BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - Permanent EC residence

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Living in Germany permanently

Foreign nationals from third countries can obtain a permit to remain in Germany permanently.

To be allowed to stay in Germany permanently foreign nationals must not necessarily be a citizen of the European Union. Here you can find out about the conditions relating to third-country nationals.

Foreign nationals that come from so-called third countries can remain in the country permanently if they acquire "permanent EC resident" status. There are a few conditions attached.

While the law allows freedom of movement to every EU citizen to live and work in another Member State, the legal regulations of the Residence Act (AufenthG) and the Long-term Resident Status Directive of 2003 apply to third-country nationals. The permanent residence permit can be obtained both by third-country nationals who live in Germany and by those from other states in the European Union. One condition is that they remain legally in Germany or another EU Member State for at least five years. Anyone who has obtained residence in Germany or another EU country may also live in other EU states permanently.

Permanent residence for foreign nationals from third countries living in Germany (permanent EC residence)

This permit is an independent unrestricted residence title in addition to the settlement permit. The conditions are:

  • having uninterrupted five-year legal residence in Germany
  • securing a livelihood (including adequate health and care insurance) with long-term and regular income, fulfilling tax obligations and adequate provision for old age
  • acquiring an adequate knowledge of the German language, basic knowledge of the legal and social systems and living conditions in Germany, such as can be acquired from attending an integration course, for example
  • representing no risk to public security and order by violating the legal system (in particular criminal law), for example, or by taking part in extremist or terrorist activities
  • having adequate living space.

Residence permit for third-country nationals who have acquired the "permanent EC resident" title in another EU Member State

This residence permit will be granted to a third-country national who wishes to live in Germany for longer than three months. To obtain this, he or she must

  • have a "permanent EC resident" title from another Member State of the European Union; except the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark, to which the Directive concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents does not apply
  • have a valid travel document that is recognised in Germany
  • hold proof that he independently assures his livelihood and has adequate health and long-term care insurance
  • intended employment or planned course of study.

display as hint: Further information from the immigration offices

Further information can be obtained about both cases from the responsible local immigration office. You can find your responsible local immigration office here.

To implement the Directive concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents effectively, there are duties of notification between German local immigraion offices and the relevant authorities in other Member States of the European Union responsible for these matters. The local immigration offices must defer to the Federal Office in these matters as the latter performs the function of the national contact point (section 75 subs. 5 of the Residence Act).

Date 5 August 2011