Settlement Permission (Permanent Residence)

Living here for a significant period, you will surely like to know when your residence is finally permanent. Let me tell you below.

I have lived here in Germany and worked as an employee for over six years now. I have now decided I do not want to go back to my country of origin. I want to stay here for good. However, I am reluctant to give up my citizenship. I have an “Auf­ent­halts­er­laub­nis” which I regularly have to renew. What is required to live here permanently?

To permanently remain in Germany, it is not at all necessary to give up your citizenship (§9 AufenthG). You are entitled to permanent residency (Niederlassungserlaubnis) if

  1. you have had a residence permit for five consecutive years,
  2. your livelihood is secured,
  3. you have paid at least (not necessarily consecutive) 60 premiums to an old-age pension scheme,
  4. you have not been sentenced for a deliberate crime with imprisonment of at least six months or with a fine of at least 180 daily fines during the last three years.
  5. you are working legally,
  6. you possess all requirements to pursue your profession, supposing there are any,
  7. have sufficient knowledge of German,
  8. have basic knowledge of legal and social order, and the Germany way of life,
    and
  9. have sufficient accommodation for you and your dependents living with you.       
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Aren’t there any exceptions? My spouse does not plan to work and is reluctant to search for a job. My job sustains for both us.

Sure. There is no rule without an exception. It suffices if one of you meet requirements no. 3, 5, and 6 – as long as the cohabitation remains. There are still some other not so very important exceptions.
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You just told me that I needed to be here for five years, but my neighbor got it after three years. How can this be?

Yes, that can be. After meeting all other above prerequisites, the officer can grant you a settlement permit. There are generally only two situations where this is true:

  1. when running a business or freelancing: if can show that you "have made it",
  2. in the case of relatives of a German citizen.
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Tell me more about this permanent visa for self-employed!

Sure! §21 IV AufenthG reads that your intended business must have turned to be successful and based upon that you and your family members have enough funds to suffice for life in Germany. This is a matter of descretion and very much depends on how you present your business success and your line of business.
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What is sufficient knowledge of German?

You have to show A2 in German (§2 XI AufenthG).
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How do I show the requirements of no. 8 social order?

Best is that you show no. 7 and 8 after having passed an Integration Course. If you are native German, studied Germanistics, then and in similar cases you can apply that an integration course can be waived.
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