Residence permit (residence permit): Application

For a longer stay in Germany, foreigners must apply for a residence permit.

Foreigners need a residence permit to enter and reside in the Federal territory, unless otherwise provided for by European Union law or by (national) legal ordinance or unless there is a right of residence on the basis of the Association Agreement between the European Economic Community and the country of origin.

For a longer stay in Germany, foreigners must apply for a visa at the responsible German mission abroad. If a long-term stay is planned after entry, a residence permit must be applied for from the federal territory. The issue of the residence permit after entry depends on the nationality and the intended purpose of residence.

The residence permit is a temporary residence permit and is issued in accordance with Chapter 2, Sections 3 to 7, of the Residence Act. Depending on the purpose of the residence, the residence permit has different legal consequences, in particular with regard to the consolidation of residence, family reunification, the exercise of an economic activity or access to social benefits.

Since 1 September 2011, residence permits have generally been issued as electronic residence permits (eAT) in credit card format. Among other things, biometric features (one photograph, two fingerprints) are also stored in it. In addition, the eAT can optionally also be used as electronic proof of identity (eID) in the course of e-government and e-business as well as for electronic signatures.

Different documents may be necessary. Information on this can be obtained from the competent immigration/immigration authority.


Further information on issuing a residence permit can be found on the website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

  • The electronic residence permit (eAT)
  • § 7 act on the residence, gainful employment and integration of foreigners in the Federal territory (Residence Act - AufenthG),
  • Residence Ordinance (AufenthV),
  • § 5 Act on the General Free Movement of Union Citizens (Freedom of Movement Act/EU - FreizügG/EU).

Related Links

  • § 7 AufenthG
  • AufenthV
  • § 5 FreizügG/EU

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