Aspects of daily life

Residence permit

The authority for foreign nationals issues and renews the residence permit for specific residence purposes. You can only get the residence permit after entering Germany with a national visa and upon request. Under certain circumstances (e.g. highly-skilled person) a settlement permit may also be possible immediately.

The Residence Act recognises the following purposes of residence:

  • Educational
  • Occupational
  • Humanitarian or political grounds or under international law
  • Family reasons

As well as the above, there are also special rights of residence, e.g. the right to return and residence title for former Germans.

Note: In special cases, a residence permit can also be granted for a purpose of residence not defined in the Residence Act.

Being issued with a residence permit assumes amongst others that

  • you have entered Germany with the required visa and have already filled out the necessary section(s) for the permit in the visa application form (in particular for the purpose of your stay).
  • your identity is established and you fulfil the passport obligations,
  • your livelihood is secured without having to apply for public funds (your livelihood is regarded as secured, if your income is at least the same as the standard rate of supplementary benefit plus the costs for accommodation and heating and also any health insurance contributions – in some cases there are special provisions),
  • no grounds for expulsion apply and
  • if you are not entitled to a residence title, that your stay does not compromise or jeopardise the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Additional prerequisites arise, if applicable, from the respective residence purpose for which the residence permit should be issued.

Note: A residence permit cannot be issued if you were previously expelled, deported or advised to move back again to your country.

The residence permit is always valid for a limited period of time. A permanent residence permit issued under the previous legislation (Foreigners Act) still remains valid even after the Residence Act has come into effect in the form of a (permanent) Settlement Permit. The same also applies to the former right of unlimited residence. Provided certain requirements are fulfilled, a permit for permanent residence in the EC is issued.

A child born in the Federal Republic of Germany can be issued with a residence permit ex officio, if at least one of the parents with legal custody has a residence permit, a settlement permit or a permit for permanent residence in the EC.

Persons entitled to asylum and Convention refugees are initially issued with temporary residence permits. After three years, they then receive a permanent settlement permit, providing that the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge previously notified the authority for foreign nationals that the foreigner's original reasons for fleeing his or her homeland still apply.

If as a foreigner, you have the legal status of a long-term permanent resident in one of the other member states of the European Union (EU) (national residence title of the other EU state with the name “Permanent residence in the EC” in the relevant official language), then normally you can get a residence permit for Germany if you want to stay in Germany for more than three months. The residence permit then entitles you to pursue an occupation, if the prerequisites specified for this in the requirements concerning the residence for occupational or educational purposes are met. The residence permit can also be revoked if the legal status of a long-term permanent residence is no longer valid.

Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Innenministerium released it on 05.11.2015. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.
Die hier dargestellten Informationen werden von service-bw übernommen und regelmäßig aktualisiert.