How to get a German permanent residence permit

For many of us expats, it has been a long and complicated road to build a stable situation in Germany. You should be proud of yourself for achieving all this. However, in the back of the mind, there is always the feeling that our lives are hanging onto a visa tied to a company, a job or a type of career.

To push this uneasiness away, it’s time to make it official and long-term: let’s get a our German permanent residence permit sorted! Only then are we able to think about the future, without any sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.

German Permanent residence permit

This guide aims at giving you an overview on the topic. Brew yourself some coffee: it’s a long read!

Visa, residence permit, settlement permit… what’re the differences?

Here the problem is that many of these words are used interchangeably. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge / BAMF) differentiates between several residence titles – documents that state the terms under which you can visit, live in and work in the country. It’s more commonly known as a visa or limited residence permit. In Europe, you differentiate between the EU-level visas, such as the Schengen visa that you’ve likely heard of, and the national visas which are given by an individual country’s government. A settlement permit, on the other hand, is a long-term residence title which has fewer restrictions than temporary ones.

The Aufenthaltserlaubnis (limited residence permit) is your standard Germany visa, which is issued for a specific time period and has restrictions on the type of work the holder can have. In other articles on Settle in Berlin, we’ve covered visas for:

We’re going to focus on the two long-term settlement permits, namely the German permanent residence permit (unbefristete Niederlassungserlaubnis) and EU permit for permanent residence (Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU). If you want to live indefinitely in Germany and the EU, these are the two permits to research. And of course, there is the option of acquiring German citizenship. But that’s a story for another day.

The main difference between the permanent residence Germany provides and the one from the EU is the length of time you need to live in Germany before you qualify. Also, while the latter lets you move around the EU without restrictions, with the former you’ll need to keep your main address in Germany. Let’s look at both each of these options, starting with the EU-level permit.

What are the requirements for the EU permit for permanent residency?

According to Section 9a of the German Residence Act, as a non-EU national, you may apply for unlimited residency to live and work anywhere in the EU once you have lived at least five years in Germany. During this time, you need to have been paying into the health and pension systems (60 months in total) How these 60 months/5 years are calculated depends on your situation. For the permit for permanent residence Germany usually requires you to already have a visa that allows you to work, such as the permits for general employment, self-employment, and the EU Blue Card. If you’re currently a student, completing an internship, or just here to visit a language course, you don’t qualify.

When you apply, you’ll need to prove that you have enough money or a job that pays enough for you to support yourself and your family unit without the need for government assistance. Also, your living space must be big enough. This seems to mean a minimum of 13sqm per person. In addition to these requirements, you should enroll in an integration course or show proof that you speak German at a B1 or better level and that you have the necessary knowledge about German law and culture.

What are the requirements for the German permanent residence permit?

If you are a non-EU national and have lived in Germany for at least 5 years (60+ months of health and pension system contributions), then you meet the first requirement for the German permanent residence permit. The other requirements are the same as above for the EU permanent residence permit: enough money, visa that allows work, enough living space, enough German language and societal knowledge, and no criminal record.

But different from the EU permit, you might be able to get the Germany-issued permit sooner as long as you don’t have a criminal record and you fall under one of these categories as explained by the BAMF:

  • Specialist: In some cases, you might immediately qualify for a permanent residence permit if you are a well-educated specialist in your field. Generally, this translates to scientists, senior researchers, and instructors. You first need to get a job offer in Germany with a high enough salary to secure your livelihood.
  • Graduate of a German university: You now have the “right” degree to be successful here. When it comes to permanent residence Germany wants to keep the best and the brightest, so this will make it easier to get a temporary visa and only need to live 2 years in Germany to qualify for the long-term permit. More specifically, you need to have a job in your field that pays you enough money that you don’t need to rely on government assistance. In addition to working for 2 years in Germany (24 months contribution to the pension system), you’ll need to show B1 German language skills.
  • EU Blue Card holder: There’s a reason this is called the “golden ticket” visa. As long as you meet the standard requirements set for the German permanent residence permit, you can apply for it after only 33 months instead of 5 years. Even better, if you pass the B1 German language exam, you can already apply for the permit after just 21 months! Only those months will be counted when you had the EU Blue Card, lived in Germany and contributed to the social security system. Basically, the government wants to keep you in Germany because Blue Card holders get good salaries, are well-educated, and usually bring much-needed skills.
  • Self-employed: The official requirements are vague, but basically if you meet all of the standard requirements and your business is successful, then you can apply for the permanent permit after just 3 years This only applies to business owners (Gewerbetreibende). Freelancers (Freiberufliche) have to wait the usual 5 years.
  • Family member of a German citizen: In this case, the rules are less strict. If you have learned basic German, have held a temporary residence permit for at least 3 years, and still live together with the German citizen (spouse, partner, child, or parent) then you should qualify for the permit for the permanent residence Germany offers.
  • Asylum seekers and refugees: If you are a recognized asylum seeker or refugee in Germany, you qualify for a permanent residence title like everyone else after 5 years. This can be shortened to 3 years if you can show that you are well integrated and have learned German (C1 level).

