Settlement permit

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Settlement permit

The settlement permit is a permanent residence title which grants the holder the right to pursue economic activity.

Niederlassungserlaubnis

The settlement title may only be supplemented with additional provisions (conditions, restrictions) in exceptional cases.

On what grounds can a settlement permit be granted?

As a general rule, a foreigner may be granted a settlement permit if

  • he or she holds a residence permit for five years (family members of German nationals may receive a settlement permit after three years),
  • his or her livelihood is secured,
  • he or she has adequate knowledge of the German language as well as basic knowledge of the legal and social system, and of the way of life in the Federal Republic of Germany, and
  • he or she has a pension insurance.

Please find further provisions at the sections on granting of a settlement permit for holders of residence permits issued on humanitarian grounds.

EU long-term residence permit

According to regulations applicable within the European Union, the EU long-term residence permit is a permanent residence title allowing free movement within different member states of the European Union.

On what grounds can an EU long-term residence permit be granted?

A foreigner may be granted an EU long-term residence permit pursuant to Article 2, letter b of Directive 2003/109/EC if

  • he or she has been resident in the Federal Republic of Germany with a residence permit for five years,
  • his or her livelihood and the livelihood of his or her dependants is ensured by a secure and regular income. Applicants for an EU long-term residence permit should not be recipients of welfare benefits (e.g. basic security benefit for job-seekers or social assistance benefit (Arbeitslosengeld II/Sozialhilfe),
  • he or she has adequate knowledge of the German language,
  • he or she has basic knowledge of the legal and social system and of the way of life in the Federal Republic of Germany,
  • he or she has sufficient living space,
  • there are no grounds for an expulsion (e. g. a criminal record).

Documents required for a settlement permit/ EU long-term residence permit

  • Valid passport
  • One biometric photograph
  • One completed application form “Antrag auf Erteilung der Niederlassungserlaubnis/Daueraufenthalt-EG“ (application for issuance of a settlement permit/EU long-term residence permit)
  • Proof of secure livelihood of the applicant and his or her family.

Employees should also submit the following documents:

  • Proof of income (salary slips, statement of earnings for the past six months, respectively for the past twelve months if the applicant received basic security benefit for job-seekers (AlG II)
  • Proof of spose’s income, if applicable
  • Employment agreement
  • A current certificate from the employer outlining the nature and duration of the employment relationship, if applicable

The self-employed/freelancers should submit the following documents:

  • Business analysis (BWA)/ a confirmation of the revenues of the last twelve months by a tax consultant or an auditor
  • Proof of health insurance (if applicable, even for the family of the applicant)
  • Proof of sufficient living space for the applicant and his or her family members
  • Proof of German language skills

In individual cases further documents may be required.

Please note:
Holders of a resident permit for educational purposes cannot obtain a settlement permit.

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