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Settlement permit

Already living in Germany with a temporary residence permit and looking to stay permanently? Learn about the requirements that you, as a skilled professional, need to fulfil to be able to receive a permanent residence permit, otherwise referred to as a settlement permit in accordance with Section 18c AufenthG (German Residence Act).

A settlement permit opens many doors. You can live with your family members in Germany with no restrictions. Moreover, you can obtain employment or become self-employed.
 

Settlement permit for skilled professionals

In accordance with the German Residence Act, you are considered a “skilled professional” when you belong to one of the following categories of persons:

What are the requirements that qualified professionals need to fulfil in order to be issued a settlement permit?

  • You have been holder of a residence permit in accordance with Sections 18a, 18b or 18d AufenthG (German Residence Act) for at least four years.
     
  • You are able to cover your costs of living without using public funds.
     
  • You have paid at least 48 months of mandatory or voluntary contributions to the statutory pension insurance fund.
     
  • You are employed at a job for which you are qualified or that adequately suits your qualifications.
     
  • You possess sufficient knowledge of the German language (B1 level in accordance with the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR)) as well as knowledge of the legal and social order and of the German way of life. This can be proved by way of passing the "Life in Germany" test.
     
  • You have enough living space for yourself and your family members.

If you fulfil these requirements, make an appointment at your nearest Foreigners Authority in order to apply for a settlement permit. Find out at the Foreigners Authority which individual documents need to be submitted.

Please note: In some cases, a settlement permit can be issued under facilitated conditions. This is applicable to the following categories of people:

  • EU Blue Card holders
     
  • Persons who have completed university or vocational training in Germany
     
  • Highly qualified professionals
     
  • Self-employed persons
     

Settlement permit for EU Blue Card holders

If you are an EU Blue Card holder, you can request to obtain a settlement permit in accordance with Sect. 18c (2) AufenthG (German Residence Act). The following requirements apply:  

  • You have been employed in a qualified job for at least 33 months during which you made monthly contributions to the statutory pension insurance fund.
     
  • You possess a basic command of the German language (A1 level in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)). For persons who can provide proof of German language skills at B1 level, the required time of 33 months can be reduced to 21 months.
     
  • You have basic knowledge of the legal and social order in Germany. This can be proved by way of passing the "Life in Germany" test.
     
  • You can provide proof of adequate living space.
     

Settlement visa for those who have completed university or vocational training in Germany

Have you successfully completed university or vocational training in Germany? Special conditions also apply to you when it comes to applying for a settlement permit.

  • You have held a residence permit for the purpose of employment as a “qualified professional” for at least 2 years (Residence permit in accordance with Sections 18a, 18b or 18d AufenthG (German Residence Act)).
     
  • You are employed at a job for which you are qualified or that adequately suit your qualifications.
     
  • You have paid into the statutory pension insurance fund for 24 months.
     
  • You possess sufficient knowledge of the German language (B1 level in accordance with the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR)) as well as knowledge of the legal and social order and of the German way of life. This can be proved by way of passing the "Life in German" test.
     
  • You can provide proof of adequate living space.
     

Settlement permit for highly qualified professionals

In individual cases, highly qualified professionals can receive a settlement permit in accordance with Section 18c (3) AufenthG (German Residence Act) straight away without having to first spend a set amount of time in Germany.  

For example, if you are a scientist with special technical knowledge or a teacher in a high-level position, you can obtain a settlement permit immediately upon entering Germany. 

Important:

  • You must be able to provide proof of academic training

and

  • It must be correct to assume that you can integrate into the German way of life and that your living costs will be covered without having to use public funds.

It is a good idea to gather the required documents prior to entering Germany to be able to immediately obtain your settlement permit.
 

Settlement permit for self-employed persons

If you have held of a residence permit for self-employed work in accordance with Sect. 21 AufenthG (German Residence Act) for three years, you may request to obtain a settlement permit (Sect. 21 (4) AufenthG (German Residence Act)). To obtain the settlement permit, you must fulfil the following requirements:

  • At the time of the application you are the holder of a valid residence permit enabling you to be self-employed.
     
  • You are successfully self-employed.
     
  • You can provide proof that you and your family members are able to permanently cover your costs of living.

Click here to find out which individual documents need to be submitted by self-employed persons when applying for a settlement permit.

Do you not belong to any of the listed immigrant groups? Learn about what you can do to obtain a settlement permit in Germany by consulting the website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).
 

Costs

Applying for a settlement permit is associated with fees that vary according to the job category in question. In general, applying for a settlement permit costs EUR 113. If you are self-employed the application costs EUR 124. Highly qualified professionals are required to paid EUR 147 to apply for a settlement permit.

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