More details on the requirements can be found here in English or by deciphering the German legalese.

Life of an expat in Germany: a romantic representation 😉

Permanent Residence Germany Application Process

For the application process for either permit, you’ll need to submit the following documents to your local Foreigners Office (Ausländerbehörde). For the purpose of this post, we will be using using the specific requirements for Berlin residents:

  • Application Form for a permit allowing Permanent Residence Germany or EU (Antrag auf Erteilung einer Niederlassungserlaubnis/Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU) – this mostly confirms that you’ve read the requirements.
  • Valid passport
  • Biometric photo
  • Proof of sufficient income: here they’ll want to see that you and/or your partner are earning enough money to avoid welfare assistance. Employees should bring their contract, a recent statement from the employer confirming they work there, pay slips of the last 6 months, and an overview of social security payments. Self-employed people and freelancers need the most recent tax return (Steuerbescheid) and an audit report (Prüfungsbericht) from a licensed tax consultant. If you’re no longer working due to retirement, you just need your pension statement (Rentenbescheid), but if you’re unable to work you need to bring a doctor’s statement (fachärztliches Attest), assessment from the employment office, or disability statement (Rente wegen Erwerbsunfähigkeit oder Erwerbsminderung).
  • Documentation for any additional funds that you receive, like child money (Kindergeld) or parental leave assistance (Elterngeld).
  • Proof you have health insurance, either through confirmation from the insurance (public) or showing the policy agreement and proof of payment (private).
  • Proof that you (or your partner) are paying into the pension system.
  • Registration confirming that this is your main address (Meldebescheinigung).
  • Rental agreement or purchase contract that shows the monthly costs and total square meters.
  • Integration course or German language certificate with the final exam’s grade listed. There may be alternative ways to prove these conditions are met – ask at your local Foreigners Office.
  • The fee varies depending on the situation, usually between €113 and €124. Note that you still have to pay half as a processing fee if you are denied the permit.

In some cases, you’ll need additional documentation, so check the requirements for your employment category. Here are the links to the Berlin service pages for:

If you’re missing documents or don’t meet the requirements, be ready to get denied the permit. This shouldn’t have an effect on your existing visa unless you no longer meet those requirements either. I highly recommend you find an immigration lawyer or talk to your local migration advisory center (Migrationsberatung).

If you’re missing documents or don’t meet the requirements, be ready to get denied the permit.

Once you get your little plastic card, celebrate! The permit for permanent residence Germany has finally awarded you with lets you live and work in Germany for as long as you like. Your permit is unlimited and won’t expire or need changing when you switch jobs. If you took the longer route and applied for the EU permit, you can now move to any other EU state. But if you live outside the EU for more than a year you may lose the permit. And you’ll want to stay on good terms with the local Foreigner’s Office, especially if you’re working towards citizenship.


Is going through an integration course a requirement to apply for permanent residency in Germany?

As mentioned here, the integration course certificate can facilitate the processing of your file by the authorities and therefore improve your chances. However, it’s not compulsory: “You can furnish proof of an adequate command of the German language as well as of your basic knowledge of the legal and social system, but also other things when appearing in person.“, as per stated by the Foreigner’s office. So while a language course certificate is something you can’t not provide, the rest will be assessed during your interview.

I hope this overview helped you to wrap your head around the different topics. Let me know in the comments if you have any remarks or questions.


  • Reply Pragya 09/09/2020 at 17:47

    Greetings, thank you for the helpful article. I am in the process of extending my residence permit. My husband and child are both dependent on my work visa. I was told I need to show more income. My question is how much is sufficient? Is there a ratio I can possibly look at?

    Another question is, can my child and I be on my work visa, while my husband can possibly change from being my dependent and apply for a freelance visa?

    Really grateful to have such a helpful platform. Thank you for your contribution.
    Kind regards,


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 15/09/2020 at 13:23

      Hey Pragya. I’m afraid i can’t really give you any pointers other than maybe looking at average salary levels in your industry or in your job type. As for for the other question, i don’t see any issue from what i can understand. For both those questions, you may want to give this hotline a call for further guidance.

  • Reply Anup 04/09/2020 at 20:14

    Hello, My question is related Work Visa, I studied masters in Berlin and I am on job seeker Visa which will expire in march 2021.
    Is it possible to get Work visa with limited work contract? (I am working in a Bank as an analyst, their policy is to give temporary contract for 9 months)

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/09/2020 at 13:31

      Hey Anup. An unlimited contract is not a hard requirement, or at least it is formulated as such by immigrations authorities. However, you have to wonder: you need to prove that you can successfully establish yourself long-term in Germany. A limited contract is therefore not a great asset to prove that. In doubt you can also ask this hotline.

