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How can I apply for a German Permanent Residence Permit

Germany is a great country. Whilst some might think of it as the land of bratwurst and lederhosen, it's an industry giant in car manufacturing and technology.

Not to mention an incredibly friendly culture where it's easy to make friends and people who are (generally) very welcoming to immigrants.

But what if you want to stay? Here is my guide on how to obtain a residence permit in Germany.

What is a Permanent Residence Permit?

Before we talk about getting a residence permit in Germany, it's crucial to establish what it is and why you might want one.

A permanent residence permit allows you to stay in the country for as long as you wish. It means that Germany is now your home, and you're allowed to stay there until the day you die.

It's also known as the "Niederlassungserlaubnis" which translates into "Settlement Permit". The name shows that you have settled into German society and have now become a part of it. Not only are you allowed to stay, but you're also allowed to work. You can apply for any job, and hiring you will be just as easy as hiring any German citizen. Permanent residence is ideal for people who wish to work in industries where the German people tend to be more qualified than the British such as engineering.

With a permanent residence permit, your children and spouse will be allowed to join you, so you won't need to be without them to start a new life and career in Germany.

What are the Documents Required for a Residence Permit in Germany?

Suppose you wish to start applying for a residence permit in Germany. In that case, there will be a few documents that you need to provide and facts about yourself that you're going to have to prove. Germany won't be letting anybody stay for as long as they like and they only want people who are going to contribute to the economy and culture.

The first thing you'll need is a valid passport. This is to show that you are who you say you are, and everything else you're giving is yours and not someone else's.

You'll also need a B1 German certificate, to show that you have a basic understanding of the language.

If your initial reason for staying in Germany was a study or working, you're going to have to provide a letter of employment or a letter from your university.

You will have to show that you have German health insurance.

And if you want to bring your spouse, you'll be required to provide proof of marriage.

As well as giving physical documents, you will also have to pass a few checks.

Firstly, your criminal record will be checked to make sure you're not a dangerous person. As well as that, you'll have your credit checked to ensure you're financially stable and unlikely to rely on benefits.

What are the Requirements?

If you wish to know how to get a residence permit in Germany, you'll have to meet the following requirements.

  • You will usually have to have been a temporary resident for at least a few years. This is to ensure that only people who genuinely want to become permanent residents will apply. Neither you nor Germany wants to go through everything just to find that you change your mind just a few years later. The only exception is EU blue card holders- people who are highly skilled in sought after industries.
  • You will also need to have worked in Germany for at least five years. This is to show that you have contributed to their economy and you'll be there to give, not just to take. It's not fair for you to be getting the benefits of a permanent residency if you haven't been paying enough taxes.
  • Whatever job you have been working needs to have been approved by the Federal Employment Agency. I'm afraid voluntary work doesn't count as to qualify; you will need to have been paying taxes whilst you were working for those five years.
  • And finally, you need to have a decent grasp of the German language. When you're living there, the German government wants you to blend in smoothly with everyone else, and not have to rely on translators, or only speak to the people who speak English.

How Do I Apply for a German Residence Permit?

  • Register a German address. This needs to be your home address, not your work one. You need to have this as your primary residence.
  • Get yourself a German Bank account so that you can prove you're financially stable. You're also going to need German health insurance. Healthcare works differently over there, as it's not state-owned, but everyone still has free (at the point of demand) healthcare.
  • Contact your local immigration office to set an appointment. Try to make this as early as you can to avoid having to wait more than 90 days.
  • Finally, attend your interview. Make sure to bring all the documents you require. If you forget anything, you will need to reschedule your appointment.

How Long Does It Take?

After your interview, your application will need to be processed. During this time, the higher-ups and the immigration department will analyse you to decide if you're the type of person they want to stay in their country for good.

This will usually take around 2-3 weeks but can take longer due to certain circumstances, e.g., many people applying in a short period.

Does Germany Allow Dual Citizenship

No matter where you're from, if you have a German parent, you are eligible for dual citizenship at birth. The same applies to people who are ethnically German; they will be entitled to German nationality as well as citizenship from their parent's countries.

Because of Brexit-Übergangsgesetz, any British citizen (no matter where their parents are from) can have both German and British citizenship. Although there is a chance, the government could overturn this law when Brexit is forgotten about (if that ever happens).


To apply for a German Permanent residence permit, you will need to have been working in Germany for at least five years and be a temporary resident for at least a few years.

To go through the application, you're going to have to give them lots of documents and prove that you'll be a beneficial addition to the German culture, society, and economy.

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