Apply for a certificate of permanent residence for Union citizens entitled to free movement
EU and EEA citizens who have acquired a right of permanent residence can apply to the Foreigners' Registration Office for a certificate of the existence of this right.
Citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) do not need a residence permit to enter and stay in Germany.
If you are an EU and EEA citizen and have resided legally in Germany for a period of five years, you can acquire a permanent right of residence. The right of permanent residence arises directly by operation of law. You can apply to the Foreigners' Registration Office for a certificate of permanent residence.
Under certain conditions, you can acquire a right of permanent residence before the expiry of five years, e.B. if you:
- have resided permanently in Germany for at least three years, have worked in Germany or in another Member State of the European Union for the last twelve months and have since retired from working life due to your age (reaching the age of 65) or due to an early retirement scheme;
- have given up their profession pursued in Germany or in another Member State of the European Union as a result of a full disability resulting from an accident at work or an occupational disease which entitles them to a pension in Germany;
- have given up your profession pursued in Germany or in another Member State of the European Union as a result of a full disability after having previously resided permanently in Germany for at least two years, or
- have been permanently employed in Germany for three years, are now gainfully employed in another Member State of the European Union, but still have a residence in Germany to which you return at least once a week.
The certificate of the right of permanent residence is issued by the Foreigners' Registration Office after it has checked whether you have reached the required periods of residence in Germany. This does not require that you have resided continuously in Germany for the required period of time. Certain absences from federal territory are irrelevant for the acquisition of the right of permanent residence. Thus, even when leaving the Federal territory for a total of six months a year, to perform military service or alternative service or for good cause once for up to twelve consecutive months (e.B. due to a serious illness, a study, a vocational training) a permanent residence can be assumed. Periods of imprisonment that have not been suspended are not taken into account for the acquisition of the right of permanent residence.
If you have interrupted your stay in Germany for a long time, it is not possible to add up previous and subsequent periods in order to reach the minimum period of residence required for the acquisition of the right of permanent residence.
If necessary, the Foreigners' Registration Office can also check the legality of your stay, i.e. whether you have fulfilled the requirements of the right of free movement during the entire period.
With the acquisition of the right of permanent residence, you will receive an improved ("consolidated") legal status regardless of your nationality. Thus, the right of permanent residence is independent of the continuity of the conditions for freedom of movement. In addition, your expulsion protection increases. However, if you leave Germany for more than two consecutive years, this may result in the loss of the right of permanent residence.
The certificate is issued indefinitely and confirms that you have acquired the right of permanent residence. The document does not constitute an identity document, i.e. You cannot prove your identity with the certificate. Therefore, it does not carry a photograph, nor is there any obligation to update the information in the document in case of changes (e.B. you do not have to have the certificate updated if you have a new passport or identity card issued or if your address changes).
If you have not yet reached the age of 18, your legal representative (e.B. the person entitled to personal custody) must agree to the planned stay.
- Consent of the legal representative to the planned stay if the age of 18 has not yet been reached
The Foreigners' Registration Office may require the submission of the following documents:
- Recognised or otherwise approved, valid passport or passport substitute
- Proof that the right to freedom of movement has been exercised for the periods of residence completed (e.B. confirmation of registration, employment contract, trade license or proof of self-employment, sufficient resources and sufficient health insurance cover, certificate of enrolment)
In individual cases, the Foreigners' Registration Office may request further documents.
- Online procedure occasionally possible
- Written form required: yes
- Personal appearance required: yes
- You are an EU or EEA national
- You can show the required periods of stay in Germany (usually five years, in special cases two or three years are sufficient).
- You are legally resident in Germany, i.e. You have fulfilled the requirements of the right of free movement during your entire stay.
- If necessary, you can provide the evidence and documents mentioned under "Required documents"
Note for Swiss nationals :
Because Switzerland is not a member of the EU or the EEA, a different regulation applies to the Swiss. The right of residence for Swiss nationals is governed by the Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation, of the other part, on the free movement of persons.
Note for British citizens (Brexit) :
On 1 February 2020, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union was completed. For British nationals and their family members entitled to freedom of movement, the right to freedom of movement initially continued to apply until 31 December 2020.
The competent immigration authority provides information on which regulations will apply in individual cases from 1 January 2021
§ 2 FreizügG/EU
§ 4a FreizügG/EU
§ 12 FreizügG/EU (EEA states)
§ 47 sec. 3 sentence 5 AufenthV (fee)
Annex D15 AufenthaltsV
§ 5 paragraph 5 sentence 1 FreizügG/EU
The certificate must be applied for at the immigration authority responsible for your place of residence .
The procedure is as follows:
- Depending on the Immigration Office, it may be possible to apply via the Internet. Find out whether your immigration office offers the electronic application.
In the event of an electronic application, the Foreigners' Registration Office will contact you after receipt of your application in order to request documents if necessary and to arrange an appointment with you at the Foreigners' Registration Office. During the appointment, your documents will be checked (bring them to the appointment in the original if you are asked to do so).
- If the application is only possible in person, make an appointment with the Foreigners' Registration Office. During the appointment, your details will be received and your proofs will be checked (bring them to the appointment in the original if you are asked to do so).
- After completion of the examination, you will immediately be issued a certificate of permanent residence or a rejection notice.
- In principle, the collection must be made in person. You must sign at the Foreigners' Registration Office.
Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sport
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