  • Reply naz 04/09/2020 at 18:22

    Hello.. i am british citizen and l live in Germany from 03_2017 I know i can get Permanent stay after 5 years my question is can i apply for Citizenship direct instead of Permanent stay ???

  • Reply Siva 01/09/2020 at 19:53

    Hi, I have a few questions regarding my PR application. I have done my Masters in Germany and I am working from the last 21 months in a company with EU Blue card. Unfortunately, my company got terminated my contract in the 21st month. I have B1 certificate and as I have worked for 21 months, I can show my Rentenversicherung for 21 months and also pay slips for last 21 months. So, my question is can I apply for the PR in my 22nd month without the job contract (since it is terminated after 21 months) ??

  • Reply Emmanuel 27/08/2020 at 09:25

    Good Day, I came to Germany as an asylum in Bavaria in October 2014. In April 2018, I married to a German citizen in Baden-Württemberg and received a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel) .To make it short! I spent 3 years and 6 months in asylum, while 2 years and 5 months in our happy married life currently going fine.I had A2 certificate in the integration course and Leben in Deutschland certificate. We currently live in Munich and working . My question is, I want to apply for German citizenship or permanent residence permit? What are my chances to get any of them? . I will be appreciated for any advice or opinions .

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 27/08/2020 at 17:40

      Hey Emmanuel. I can’t really comment on your personal chances because it’s simply too hard to assess from a few lines in a comments’ section. Please refer to the requirements in the post. Permanent residence is easier to achieve than German citizenship in general, but maybe your marriage can grant you a fast track for that.

  • Reply Ebun 24/08/2020 at 13:33

    Hi, I obtained a masters degree in germany. Of which, I worked as a student assistant for 6 months during my masters program and I obtained my masters degree after 2 years. Afterwards, I got a full-time p.hd position of which I have also worked for 2 years. Is it possible for me to apply for a fast track PR already even when I have not completed my Ph.d?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 25/08/2020 at 10:54

      Hey Ebun. I cant really comment on specific cases like this as it depends on your field, whether or not you have a high-paying job etc.

    • Reply Nishant 03/09/2020 at 10:59

      With a full time Ph.D position as a wissentshaftilicher mitarbeiter, you are eligible for the fast track PR. The point is, you must have contributed in the pension fund (rentenversicherung) for two years to be eligible for PR, using the path of graduate from a german university. For this case, you further require B1 level of german skills (with certificate)

      In case you have a Blue card (which is possible for a full time PhD position), you are eligible for PR in 21 months (with B1 certificate) or 33 months (with A1/A2 certificate).

  • Reply Lisa 23/08/2020 at 13:07

    Do you know what level of B1 is required? ex. B1.1, B1.2, B1.3 are all “B1”

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/08/2020 at 12:53

      Hey Lisa. It’s the first i hear of these increments. First level of B1 is sufficient.

  • Reply Brett 20/08/2020 at 09:24

    Hi Alican – if you have a certificate or attendance letter from a language school that validate B1 level, that is enough.
    That is all I required when I applied and the process went smoothly.

  • Reply Patrick 11/08/2020 at 10:20

    Hi there,
    I had a question regarding the 5 years of residency. I am a British citizen, and have been in Germany for the last 3 years (2017-2020). I was then in the UK for two years (2015-2017), but lived in Germany for 3 years prior to that (2012-2015). Do the 5 years of residency need to be consecutive, or does the fact that I was still in an EU country for that gap make a difference?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 11/08/2020 at 20:28

      Hey Patrick. you need to count how many months you contributed to social security/welfare in Germany, it doesn’t need to be consecutive, if i understand this section 9b correctly.

  • Reply Gabriel 27/07/2020 at 16:59

    Hi! I have a Blue Visa and I wanted to apply for a Permanent Residence. I wanted to ask you about the social security payments: there is an agreement between Germany and my country in which you can choose if you prefer paying the Social Secturity taxes in Germany or in Uruguay. My company has been paying them in Uruguay. If I decide to retire in Germany, then I can bring all the payments to Germany. Same story if I want to retire in Uruguay. So the payments are there but due to this law you could choose where to pay. Do you know how this can affect the application?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/08/2020 at 21:47

      Hey Gabriel. Sorry but this sort of special case is beyond my knowledge. You may need to ask a specialist about that.

  • Reply Alican 17/07/2020 at 10:30

    Hi there,
    Are you sure about the “integration course or show proof that you speak German at a B1”?
    I mean if I prove that I speak B1 level German, can I really skip that 700 hour integration course?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/07/2020 at 20:37

      Hey Alican, as mentioned here, the integration course certificate is a facilitator for your case and may improve your chances, but it*s not compulsory. That’s at least how it’s phrased.

    • Reply Nic 01/08/2020 at 16:12


      I have worked for three different companies over the past 15 months all with a blue card issued and having contributed to the rentenversicherung. There has only been a single interruption of 2 months of unemployment, when I changed jobs (i also got Arbeitslosengeld in these 2 months).

