Applying for a settlement permit for graduates of German institutes of higher education
You can obtain a settlement permit with no restrictions on duration and location if you are a graduate of a
- state-run German institute of higher education,
- state-recognised institute of higher education, or a
- comparable German educational institution.
Note: The following persons have a right to family reunion:
- your minor children,
- your husband or wife, and
- your civil partner.
You may also take up gainful employment.
The authority for foreign nationals responsible for the district in which your primary domicile is located
Depending on where you live, the authority for foreign nationals is the city council (Stadtverwaltung) or rural district office (Landratsamt).
The prerequisites for acquiring a settlement permit are:
- Your identity is established and you satisfy the passport obligation.
You are deemed to satisfy the passport obligation if you have an alternative form of identification.
- You have sufficient income to subsist without drawing on state funds.
Your income is deemed sufficient if you earn
- an amount equivalent to the applicable regular rate of social assistance (e.g. 399 euros for singles) plus
- enough to cover accommodation, heating and
- any health insurance contributions.
- There are no grounds for you being expelled from the country.
- You have no criminal record.
- Your stay does not endanger or influence the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.
- You are permitted to engage in gainful employment and possess all the necessary licences.
- You have sufficient knowledge of the German language and basic knowledge of the legal and social system in Germany.
- You have paid contributions into the state pension insurance scheme or into another pension system with similar benefits for 24 months.
- You have sufficient living space for yourself and your family.
- You have held one of the following residence permits for two years:
- You have a job that fits your qualification.
You must request the settlement permit in writing from the competent authority.
Afterwards, you will receive either the settlement permit or a notice of rejection.
- Evidence that you satisfy the passport and visa application
- Evidence of sufficient income
- Evidence that there are no grounds for your expulsion
- Evidence that you do not endanger or influence the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Evidence that you have no criminal record
- Evidence that you have held a residence permit for two years
- Evidence that you have paid contributions to the state pension insurance scheme or a comparable fund
- Evidence that you are permitted to engage in gainful employment and possess all the necessary licences
- Evidence that you have sufficient knowledge of the German language and basic knowledge of the legal and social system in Germany
- Evidence that you have sufficient living space for yourself and your family
- Evidence of a German higher education qualification
- Evidence that you have an appropriate job
You will receive the residence permit in the format of a bank card incorporating additional electronic functions. You will find further information at “Application for electronic residence permit (eAT)".
As a citizen of a European Union member country, you are permitted to engage in gainful employment in Germany. You can also be self-employed.
The same applies to
- citizens of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) and
- citizens of Switzerland.
- § 5 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Allgemeine Erteilungsvoraussetzungen)
- § 18b Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Niederlassungserlaubnis für Absolventen deutscher Hochschulen)
- § 44 Aufenthaltsverordnung (AufenthV) (Gebühren für die Niederlassungserlaubnis)
- § 284 Sozialgesetzbuch Drittes Buch (SGB III) (Arbeitsgenehmigung-EU für Staatsangehörige der neuen EU-Mitgliedstaaten)
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Innenministerium released the full description on 12.11.2015. 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.