Settlement Permission (Permanent Residence)

Waiting time for permanent residency

Living here for a significant period, you surely would like to know when your residence is finally permanent. I have answered many of these questions in the last years. Here are some of the questions and answers.

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). The general requirements to obtain permanent residency (Niederlassungserlaubnis) are:

  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 possess all requirements to pursue your profession, supposing there are any,
  6. have sufficient knowledge of German (B1),
  7. have basic knowledge of legal and social order, and the Germany way of life,
  8. have sufficient accommodation for you and your dependents living with you.
    Whereas no. 6 and 7 are to be shown with a successful integration test.
Aren't there any exceptions? My spouse does not plan to work and is reluctant to search for a job. My job supports both of us.

Sure. There is hardly a rule without an exception. It suffices if one of you meet requirements no. 3 and 5 – as long as the cohabitation remains. There are still some other very important exceptions.

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 happen. 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: if you can show that you "have made it",
  2. in the case of relatives of a German and you are here on family reunion.
Tell me more about this permanent visa for self-employed!

Sure! §21 IV AufenthG reads that your intended business must have turned out to be successful and based upon that you and your family members have enough funds to live in Germany. This is a matter of discretion and very much depends on how you present your business success and your line of business. This is a fast track approach to reward you for successful entrepreneurship. If you do not convince the official on the success of your business, you can still apply after two more years. In this case, you will have to meet all the general requirements as listed above.

How do I show the requirements of nos. 6 and 7 – social order?

Immigration will considered nos. 6 and 7 as given after having passed an Integration Course. If you grew up in Germany, studied German language and literature studies, then and in similar cases you can apply that an integration course can be waived.

I studied here in Germany and passed my exams. What about me?

Since March 2020, §18c AufenthG determines you can apply for permanent residency after two years if you also meet the general requirements accordingly. Yes, you will not have to show 60 months but only 24 months on premiums for pension plans.

What are the requirements for Blue Card holders?

Again, you are treated preferentially in comparison to the general rule of §9 AufenthG. §18c AufenthG determines that already 33 months of being employed holding a Blue Card will fulfill the time requirement. On top of that, you will need to have paid 33 months of pension premiums and A1 German skills. If you have B2 German skills, then you reduce your waiting time to 21 months (§18c II 3 AufenthG).

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