      My question is. Do these months I have worked, in total of 15 months, culminate in a sum total and if I then need to continue for the remainder of the 21 months before applying for a permanent residence or if the 21 month period is only calculated from a uninterrupted working contract and single issue blue card?

      Thank you for your advice!

      • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/08/2020 at 22:13

        Hey Nic. You might need to double check this but i believe that how you contributed does not matter, as long as the minimum duration threshold has been met.

  • Reply Ankith Hegde 07/07/2020 at 13:53

    hello , i am leaving in Germany for 6 years and working for almost 3 years and rest i was doing my master degree . i recently applied for permanent residency . they have rejected my visa ,because my B1 certificate is too old . i hot my B1 in 2013 . is it valide ? because i have a friend who doesnt have any german language . he received the visa without any problem

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/07/2020 at 09:49

      Hey Ankith. I can’t comment on particular decisions from the foreigner#s office.

  • Reply Ivan Abakumov 04/07/2020 at 22:46

    Hi, thank you so much for publishing this important information. I currently has a blue card and would like to apply for the permanent residence permit. How does the procedure look like for my spouse and dependents? Should we apply for the permanent residence permit all together, or should my wife independently apply for the residence permit for the spouses of permanent permit holders? Thank you for your time!

  • Reply Neha Sharma 04/07/2020 at 15:39

    Hello, I really appreciate the details of writing. It is very helpful.

    I have a question, I have stayed in Berlin for 2 years now and my Blue card is valid till July 2021 however I have received a job offer from Amsterdam, although I have not finished 33 months, do you think it is a possibility to get the PR before I leave in September provided I need to give a German B1 Exam? How much would be the role of my current employer in this?

    Thank you so much for answering. I am really confused wether I should let go of the nice offer in the Amsterdam for the PR or wait for the PR. Any help will be appreciated.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 06/07/2020 at 10:21

      Hey Neha That would be a possibility yes, as stated in the post. However, i’m not sure if you would be able to pass the test, gather documents, apply and have your case processed before September. Purely a logistics reason here.

  • Reply Sobu 25/06/2020 at 14:12

    Hi, Once I have the PR, can I open a business or do I need to keep working for a company?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 26/06/2020 at 10:14

      Hey Sobu. Yes you can open a business.

  • Reply Usman 22/06/2020 at 15:39

    I have been living in Germany since 2017 and can now apply for the residency after 33 months. Do I need to provide them with an A1 certificate?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/06/2020 at 09:23

      Hey Usman. Look at the requirements again, it depends on your profile.

  • Reply Channuk 20/06/2020 at 15:30

    Hi, I have a small doubt on unemployment benefit in Germany.
    I am working in Germany since almost 6 years, currently I have a limited period contract until next Mar’2021. Looking at the current dynamics in the company it is difficult to get contract renewal or maybe chance of layoff before completing the current contract. Due to corona pandemic we are already working on Kurzarbeit at the moment and it may go another few months.
    My question is: If I become unemployed, I will apply for the unemployment benefit. how they will calculate my unemployment benefit?
    are they pay 67% of my original current salary or 67% of Kurzarbeit month salary? or only actual working days of Kurzarbeit month salary?, since from past 2 months actual working days in the months are only 10days and rest of the days are considering under Kurzarbeit.
    I request you to please give a short info on my question.

    Thanks in advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 22/06/2020 at 10:02

      Hey Channuk. Kurzarbeit is considered normal working time, ALG1 will be calculated on the basis of your full salary. Source.

      • Reply Channuk 22/06/2020 at 11:52

        Dear Mr. Bastien,
        Thank you very much for your quick response.
        Have a nice day.

  • Reply Jo 13/06/2020 at 12:15

    Hello, i am working in Germany with a blue card visa. My wife is also here with a dependent visa. My wife is going to write B1 exam and integration course. Question is, can myself applt for a PR with wife’s B1 and integration course certificate.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 16/06/2020 at 09:30

      Hey Jo. I’m not sure in understand. Why would that work?

  • Reply Tejas 04/06/2020 at 10:35

    Dear Bastien,
    I have followed this website for a while now… An Excellent resource [with a capital E! :)]. My question is regarding Niederlassungserlaubnis requirements. I am about to take the German B-1 certificate exam. I am about to complete 21 months under my blue card and I have completed my master degree here as well. In that case, is an integration course still a requirement?

    Thanks a lot and stay healthy 🙂

  • Reply Zarrar 29/05/2020 at 05:05

    Hello There,

    Your responses are very informative. I have to ask you a question. I am living and working in Germany for nearly five years. Soon I will apply for permanent residency on completion of five years working and residing in Germany. And I can fulfil all other requirements e.g. B1 and 60+ months payslips and no criminal record etc..
    BUT during this five years time, for 13 months, I was living with a friend in his apartment without having Anmeldung with my city. This was because of my previous landlord ask me to leave the apartment (and I had to Abmelden from the city office) and I was not able to find another apartment for 13 months. So I was living with friend and working non stop. In this case, how can I satisfy the Ausländerbehörde that I am working non-stop for five years and I was living with a friend for that 13 months and in total five years in Germany.

