Termination of Residence

Gee, I noticed that my permit has expired. I hope that I can just go in and renew it since I have been legally been here all the time.

Just like all time limitations, when your time is over, your time is over. Period. The BVerwG held applying too late does not make you eligible for an interim permit pursuant to §81 IV AufenthG (re 1 C 5.10 of June 22, 2011). The consequence is that you have to leave the country and reapply (§51 I no. 1 AufenthG). And when you belong to the visa waiver citizens, then you will have to stay outside of Schengen Area at least overnight and then may return. N.B. This the general concept as more details might be necessary.

When does my residency permit expire?

Your permission to reside expires as soon as/ upon/ on:

  • the period of the permit’s validity expires,
  • withdrawal or cancellation of the permission to reside by foreigners office,
  • your extradition has been decided,
  • you submit an application for asylum after a permit to reside has been granted for humanitarian reasons,
  • announcement of a deportation order pursuant to §58a AufenthG
  • you leave the country not only for temporary reasons,
  • you leave the country for more than six months in a row, without previously applying to stay outside longer,
  • you give grounds for expulsion.
Okay, my permit has expired. What does this mean?

An expired permit is a broad wink telling you that your stay in Germany has become illegal. And illegal sojourn implies that you are to leave the country – ASAP.  You will have to reckon that the border officer might want to interrogate you. But only, if you are a very few days late (§51 III AufenthG). If you are more than a few days late in leaving, you will need a "Grenzübertrittsbescheinigung" (certificate to pass the border without being arrested).

Well, how do I get this Grenzübertrittsbescheinigung?

You will have to contact your competent foreigners office and apologize for wanting to leave so late, present them your travel tickets. You will then receive a slip of paper to be handed to border officers upon departure. This will only work if you are not significantly late and readily show that you are willing to leave.

Well, after a year of residing here, the foreigners office in northern Germany withdrew my permit because I had not told them that I previously lived in Bavaria. I did not think it was necessary because I had learned during my previous stay that I was in a different country after passing the “Weißwurst”-equator. What went wrong?? They have given me one week to break everything up.

Ouch. Your question implicates a lot of things. You really fell for, better said misunderstood, a joke. You should have visited an attorney to streamline your application form. You just showed what good an orientation class (lesson on culture as a part of the integration course) would have done to you. Since the authorities noticed that you had not given accurate data, they were reluctant to let you remain because they felt they could not trust you. Provided that your obligation is enforceable and you do not voluntarily leave the country immediately, or within a set period granted, you will be deported. If necessary to ensure your departure, you can be taken into custody for deportation.

When can my permit to reside be withdrawn?

To withdraw a permit means that it loses its validity after it has been granted. This must and will occur by a special letter informing you of the grounds your permit has to be annulled. A permit can be withdrawn if

  • you do not have a valid passport,
  • you change or lose your citizenship,
  • not yet entered,
  • your acknowledgment as an asylum seeker or your status as a refugee expires or becomes invalid,
  • your labor agency withdrew your work permit because you were employed to less favorable conditions than Germans and you have a residency permit for work (e.g. not for family reasons).
Oh, come on. Is it really so strict that after 1 1/2 years of absence due to compulsory military service in my own country of origin that I may not be able to return here? And, especially that just after my service, I took a half-year vacation abroad?

Normally, having to leave Germany to follow the draft of the home government and returning within three months afterwards (§51 III AufenthG) does not touch your residency situation. Since you stayed home a quarter year too long, you cannot just easily return and continue things where you left them prior to your military service. However, this does not mean that you jeopardized every and all reentries. Now, in your situation, you will just have to reapply following the general rules.

Must I immediately leave Germany after my right of sojourn has expired? Is there not an interim solution allowing me a week or two?

When your time is over then your time is over – unless the authority granted you a period to voluntarily leave. You must leave without undue delay (§50 II AufenthG).

Is there anything required to leave Germany? Is it just sufficient to enter a neighboring country?

You are to leave Germany – more precisely Schengen Area! To enter e.g. The Netherlands will only then suffice, if Dutch authorities have granted you a residence permit for that country (§50 II AufenthG). If you do not have a permit already, then you will not get one before having left the Schengen Area.  In case of doubt, you will have to leave for your home country because, being your home country’s national. A country has to let its national enter – anytime. That is why German authorities will always want to deport you to your country of origin.

Having accompanied my spouse to Germany, who has a well-paid job, we are thinking about splitting up. How will this effect my own residence permit?

Supposing you have split, your permission to reside will be prolonged – granting you an independent status from your “worse” half for one year if your cohabitation has legally endured in Germany for at least three years and your ex’s permit has not expired (§31 I no. 1 AufenthG). You will be allowed to work.