Have questions about applying for permanent residency in Munich? Eager for the details on how to secure your German home for the long run?
Say no more!
Below, you’ll find a clear summary to help you with the long and not so süß process of obtaining PR (AKA Niederlassungserlaubnis) in Munich… based on our own personal experience!
In this post, we’ll cover…
- What is a Permanent Residence Permit?
- What are the Requirements for a Permanent Residence Permit in Germany?
- The German Permanent Residency Application Process
- How Long it Takes to Obtain Permanent Residency Permit in Germany
We hope you find this PR in Germany guide helpful!
💡 What is a Permanent Residence Permit?
A German Permanent Residence Permit (also referred to as a Settlement Permit or Niederlassungserlaubnis) allows its owner to stay in Germany indefinitely* and gain access to the labor market.
*with some conditions to keep in mind
- If you leave Germany for more than a period of longer than six consecutive months, it will expire.
- It’s not the same as having German citizenship, but it holds more security than having an Aufenthaltserlaubnis.
🤔 What Are The Requirements For A Permanent Residence Permit?
Non-EU and non-EEA citizens (as well as UK citizens) living in Germany can apply for permanent residency after at least five years in the country (although there are the occasional circumstances that allow earlier qualifications, described briefly below).
Fast-Track Permits for Permanent Residency in Germany
Sometimes it is possible to receive your Permanent Residence Permit in just two years.
Usually, this would apply to those who graduated from a German university and then lived and worked in Germany for two years after.
Individuals married to German citizens can also apply for a Permanent Residence Permit after three years.
Finally, another opportunity to receive a Permanent Residence Permit in under the normal five years is open to those who are highly qualified in a specific technical/research area.
Standard Employee Permits for Permanent Residency in Germany
Unfortunately, the above exceptions are never 100% certain, so most often one will qualify after five years, as long as they can meet the following requirements:
#1: You have held a Aufenthaltserlaubnis for a minimum of 5 years.
#2: You can support yourself without benefit payments (your working contract and typically the last three months salary slips will be requested)
#3: Proof of current and paid health insurance (and documentation showing at least 60 months of social security contributions)
#4: You hold the proper permissions to gain employment in Germany
#5: You have a completed B1 language exam and Einbürgerungstest (Kenntnisse über die Rechts- und Gesellschaftsordnung sowie die Lebensverhältnisse in Deutschland), which is an exam testing you on basic knowledge of common law and life in Germany.
#6: You have sufficient living space for yourself and your family (a copy of your rental contract is requested)
#7: You do not have a criminal record
Permanent Residency in Germany for Self-Employed Individuals
As a self-employed person, you can apply for permanent residency in Germany after three years.
To qualify, you must be able to provide a valid residence permit for self-employment, have already successfully set up your business, and prove that you have the financial stability to support yourself indefinitely.
It is important to keep in mind that the German tax system does distinguish between Freelancers and Self-Employed persons (commercial activity).
So if you are only freelancing, unfortunately, you will not qualify for the reduced application period.
📝 German Permanent Residency Application Process
It is important to know that this process is never the same for every person, and once in a while individual circumstances can change things up a bit (we can speak from personal experiences…), but generally, this is how it should go.
Once you have confirmed you meet all the previously mentioned bullet points, it’s time to go grab your application form, the Antrag auf Erteilung der Niederlassungserlaubnis, from the local immigration office and make an appointment.
Then make sure you have all the following required documents on hand before your appointment:
- Completed application form
- Proof of current and paid health Insurance
- Valid Passport
- B1 level German certificate and Integrations course / Einbürgerungstest certifcate
- 1 x biometric photo
- Certificate of German degree (if applying for a fast-tracked Permanent Residence Permit as a graduate of a German university)
- Marriage Certificate (if applying for a fast-tracked Permanent Residence Permit due to marriage)
- Proof of being financially secure (bank statements for employed individuals and tax returns for self-employed)
- Employment contract
- Proof of accommodation and registration
- Professional license (if applying for fast-tracked Permanent Residence Permit as a result of being highly skilled in a field)
- Money for your permit fee (The standard fee for a Permanent Residence Permit is about €135, for self-employed people, it is €200…prices do very, keep this in mind!)
Depending on the grounds of your application, next to having your documents checked, you may be interviewed about your application and intention for long-term residency.
(This can be a bit intimidating in some interviews but in the end, usually works out great.)
How Long Does it Take to Get My Permanent Residency Permit in Germany?
And finally, the big question to sum up all the excitement: how long does it take to get a residence permit in Germany?
The answer is, of course… it ALWAYS varies. 😛
In our experience, this particular Munich Amt does like to take its precious time getting documents and permits delivered, so it’s tough to say precisely how long yours will take.
They do say that on average, from the time of your interview appointment it will be around 2-3 weeks for your Permanent Residence Permit to be processed and provided (but we’ve got our fingers crossed it will be nice and schnell).
Any Important Details We Forgot To Mention?
Let us know in the comments! We hope you found this guide helpful.