    Best Regards

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/06/2020 at 10:21

      Hey Zarrar. So to be clear, you weren’t registered at your friend’s apartment during this time?

      • Reply Zarrar 01/06/2020 at 20:16

        Thanks for response. Exactly! I was NOT registered at my friend’s apartment during that time.

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/06/2020 at 09:52

          Hey Zarrar. Honestly i don’t know. I would tend to say it matters more that you were working and contributing during that time than to have been registered, even though it’s technically illegal. I don’t know if the foreigner’s office would check if there were any gaps in registration. But that’s only an opinion.

  • Reply Fola 28/05/2020 at 06:43

    Hi,i have a question can one apply for German permanent residence Just 6 months before the 5yrs?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/06/2020 at 10:17

      Hey Fola. You may want to call with Foreigner’s office for confirmation but i don’t think so.

  • Reply Imran 27/05/2020 at 23:39

    Hi, I have blue card and now I am going to apply for PR(on completion of 33 months), Can I apply for PR for my family(wife and kids) also in same application?. They are already living with me on Blue Card visa. Or I will apply first and after that they can apply?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 01/06/2020 at 10:15

      Hey Imran. That’s a great question. I don’t know actually. If you ever find out, don’t hesitate to let us know here.

  • Reply Chihchun 20/05/2020 at 17:19

    I asked Ausländerbehörde about applying EU long term permit with “enough money” and living/working in Germany for over five years. The immigration office told me that I cannot apply with the proof of the enough money/asset in my case. Although it is not what it says on their official website. So I think it is not definite what the requirement are. It is better to ask them in person in case they reject the visa apply for individual reasons.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/05/2020 at 13:34

      Hey Lily. Thanks for your feedback. That’s useful. This shows that again, it’s a case by case basis.

  • Reply Niranjan Pawaria 27/03/2020 at 11:20

    My name is Niranjan Pawaria.
    My question is about permanent residence in Germany.

    I am working in Germany for 19 months (Holding Blue Card) after completing my masters from a German university.
    I am planning to take a job position in Austria. I have a plan to stay in that job (in Austria) for 18 months and want to come back to Germany and work.

    If i want to apply a PR for Germany after coming back.

    How many month I need to work after my return?
    2 month + 19 month from previous years (consecutive months added) = 21 months + B1 German certificate
    I have to start from stretch. i.e 21 month after coming back (consecutive months not added) + B1 Certificate for German language.

    I would be very thankful for any kind of assistance.

    Kind Regard’s
    Niranjan Pawaria

    • Reply dilip 10/04/2020 at 23:15

      I have a question with a similar situation.
      I just want to know, whether it is allowed to keep the German blue card or Residence permit, if one has job in Austria with an Austrian blue card.


  • Reply Rajeshwar 21/03/2020 at 00:34


    I am living in Germany since year 2017 on EU Blue card and going to complete 33 months within couple of months. I lost my job in feb 2020 and going to join another job in May 2020. I applied for arbeitslosengeld for the month of March as I received my offer letter on 19th March only . Now my question is if I withdraw my application for arbeitslosengeld then also I would be able to apply for PR in germany after 33 months or I am not eligible to apply for PR in 33 months as I applied for social benifit?. Additionally Is there is any impact on my PR application if I have not paid tax for these 2 months.

    Thanks in Advance

    • Reply Same situation 27/05/2020 at 23:18

      You have to be employed and show your last 6 months pay stubs. I.e., you have to make it through Probezeit no matter if that makes it 39 months. Arbeitlsosen geld also covers pension insurance, You should still be able to get the rentenverlauf and it will show the time you are covered by alg. but you’ll end up having paid in more than. 33 months. so it doesn’t matter.

  • Reply Zoedwelling 12/03/2020 at 10:29

    Thank you for the info. Please I would like to ask if you can still apply for PR after you divorced? Married for 3yrs 8 months to an EU citizen. Separate for a year now. I am working and have my own apartment. I don’t have B1 but I can speak German very well.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 19/03/2020 at 21:39

      Hey there. Your marital status bears no influence on your application.

      • Reply ChihChun 20/05/2020 at 17:29

        Hi, I once applied PR from blue card but was rejected because I don’t have any B1 proof of language certification even if I could write and communicate with them in German. Also they said I need to have 3% more of the salary each year because of inflation!! Apparently there are a bunch of details the immigration office do not state. So be aware if they reject you with plenty of reasons you were not aware of . I have a questions though. I moved out Germany (Abmeldung) for less a year and re-register again (because a blue card allows you doing that within 12 months). Am I still able to apply for PR without continuously living?
        I have studied and work in Germany for almost 9 years now and still cannot get a PR for many reasons. It is very frustrating 🙁

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/05/2020 at 13:37

          Hey Lily. That’s great feedback. Thanks a lot. In short, i can’t give you a definitive answer because it might again be a case by case assessment. It only says that you should have had a residence permit since 5 years. It doesnt state if this has to be 5 continuous years or not.

