Which legal requirements apply for a permanent stay in Germany?

You want to settle in Germany without a time limit.

Settlement permit

This is possible with a settlement permit according to § 9 AufenthG.

You usually have the right to the issuance of a settlement permit, if the following conditions according to § 9 II No 1 AufenthG are met:
- You hold a residence permit for five years.
- You can cover your costs of living without relying on public funds.
- You have paid compulsory contributions to the statutory pension insurance in Germany for at least 60 months.
- You have sufficient knowledge of the German language.
- You have basic knowledge of the legal system and the social order as well as the living conditions in Germany.
- A permission to employment exists.
- Your stay is not prohibited because of endangering the public security and policy.
- You have sufficient living space for you and your family members who live with you.

The settlement permit is an unlimited residence title and entitles to every gainful employment.

Permanent EU residence permit

A stay for an unlimited time in Germany is also possible with a permanent EU residence permit according to § 9a AufenthG.

A right for the issuance of the permanent EU residence permit exists, if the following conditions hold:
- You reside in Germany holding a residence title for five years.
- The costs of living for you and your dependent family members are covered by a stable and regular income.
- You have sufficient knowledge of the German language.
- You have basic knowledge of the legal system and social order as well as the living conditions in Germany.
- Your stay is not prohibited because of endangering the public security and policy.
- You have sufficient living space for you and your family members who live with you.

Also the permanent EU residence permit is an unlimited residence title and entitles to gainful employment.

Favored groups of people

Shorter terms apply for
- graduates of a German university
- highly qualified persons
- for holders of the Blue Card EU
- self-employed persons
- family members of German citizens

Graduates of a German university

Shorter terms apply for graduates of a German university (settlement permit according to § 18b AufenthG).

You have the right to the issuance of a settlement permit already after two years (§ 18b AufenthG), if
- you have a German university degree and
- an employment related to your university degree,
- you hold a residence title for the purpose of employment for two years, a Blue Card EU or
- a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment,
- you can prove that you have paid contributions to the statutory pension insurance for 24 months.
- language skills are generally needed (level B1, see § 18b No 4, § 9 II 1 No 7, § 2 X AufenthG). Exceptions are possible (§ 9 II 1-5 AufenthG).

Highly qualified persons

Shorter terms apply for highly qualified persons (settlement permit according to § 19 AufenthG).

Highly qualified persons can immediately obtain a settlement permit for the purpose of gainful employment under the following conditions:

- You are highly qualified: Highly qualified persons according to the German Residence Law are e.g. scientists with special domain knowledge, teachers or scientific employees in prominent position (these are examples).
- A specific job offer must exist.
- The proof of a minimum income is not necessary, yet it has to be proven that the costs of living in Germany are covered without relying on public funds.
- The issuance of a residence title according to § 19 AufenthG to highly-qualified persons requires no approval of the Federal Employment Agency.

EU Blue Card holders

Shorter terms apply for holders of the Blue Card EU (settlement permit according to § 19a VI AufenthG).

If you are holder of a Blue Card EU, after 33 months highly qualified employment you have the right to the issuance of the settlement permit, as far as all required conditions are met, for example the payment of contributions to a statutory pension insurance.

If you have sufficient knowledge (level B1) of the German language, you are granted the settlement permit already after 21 months highly qualified employment (§ 19a VI 3 AufenthG). Also in this case contributions to the pension scheme have to be paid for this period of time.

Self-employed persons

Shorter terms apply for self-employed persons (settlement permit according to § 21 IV AufenthG).

As a self-employed person you can receive a settlement permit after three years, if you successfully implemented your business idea and can cover the costs of living (§ 21 IV AufenthG).

Family members of German citizens

Shorter terms also apply for family members of German citizens (settlement permit according to § 28 II AufenthG).

Family members of a German citizen are usually granted a settlement permit according to § 28 II AufenthG, if
- they hold a residence permit for already three years,
- they continue to live as a family with the German citizen,
- no grounds for expulsion exist and
- they can communicate in the German language in a simple manner.