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Residence Permit in Germany

Residence Permit in Germany

Updated on Tuesday 08th December 2015

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Residence-Permit-in-GermanyTypes of German residence permits

Foreigners from non-EU member states wanting to stay in Germany for over three months (90 days) are required to obtain a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel). There are two types of residence permits foreigners can obtain in Germany: the limited residence permit (Aufenthaltsgenehmigung) and the unlimited settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis). Both types of residence permits can be obtained with the local Foreigners Office ((Ausländerbehörde) if the person requesting it has a valid visa. However, U.S., Canadian, Australian, Japanese, Israeli, New Zealand and Swiss citizens do not require a visa to enter Germany.

The German limited residence permit

The temporary residence permit in Germany (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) in the most employed type of license and has one-year validity usually. German Limited residence permits are mainly issued for educational, trading, humanitarian or familial reasons. If a foreign citizen applies for a temporary residence permit but also wants to work in Germany he or she must notify the authorities. The renewal of the temporary residence permit is usually done depending on the nationality, occupation or, in case of employment, on the work contract.

The EU Blue Card incorporates a residence and a work permit and it is destined for highly specialized employees only. The EU Blue Card has at most four-year validity and can be obtained by holders of an university degree earning around 48,000 EUR per year. The EU Blue Card is also the easiest step toward obtaining a permanent residence permit in Germany.

The German permanent residence permit

In order to apply for a permanent residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) or settlement permit in Germany a foreign citizen must live for five uninterrupted years in the country or in case the foreign citizen married a German citizen the settlement license can be issued after three years provided other conditions are fulfilled. Some of these conditions are:

  • -        The persons applying for the permanent residence license has contributed to the statutory retirement scheme for at least 60 months;
  • -        The foreign citizen is allowed to work in Germany;
  • -        The foreign citizen speaks fluently German;
  • -        The foreign citizen has the means to support himself or herself and adequate living conditions.

Germany has also adopted the EU long-term residence permit that allows foreign citizens to live and work in Germany or other EU member states.

The procedure for obtaining a residence permit in Germany

First of all foreign citizens must register with the local police department (Einwohnermeldeamt or Bürgeramt) or the local municipality (Rathaus) before applying for a residence permit. A registration card will be issued by the police department (polizeiliche Anmeldebestätigung).

The following documents must be provided upon registration:

  • -        The passport with the valid visa;
  • -        A copy of the rental contract (Mietvertrag);
  • -        An application form (Anmeldeformular) issued by the local registration office (Meldeamt or Meldestelle).The application form must be signed by the landlord.

Together with the application form released by the police the following documents must be supplied for obtaining the residence permit:

  • -        The passport;
  • -        Two passport-sized photos;
  • -        Employment contract;
  • -        Bank statement or any other proof of financial solvency;
  • -        Health insurance


If you want to set up a company and need details about the employment law and how to obtain work and residence permits after starting your business you can contact our law firm in Germany.



  • Jalal Geblawi 2015-04-30

    Dear Sirs I would like to establish a GMBH company in Germany for general trading exporting to ME & Africa Please send me the person on charge contact details in Frankfurt office address I'm in Germany may arrange meeting Thank you in advance for your cooperation Best regards Jalal Geblawi

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