  • Reply Munawar Hussain 10/03/2020 at 22:08

    Hello I’m from Pakistan married in Finland 21/11/2019 my wife from Slovakia my residence permit from Greece and my wife working in Germany can we live together in Germany?

  • Reply Len Kaiser 07/03/2020 at 12:59

    How much is sufficient income? I get a monthly SSDI check here in the US.

  • Reply Ade Ade 07/03/2020 at 07:53

    Hi please i will like to ask a question.incase i got the permanent resident permit as an asylum seekers. Can i used it to travel withing Eu despite that i have not get refugee status.but working for more than 2 years.have B1 in language.and be able to take care of family.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 09/03/2020 at 21:26

      Hey Ade. I’m not sure how the Asylum seeker status impacts your PR. Sorry.

  • Reply RRRei 04/03/2020 at 23:03

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am working as a postdoc at university. I have a blue card which is valid until Jan 2021 and my contract was started since November 2018 (16 months till now). I will get my B1 German language certificate by two months and I planned to get the permanent residence after 21 months.

    Actually I awarded a scholarship which is high prestige in academics (Alexander von Humboldt) yesterday. But the problem is that this scholarship is tax-free, So I am wondering if my boss changes my contract with this scholarship which is tax-free, could I also apply for permanent residence?.

    I am not sure how they will count the 21 months which is required for permanent residence. If I change my job and will find another job in the next 5-6 months which has all the required criteria for bluecard, can I apply for the permanent residence? will they consider these 16 months as a period of 21 months? or would the gaps make a problem to get permanent residence?

    I really appreciate your assistance if you could answer this question.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/03/2020 at 23:33

      Hey RRei. Sorry, can’t answer this one.

    • Reply Humboldtsucks 20/05/2020 at 10:30

      I was in a similar situation. I turned down the Humboldt scholarship because of this exact reason, you won’t be granted permanent residence because you aren’t contributing to public pension. Besides, it is NOT high prestige, that’s what everyone says but it does nothing. Literally no one in academia cares about it. It is just a clever way for the German institutes to get around paying taxes and short-changing the researchers. You should find a job with a salary that pays the taxes and then you start from that date to wait to apply for permanent residence because that is when you start to contribute to public pension, which is a requirement.

  • Reply Tamsen 27/02/2020 at 20:21

    Iam 72,retired from the us,will not work and married to a german citizen. Any way around this language thing? I can get around well but not pass the b1. It is also irrek\levant in my case. Thanks

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 04/03/2020 at 23:20

      Hey Tamsen. I’m afraid not.

  • Reply Diana 17/02/2020 at 21:48

    I have a question. I am currently unemployed, having the unemployment insurance payments (Arbeitslosengeld II). I am in Germany for 5.5 years, of which I worked for 4,5 years, of which 34 months were on the basis of a Blue Card. What if have an amount of money that is enough to support myself for 6-12 months – would that allow me to get the residence permit?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 24/02/2020 at 17:49

      Hey Diana. I don’t have a hard source on this but in my opinion, you need to show you can support yourself long-term without government assistance. Having a job is probably your best before doing an application. I don’t think your savings would make a difference here.

  • Reply Saeed Roudgarian 12/02/2020 at 11:34

    Hi, there!
    Does anyone have the experience, how long does it take to be notified of an appointment? It has taken me over 4 months so far.

  • Reply Den 10/02/2020 at 15:08

    Hi, I am non-EU citizenship holding a permanent residence from Italy. I was offered a job from Germany and will be working there in March. Should I also wait 5 years to able to get a permanent residence in Germany or do I already have the right of permanent residence in Germany? Thanks a lot. Your blog is super helpful.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/02/2020 at 09:48

      Hey Den. I don’t know: is your current italian permanent residence an EU wide one?

  • Reply Chandan B 30/01/2020 at 23:01


    Thanks for the article…
    I have a small question regarding permanent resident permit for my spouse.
    Currently I have a PR and my spouse has already completed 5 years in Germany and have a B1 level German certification. Hence we would like to apply for the PR now.
    My question is: is it necessary that I should have an unlimited work contract to apply PR for my spouse?

    Please let me know your opinion.


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 03/02/2020 at 21:42

      Hey Chandan. I’m not sure about this one. My 2 cents: your work contract has no incident on her PR application. Her work contract matters

      • Reply Chandan B 10/02/2020 at 09:53

        Hi Good morning…
        Thanks a lot for the feedback. Actually my wife is not working at the moment, she was working with mini job contract, but till today she has a dependent visa. In this case is it necessary that I should have an unlimited contract? she has already completed 5 years stay in Germany and have necessary language certification.

