If you’ve resided in Germany continuously for at least five years and meet certain criteria, you may qualify for an open-ended residence permit. Under specific circumstances, an unlimited residence permit may also be issued prior to the completion of the five-year period. This is where the EU long-term residence permit comes into play.

The EU long-term residence permit not only grants you indefinite residency in Germany but also allows you to settle in another EU country, provided you meet the respective regulations applicable there.

Eligibility Criteria for Permanent Residency

To be eligible for a German EU long-term residence permit, you should generally fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Hold a residence permit for a minimum of five years (periods spent outside Germany might count in certain cases).
  2. Demonstrate sufficient financial stability to support yourself and your family members through regular income.
  3. Possess adequate knowledge of the German language (corresponding to level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
  4. Have basic familiarity with the legal, social system, and way of life in Germany.
  5. Ensure adequate housing for you and your family members.
  6. Not be disqualified by any grounds related to public safety or order.

Reduced waiting times and more favourable pre-conditions

  • Tenured Civil Servants: Civil servants with lifelong tenure for a German public-service employer can obtain a settlement permit after just three years, with the exemption of the 60-month pension insurance contributions requirement.
  • Skilled Workers: Skilled workers who have held a residence title for four years, along with vocational training, academic education, or research experience, and have paid pension insurance contributions for 48 months, can acquire a settlement permit. Adequate knowledge of the German language is also necessary.
  • Graduates or Vocational Training Completers in Germany: Successful completion of vocational training or a degree in Germany, along with two years of employment as a skilled worker or researcher, 24 months of pension insurance contributions, and sufficient knowledge of the German language can make you eligible for a settlement permit.
  • EU Blue Card Holders: Holders of the EU Blue Card who have a basic knowledge of German can receive a settlement permit after just 33 months, given they have been employed appropriately and paid statutory pension insurance contributions. If you possess a sufficient understanding of German, the waiting period reduces to 21 months.
  • Self-employed Persons: Successful self-employed individuals who can earn a livelihood and support dependents with sufficient income may obtain a settlement permit after only three years.
  • Family Members of a German National: Family members with a residence permit for three years, a continued family unit in Germany, and adequate knowledge of the German language can obtain a settlement permit.
  • Children of Foreign Nationals: Children who have held a residence permit for at least five years by the age of 16 are eligible for a settlement permit. Those of age with five years of residence, sufficient knowledge of German, a secure livelihood, or undergoing training leading to a recognized qualification can also receive a settlement permit.

Understanding the different residence permits and settlement permits is crucial when planning your future in Germany. Consider the specific requirements and conditions that apply to your situation to make informed decisions and ensure a successful transition to long-term residency.