When Expats move to Germany, they often never want to leave anymore. Those who want to stay permanently, need an unlimited residence permit. The settlement permit is such a residence permit. It opens numerous new perspectives for its owner. This means that he and his family can live in Germany without restrictions and work in any job of their choice. In this blog post, we explain what the settlement permit is, how it differs from other residence permits, and what requirements must be met in order to be granted a settlement permit.

What residence permits are there in Germany?

In order to enter and stay in Germany, foreign citizens need a residence permit. The Residence Act basically differentiates between seven different types:

  • Visa
  • Residence permit
  • EU Blue Card
  • ICT card
  • Mobile ICT card
  • Settlement permit
  • Permit for permanent residence – EU

Apart from the settlement permit and the long-term residence permit – EU, these are temporary residence permits. That means, that they must be extended regularly if a person wants to stay in Germany permanently. Citizens of the EU and the EEA do not need a residence permit to live and work in Germany.

What is the settlement permit?  

The settlement permit is an unlimited residence permit. Together with the long-term residence permit – EU, it is the legally strongest form of the seven types of residence permits. Since January 1st of 2005, every citizen who is not part of the European Economic Area can obtain a settlement permit under certain conditions. This entitles him or her to work as an employee or self-employed in Germany. 

For issuing the settlement permit some fees apply, which vary depending on the professional field of the person. Generally, the amount comes to 113 euros. An application for a settlement permit must be submitted to the immigration office. The immigration office also decides which paperwork will be needed for the application.

What are the requirements for an application?

In order to be granted a settlement permit, various requirements must be met in accordance with §9 AufenthG. Essentially, these are:

  • In possession of a residence permit for minimum five years
  • Secure livelihood without using public funds
  • At least 60 months of compulsory or voluntary contributions to the statutory pension insurance
  • Sufficient knowledge of German (min. B1 level of the GER)
  • Basic knowledge of the legal and social order as well as living conditions in Germany (demonstrable by the test “Life in Germany”)
  • A job position appropriate to one´s professional qualifications
  • Proof of enough living space for all family members

Which special regulations apply?

The requirements mentioned refer to so-called specialists. This means people with completed vocational training or academic education. For some groups of people, however, special regulations apply, which facilitate access for obtaining the settlement permit. This mainly affects the following groups of people:

  • Highly qualifies specialists
  • EU Blue Cardholders
  • Graduates from German universities
  • Self-employed people

For example, graduates of a German university or vocational training in Germany only have to prove a residence permit for two years and they only have to have paid into the statutory pension insurance scheme for more than 24 months. For highly qualified specialists, it is even possible to issue a settlement permit in individual cases without a previous minimum stay. To do this, they only need to be able to demonstrate an academic education and be able to integrate into German living conditions without major problems.

Do you have questions about visas and residence permits?

We would like to help you! The German bureaucracy is extremely complicated and not easy to understand, especially for foreign citizens. If you are unsure which residence permit is the right one for you or you would like to obtain a settlement permit for your permanent stay in Germany, HereLocation will be happy to help you. With our relocation services we are not only available to advise you before your transfer to Bonn but also afterward. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in our services or have any questions about the topic. We are happy to hear from you!