        Best regards

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 12/02/2020 at 09:45

          Hey Chandan. I mean, the requirements are listed in the post. you do need a job to support yourself for the application.

        • Reply Fabiiana 07/05/2020 at 15:07

          What happened in your case? what did you do? …. i would like to know because I will do it next year. I found this:
          …Secured means of support from own income.- The proofs of income may also be provided by the spouse (you) or same-sex partner in the event of marital or civil partnership cohabitation.
          They don’t ask for an unlimited contract but you will need to provide a copy of your contract, last payrolls, employer letter (same documents when she ask for her residence permit) + her mini job payrolls too.

  • Reply Mk 28/01/2020 at 16:17

    Hi, do we have to submit A1 certificate as well ? If we apply for a PR after 33 months?
    And what do they ask usually at the center during the meeting?

    P.s – Great page!! Well done mate.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/01/2020 at 15:08

      Hey MK. As mentioned in the list of documents, you also need to submit a language certificate yes. The meeting with your Beamter can go different ways, it’s a case by case basis really.

  • Reply Alex 28/01/2020 at 09:06

    My name is Alex and have opened bussiness here in Germany having permanent residence of other Shengen country .My bussiness is going to 3rd year now but the immigration office asked me to leave the country and I don’t stay in German for long I always used to go out every month from German .So what are the things should I do to stay in German with out changing my previous Shenzhen permanent residence.
    Thanks in advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 29/01/2020 at 15:22

      Hey Alex. I don’t have specific advice to offer you. I suggest you contact a specialist regarding this matter.

  • Reply William Cook 24/01/2020 at 11:57

    Typically, how long does it take to receive your residency card after your application? I don’t live in Berlin (I live in Bonn), but I was hoping there’s a general rule of thumb (e.g. 3-6 weeks after your application).

  • Reply Alejandra 20/01/2020 at 14:01

    Hello, I have a question about the German language test. Do you know which is a “valid” certificate? I know TestDaf and the Goethe Institut exams are good choices (but also expensive). Do you know if a Unicert certificate will do? Or something more informal like the certificate of completion of a course in a language school?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/01/2020 at 09:56

      Hey Alejandra. I would stick to a recognized 3rd party certificate, in doubt, you may also ask Unicert directly.

  • Reply LAKSHMI 16/01/2020 at 12:12

    Thanks for the artical. I have a question regarding Germany permanent residence Permit. I have EU Blue Card. But when I am applying for EU Blue Card, the visa Officer told me that my salary must rise every year according to the EU Blue Card Standards. Then only they will accept my application when I apply for Permanent Resident Permit. That means for example if a Person got EU Blue Card in Sep, 2018 with Minimum salary for example 40000 EUR, then in the next year i.e., from January, 2019 the Minimum salary increased to for example 42000 EUR, then that Person salary also should increase to 42000 EUR from january. So, is this true?. Because I cound not find any Website about it saying this.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 18/01/2020 at 09:23

      Hey Lakshmi, this is interesting. I have also never seen that anywhere before. I guess the logic holds; if your salary is right at the strict minimum set for the blue card this year, it should also meet that standard next year too for all conditions to be fulfilled then as well. I don’t have a source to support this though. Let me know if you find something.

  • Reply Ana 14/01/2020 at 00:59

    I have a question. I know that during the period of having a job visa, ones job is always linked to the university degree. My question now is. If I get a settlement permit, am I allowed to stay in Germany if I want to study or change the job background? Example. Having a degree in economics and wanting to change to a job that has nothing to do with it. Or to start over and study something new after those 5 years working.
    Would really appreciate the info, haven’t been able to find anything.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/01/2020 at 09:31

      Hey Ana. In my opinion, there is nothing speaking against that. As a permanent residence permit holder, you are free to change job and specialties as you wish.

  • Reply Andie 09/01/2020 at 16:34

    Hello, thanks for the article. I am a graduate of a German university and have already worked in Germany for 1 year (have a work permit). Now, I am planning to leave Germany to a different EU country (Sweden) to do a 1-year long Master’s program. In one year, I am thinking to come back and start working at a different company in Germany. I will then have worked for 2 years by that time. Will I then qualify for a permanent residency in Germany or I must work in Germany after graduation and pay pension contributions for 24 consecutive months (without leaving/changing residencies)?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/01/2020 at 10:00

      Hey Andie. You may want to check with a specialist but i can’t read anywhere that it should 24 consecutive months.

  • Reply Sal 09/01/2020 at 15:37

    Great article, thank you!
    I have a small question:
    I currently have the Blue Card, have Graduated from a german university and earn a good salary. I have been living in Germany for 5 years so basically i fill all the requirements except the language certificate. I do speak German at an acceptable level, but I didn’t get the B1 certificate. Is there still a chance I might get the permanent residency or I should pass the test first?
    thanks in advance

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/01/2020 at 09:55

      Hey Sal. You need a B1 certificate as proof so yes, pass the test first.

