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How to get Permanent residence in Germany

Updated: Aug 20, 2022

When you complete a certain amount of time living in Germany on a temporary residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), you’d become eligible for a permanent residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) which gets you the right to remain in Germany permanently.

Permanent residence permit and Permanent settlement permit

Germany offers two types of residence permits; permanent residence permit and permanent settlement permit

The Permanent settlement permit lets you reside in Germany for an indefinite amount of time. You’ll also be removed from any obligations to be bound to a specific job. While the permanent settlement permit is available to the ones who have been living in Germany for five years on a temporary residence permit and also comply with other requirements, people who fall into certain categories may obtain a permanent settlement permit earlier.

The requirements for a Permanent residence permit are similar to the requirement for a permanent settlement permit. However, the holders of a permanent residence permit get the freedom of movement and the right to temporarily reside within any European Union member states.

Requirements for a permanent residence permit

In order for you to apply for a permanent residency in Germany, you need to qualify the below conditions.

  • You have been living in Germany for five years with a residence permit

  • You have a valid residence permit that has not been issued for a temporary purpose (such as study or training).

  • You have a secured livelihood.

  • You have sufficient health insurance.

  • You have a sufficient pension (at least 60 months of compulsory contributions or voluntary contributions to the statutory pension insurance or comparable benefits).

  • You have sufficient living space for yourself and your family members.

  • You have sufficient knowledge of German language and basic knowledge of the legal and social order in Germany.

  • You have no criminal record.

You have a chance to get the permanent settlement permit earlier if you fall into any of the below categories

If you hold an EU Blue Card

If you have a Blue Card issued by an EU member state and you comply with all the points in the Requirements section above, you can apply for a permanent settlement permit after 33 months residing in Germany. Provided, you should have been employed and contributed to the statutory pension scheme for the duration.

You can apply of the permanent settlement permit in 21 months if you have a B1 certification

If you are a highly skilled professional

If you are a scientist or a professor in a notable position, or if you are a researcher with special expertises you are considered as a highly skilled professional and you may get a permanent settlement permit immediately if you fulfil the points in the Requirements section above.

Although, you may require an approval from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency).

If you are self employed

If you are an entrepreneur or self employed in Germany, you are eligible to apply for a permanent settlement permit after 36 months.

If you have a valid residence permit for self employment and successfully set up your business; and if you can prove that you have the necessary financial stability to support yourself, you may approach your local citizen’s office to process your application.

If you are a graduates of a German university

If you graduated from a German university and your job is related to your graduation stream, you may apply for a permanent settlement permit after 24 months. You also need to prove that you’ve contributed to a statutory pension scheme continuously for 24 months in addition to the qualifications in the Requirements section above.

If you hold a residence permit for studying, you are not eligible to apply for a permanent settlement permit until you complete your studies. You may apply for a work permit before you can apply for the permanent residency.

Documents required to apply for a German permanent residency

Apart from the documents mentioned below, your situation at the time of the application determines the additional documents required to support your application.

Generally, you’d require

  • Fully completed application for a settlement permit

  • Valid passport or passport replacement

  • Current biometric passport photo (photo booths can be found in the Foreigners' Registration Office)

  • Proof of health insurance

  • Proof of secure livelihood and housing:

In the case of a family partnership in a marriage or registered civil partnership, proof of subsistence and retirement provision can also be provided by the spouse or life partner.

  • Proof of benefits such as parental allowance, child benefit, child supplement, childcare allowance and maintenance can also be attached.

  • Proof of sufficient pension provision:

Waiting time information from the German Pension Insurance (Information on waiting time can be obtained from the municipal Insurance office in the district administration department).

  • If the Proof of sufficient pension provision is not available, the proof of entitlement to comparable benefits from an insurance or pension institution or an insurance undertaking is enough.

  • Proof of sufficient living space:

For rental apartments: Rental agreement with indication of the apartment size in square meters and bank statements showcasing the transfer of the rent

  • Proof of residence (Wohnungsgeberbestätigung)

  • In the case of condominiums: Purchase contract with indication of the apartment size in square meters and, if necessary, proof of the installment payments for loans and the monthly housing benefit / house money.

  • Proof of sufficient German knowledge and basic awareness of the legal and social order in Germany (either of the below):

    • Proof of successful participation in an integration course

    • Certificate of a German school, training or university degree

    • Certificate of German language skills of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) for languages at least at level B1

    • Or other proof of language proficiency

Additional documents :


  • Pay slips (certificates of earnings of the last three months)

  • Confirmation of the employment relationship

For self employed / freelancers

  • Proof of profit after tax (last income tax assessment, current profit and loss account of the tax consultant)

  • Business registration (if required by trade law)

  • Certificate from the tax office (information in tax matters)

In individual cases, additional documents may be requested by the authority

How to apply for a permanent residence permit in Germany

You need an appointment at your local foreigners’ office to submit your application for permanent settlement permit. It may not be possible to schedule an appointment at some offices in advance. Therefore, please check with your ausländerbehörde in advance.

During the appointment, an official will verify your application form and supporting documents. As long as you meet the requirements, your application is usually successful and you get your new permanent residence card by post.

Your settlement permit is still valid even if your previous passport has expired and you have already received a new passport.

In case your application is not successful, you will get a notification by post and you’d be given a chance to lodge an appeal.

Please note that your permanent settlement permit may expire If you leave Germany for a consecutive period of more than six months. If you have an EU permanent residence permit, it may expire after 1 year of stay outside the EU.

How much does it cost to apply for a permanent residence in Germany?

The cost depends on different aspects such as location, your professional and personal circumstances, etc. However, it generally costs around 113€.

For Turkish nationals it may cost around 37 € (from 24 years) or 22.80 euros (up to 24 years)

On your way to Germany

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