay in the country for more than 5 years.|
|Deportation||No reason for expulsion from the state. The stay of a foreigner in Germany does not harm to the interests of the country.|
|Financial provision||Independent provision for material needs for themselves and their family, without financial support on the part of the state.|
|Pension insurance||Minimum 60 months of paid pension insurance contributions.|
|Work permit||Holds a work permit in the country.|
|Labour activity||Engaged in labour activities.|
|Knowledge of German||Has sufficient knowledge of the German language.|
|Knowledge in the field of law||Knowledge of legal norms and public order, as well as living conditions in Germany.|
|Housing||Has sufficient living space for themselves and their family.|
Residence permit termination
A residence permit may be terminated for the following reasons:
- The residence permit holder was evicted from the country;
- The residence permit holder does not have a valid passport;
- The residence permit holder changes their nationality;
- The residence permit holder leaves Germany for more than 6 months (there is an exception to this rule if a foreigner has lived in Germany for more than 15 years).
§ How to apply for a residence permit in Germany
To apply for a residence permit in Germany, you have to contact the local branch of the Foreigners Registration Office (in German: Ausländerbehörde). To obtain accurate information about the documents that have to be provided in your case, as well as to get the appropriate application form, it is better to get a preliminary consultation.
Documents required to apply for a residence permit in Germany
To obtain a residence permit, a person has to provide the following documents to the Foreigners Registration Office:
- Application for a residence permit,
- Valid passport,
- Valid residence permit for Germany,
- Biometric photo,
- An employment contract and a reference from the employer,
- The latest earnings salary certificates (in German: Lohnabrechnungen), your own and those of your spouse,
- Evidence of being insured in a pension fund and health insurance,
- Rental agreement and a respective certificate filled out by the landlord(LL),
- Evidenced B1 German language proficiency level.
The entrepreneur shall provide a certificate of their entrepreneurial activities.
§ Advantages of obtaining a residence permit or what the point of getting a residence permit would be
In Germany, there are several documents permitting you to stay in the country that are issued for various purposes, for example: work, business, practical training, studies, family reunification, marriage, etc. What are the advantages of obtaining a residence permit or what would be the point of getting a residence permit for citizens of other countries, in comparison with other documents that allow you to stay in the country? The list below shows some of the advantages.
- The residence permit is not limited in time, it is an indefinite permit;
- The residence permit availability gives its holder the right to engage in labour activities;
- The residence permit availability gives its holder the right to engage in business activities;
- The residence permit is not limited by territory; staying throughout the country is allowed;
- Compared to other documents permitting to stay in the country, the residence permit does not have to be constantly renewed, extended;
§ The cost of getting a residence permit in Germany
There is a state fee for getting a residence permit in Germany, the amount of which depends on the type of activities of the person who has applied for the said residence permit. The table below shows the cost of a residence permit as of 2019 by type of work.
Table 1. The cost of obtaining a residence permit in Germany.
|Type of activities||Price, in euros|
There is a special price for minor children.
§ Useful links as to getting a residence permit in Germany
- Residence Act, AufenthG, §9
- Residence Ordinance (AufenthV)
- What does a residence permit look like?
- The EU Regulation on the Issuance of Uniform Format Residence Permits
- Search for the nearest branch of the Foreigners Registration Office
- Application forms for obtaining a residence permit in Hamburg (in other languages as well)