Apply for a permanent residence card for third-country nationals Family members of Union citizens entitled to free movement
Third-country nationals Family members of a national from the EU or the EEA can apply for the issuance of a permanent residence card if they have resided legally in Germany with the reference person for a period of five years
If, as a third-country national, you have resided legally in the Federal territory for a period of five years with your family member entitled to freedom of movement, you can obtain a right of permanent residence regardless of whether the conditions under EU law are met, you can obtain a right of permanent residence for a period of five years with your family member entitled to freedom of movement. Apply for a permanent residence card to be issued.
The Foreigners' Registration Office checks the duration and legality of your periods of residence and issues the permanent residence card within six months if the conditions are met.
Your five-year permanent residence is 'lawful' if you have fulfilled the conditions laid down by EU law for the free movement of third-country family members over a period of five years.
Shorter periods of absence are irrelevant for the calculation of time limits 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 a substitute service and 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.
With the acquisition of the right of permanent residence, you will receive an improved 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, the protection against expulsion is increased.
Under certain conditions, spouses, life partners and children can also obtain the right of permanent residence regardless of permanent residence with the reference person entitled to freedom of movement (e.B. in the event of the death or departure of the reference person). In individual cases, it is also possible that you, as a family member of an employed EU or EEA citizen, already receive a right of permanent residence before the expiry of five years (e.B. if you have your permanent residence with the EU citizen, but he dies prematurely as a result of an accident at work or an occupational disease before the end of five years).
If you have not yet reached the age of 18, a person entitled to your personal care must agree to the planned stay
- Current biometric photo
- Consent of the person entitled to custody for the planned stay if you have not yet reached the age of 18
The Foreigners' Registration Office may require the submission of the following documents:
- Recognised or otherwise approved, valid passport or passport substitute
- Proof of the continuation of the family relationship with the reference person (e.B. marriage, birth certificate)
- Proof that the reference person has exercised his or her right to freedom of movement for the required period of time (e.B. confirmation of registration, employment contract or assurance of employment, trade license or proof of self-employment)
When staying with an inactive reference person, the Foreigners' Registration Office may also require:
- Proof of sufficient resources
- Proof of sufficient health insurance coverage
When staying with a reference person during their studies, the Foreigners' Registration Office may also require:
- Admission of the university or certificate of enrolment of the reference person
- Proof of sufficient resources and health insurance
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 a family member of an EU or EEA citizen residing in Germany, but do not have any of these nationalities yourself.
- You have been permanently resident in Germany with your reference person for a period of five years and have fulfilled the conditions for freedom of movement under EU law for the entire period.
- You have a recognized or otherwise approved, valid passport or passport replacement.
- If necessary, you can provide the evidence and documents mentioned under "Required documents"
Special features :
If you leave the Federal Territory for a reason that is not only temporary in nature for more than two consecutive years, this will lead to the loss of the right of permanent residence. The decisive factor is whether the purpose of the stay abroad by its nature requires from the outset only a temporary absence from federal territory or not.
Note for Swiss nationals and their family members :
Because Switzerland is not a member of the EU or the EEA, a different regulation applies to the Swiss. Swiss citizens and their family members are obliged to report their stay in Germany for more than three months to the Immigration Office of their place of residence and then receive a "Swiss Residence Permit".
Note for British nationals and their family members (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 citizens and their family members entitled to freedom of movement, the right to freedom of movement will initially continue to apply until 31 December 2020.
The competent immigration authority provides information on which regulations will apply in individual cases from 1 January 2021 (grandfathering or application of the general right of residence, in particular the Residence Act).
§5 para. 5 sentence 2 FreizügG/EU
§ 2 paragraph 2 number 6 FreizügG/EU
§ 3 FreizügG/EU
§ 4 FreizügG/EU
§ 4a FreizügG/EU
§ 12 FreizügG/EU (EEA states)
§ 47 AufenthV (fees)
After five years of permanent legal residence in Germany, you can apply for a permanent residence card.
The permanent residence card 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 be issued either a residence card or a rejection notice within six months.
- The permanent residence card is issued indefinitely.
- The permanent residence card is issued in credit card format with additional electronic functions (eATKarte). Your fingerprints will be taken at the Foreigners' Registration Office for the production. You must also provide a signature.
- After about six to eight weeks, you can pick up the eAT Card at the Foreigners' Registration Office. In principle, the collection must be made in person.
Fees apply for the issuance of the permanent residence card and the eAT card. The timing and form of payment vary depending on the authority
Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sport
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