permanent residence permit

The settlement permit was introduced as a residence permit with the Immigration Act.

In contrast to the residence permit, the settlement permit is an unlimited residence permit. It entitles you to pursue gainful employment, is geographically unrestricted and, except in cases permitted by the Residence Act, may not be provided with an ancillary provision.

Granting of an unlimited settlement permit according to various legal bases
Examples of the most common cases:

  • Have held a residence permit as a family member of a German for at least 3 years
  • Have held a residence permit as a family member of a foreigner for at least 5 years
  • Hold a residence permit or residence permit for at least 7 years for stays for humanitarian reasons
  • 1 current biometric passport photo
  • Payroll / employment contract
  • Certificate of pension insurance contributions
  • German course
  • valid passport-related documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate)
  • Rental agreement + bank statement stating the current rental amount
  • Health insurance (insurance card), or a private health insurance that corresponds at least to the statutory scope of benefits.


There are different legal bases for issuing a permanent residence permit. This determines which documents are to be submitted for the application.
  • For all permanent residence permits (exception: settlement permit for foreign citizens with asylum and refugee status and for young people between the ages of 16 and 18), one of the conditions for granting a livelihood is to secure a livelihood from one's own resources (no public benefits).
  • At least 60 months of mandatory or voluntary contributions to the statutory pension insurance or expenses for a claim to comparable benefits from an insurance company must be proven. (Family members of Germans are exempt from this requirement.)
  • Securing a livelihood also includes health insurance .
  • Sufficient knowledge of German is generally required when applying for all permanent residence permits.
  • In addition, all applicants should have a recognized, valid passport or passport substitute .


Transfer of new passport:
If it is not possible to issue a new electronic residence permit (eAT) (settlement permit) in good time, so that the passport number listed in the eAT is not identical to the document presented, problems when re-entering Germany are usually limited to an extended border control period.
The residence permit does not become invalid.
When traveling abroad, please bring all documents relevant to residence law with you that prove your right of residence in the Federal Republic of Germany, e.g. valid / expired passport, previous eAT. You should apply for the transfer of the eAT shortly after the trip.

Since April 2020 there has been an expiry date on the settlement permit. This has no influence on the right of residence, your stay is secured.
The expiry date of the card is linked to the expiry date of the national passport.

Holders of a temporary residence permit for the purpose of studying or vocational training cannot receive a settlement permit.

Asylum seekers and tolerance holders cannot obtain a settlement permit.

Section 9 subsection 2 of the Residence Act
Section 26 subs. 4 of the Residence Act

Section 28 (2) of the Residence Act
Section 35 subs. 1 of the Residence Act

Related Links

  • Federal Employment Agency (Hamburg Employment Agency)
  • Federal Ministry of the Interior and Homeland - sample photo board (external link)
  • Foreigner matters
  • Leaflet overview on immigration matters (visa) of the Central Immigration Office, HTML
  • eAT - electronic residence permit
  • Residence / settlement - applications (multilingual)
  • Law on the residence, employment and integration of foreigners in the federal territory

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