The settlement permit is a form of residence permit. In this article, you will learn which requirements foreigners must fulfill in order to obtain such a settlement permit, which documents are required for the application and how it differs from other residence titles.
The settlement permit allows you to stay in Germany for an unlimited period of time. However, this title does not convey a right to stay for more than90 days in another EU member state.
Residence Permit Already Exists
To obtain a settlement permit, you must prove that you have already been in possession of a residence permit for Germany for at least five years.
Securing your livelihood
You must prove that you can independently secure your livelihood and, if applicable, that of family members as well. This means that you must not receive any benefits (e.g. from the job center, employment office or social welfare office). In addition, you must be able to prove that you have sufficient health insurance for yourself and family members.
Contributions to the pension insurance
When applying for a settlement permit, you must provide proof that you have made compulsory or voluntary contributions to the statutory pension insurance for at least 60 months
Basic exemption from punishment
Foreign citizens who wish to obtain a settlement permit in Germany must not have previously committed a criminal offense.
Permission to carry out a professional activity
If you are an employee, you need an employment permit, which you must present when applying for the settlement permit. If you are not an employee, but are, for example, self-employed, you must be able to present other necessary permits accordingly
Sufficient knowledge of the German language
In order to obtain a settlement permit, you must have a good knowledge of the German language. German language skills must be at least equivalent to language level
Basic knowledge of the legal and social system and living conditions in Germany
In some countries, foreigners have to take a so-called naturalization test if they want to accept the corresponding citizenship. In Germany, the naturalization test has been mandatory since 2008 in accordance with Section 9 (2) sentence 8 of the Residence Act. The test is used to test the applicant's knowledge of the legal and social order and living conditions in Germany. The test currently comprises33 questions that thematically cover the areas of "Life in Democracy", "History and Responsibility" and "Man and Society". To take the test, you must register with the test center of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
Sufficient living space
When applying for a settlement permit, you must be able to prove that you have sufficient living space. In order for housing to be considered sufficient, there are two main factors: the condition and the size of the dwelling, which is calculated according to the number of occupants. According to Art. 1 Par. 2.4of the General Administrative Regulation on the Residence Act of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, "sufficient living space" is defined as follows:
Children under two years of age are not counted when calculating the required living space.
For each child under six years of age, 10m² of living space is assessed.
For each family member over six years of age, 12m² of living space is assessed.
Auxiliary rooms such as kitchen and bathroom must be available.
Shortened waiting periods and more favorable conditions
You will receive a settlement permit if you have held a residence title for employment as a specialist (with vocational training or academic education) or as a researcher for four years, hold a job, have made 48 months of compulsory contributions to a pension insurance scheme and have sufficient knowledge of the German language.
Graduates of a course of study or vocational training in Germany
You will receive a settlement permit if you have successfully completed a domestic vocational training program or a domestic course of study, have held a residence title for employment as a skilled worker (with vocational training or academic training) or as a researcher for two years, hold a job, have made 24 months of compulsory contributions to a pension insurance scheme, and have sufficient knowledge of the German language.
EU Blue Card holders
If you hold an EU Blue Card and have a basic knowledge of the German language, you will receive a settlement permit after only 33 months, provided you have held a relevant job during this time and have made contributions to a pension insurance scheme.
If you have sufficient knowledge of the German language, your settlement permit will be issued after only 21 months.