  • Reply Cal 06/01/2020 at 17:00

    Thanks for the article. I have a question regarding EU permanent residence permit. Once one attains the German permanent residency permit using the shorter route with Blue Card, can he/she convert that to a EU permanent residence permit later on? What is the procedure?


    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 07/01/2020 at 09:53

      Hey Cal. You can apply for for EU residence if you have legally lived in Germany for at least five years. can support yourself and your family members to make a living. have a sufficient command of German and basic knowledge of the legal and social system and way of life in Germany. have sufficient living space for yourself and your family. have paid the compulsory or voluntary contributions to statutory pension insurance for at least 60 months. Source. and more info here.

      • Reply Azam 13/01/2020 at 12:24

        Hi I have A2 I can talking like B1 can somebody with A2 apply to this Titel

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 14/01/2020 at 09:18

          Hey Azam. You need a B1 certificate, A2 is not sufficient.

  • Reply Nigar Zahan 04/12/2019 at 22:16

    Hi! It was a very clear article, thanks for that. I have 2 questions
    1. Does part time job with social contribution counts in 60 months ? I started working during masters study but I was paying all contributions
    2. Can I apply for a PR if I have a limited contract job with EU blue card? The time I’ll be eligible for PR apply I’ll have 6 months left of my job contract. In this case should I wait until I find another job then apply?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 17/12/2019 at 00:34

      Hey Nigar. 1. Yes. 2. Not sure. You may want to call this official hotline for confirmation.

  • Reply Bobby 03/11/2019 at 13:14


    Great article and really informative! I have a question about what happens AFTER you get your permanent settlement permit in Germany. It says that the holder cannot leave Germany for more than 6 months without forfeiting their permanent residency, but what is leave defined as, and is it 6 months of total annual leave or six months of consecutive leave? If someone traveled from Germany to Italy for 3 months and then went home to Germany for a week, and then to Spain for 3 months, and then back to Germany and over to France for 3 months, does that invalidate the German permanent residency?

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/11/2019 at 09:45

      Hey Bobby. That is a great question. Thanks for asking it. If i trust this page, i would say we are talking about 6 months after doing an Abmeldung and leaving the country right?

  • Reply James Loke 21/10/2019 at 20:50

    I have a few questions regarding the German PR application with applicaiton made in Berlin. After reading this page and the requirements from Ausländerbehörde (, can you clarify the following.
    1. Do I just send a photocopy of the documents (e.g. passports, Blue Card) etc, and not the physical passport etc to Ausländerbehörde? I believe this is the case, just incase it gets lost through transit.
    2. How can I prove my retirement provision? Would the contributions which are shown on my past 6months payslip be sufficient?
    3. Do I send all the required documents to Ausländerbehörde by normal Post? It is not clear which address should I post it to.
    4. Lastly, do you recommend an immigration consultant to help with preparing all this for me so I don’t make any mistakes. If so, which one would you recommend.

    Thank you,

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/10/2019 at 22:07

      Hey James. 1- You enclose copies of the docs, as mentioned on the page. 2- As mentioned on the page, the Bescheinigung you get from the Deutsche Rentenversicherung is a good start. 3- by post yes, the location for PR is the one on Kaplerstr. 4. Can’t make any recommendation here. sorry. Good luck.

      • Reply Akash Choudhary 20/01/2020 at 12:14

        Hi there,

        This article incl comments made everything easier. However I ahem question.
        I don’t see the option for ‘Niederlassungserlaubnis’ on the online appointment form ‘’

        Do I have to take my documents there personally?

        Thank you,

        • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 21/01/2020 at 09:45

          Hey Akash. Application for permanent residence have to be done in writing. You can then be notified of an appointment.

  • Reply Moha Ye 19/09/2019 at 16:53

    hi, Like always very informative, thank you, If you remember before coming Berlin , I wrote you an email, happy to see that you are still very active, I studied in Germany, I have B1 Deutsch, now I worked with BLUE CARD, On April 2020, I will be exactly 5 years in Germany and 1 yeas with Blue card, can I apply for permanent resident permit since I will 5 years in Germany (it is actually sooner than my Blue card time ) ,the next question, what would you imagine for someone who studied sociology in FU Berlin, a friend of mine is studied looking for the job ,any hint would be appreciated.

    • Reply Bastien - Settle in Berlin 23/09/2019 at 16:27

      Hey Moha. I’m not sure what is the sense of your question here? Could you elaborate?

  • Reply Mohamed Abozeid 12/09/2019 at 11:32

    HI, I do thank you for those valuable formation and the great work and efforts behind it
    I have question regarding the citizenship
    if someone on Blue card residency, and he got the permanent residency after 21 months, can he apply for the Citizenship at the 60th month? or he had to wait tell total 6 years to pass?

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