Applying for a Certificate of Permanent Residence for EU/EEA Citizens Entitled to Free Movement
Citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) do not need a residence permit to enter and stay in Germany.
If you are an EU and EEA citizen and have resided legally in Germany for a period of five years, you can acquire a permanent right of residence. The right of permanent residence arises directly by operation of law. You can apply to the Foreigners' Registration Office for a certificate of permanent residence.
Under certain conditions, you can acquire a permanent residence right before the end of five years, e.g. if you:
- have resided continuously in Germany for at least three years, have been gainfully employed in Germany or in another Member State of the European Union for the last twelve months and have since retired from working life due to their age (reaching the age of 65) or due to an early retirement scheme;
- have ceased to practise in Germany or in another Member State of the European Union as a result of a total reduction in earning capacity caused by an accident at work or an occupational disease, which gives rise to entitlement to a pension in Germany;
- have ceased to practise your profession in Germany or in another Member State of the European Union as a result of a total reduction in earning capacity, after having previously resided permanently in Germany for at least two years, or
- you have been permanently employed in Germany for three years, are now working in another Member State of the European Union, but still have a place of residence in Germany to which you return at least once a week.
The certificate of permanent residence is issued by the Foreigners' Registration Office after it has checked whether you have completed the required periods of residence in Germany. It is not necessary for you to have resided continuously in Germany during the required period of time. Certain absences from the federal territory are irrelevant for the acquisition of the right of permanent residence. Thus, even if you leave the federal territory for a total of six months a year, for military service or alternative service, or for good cause once for up to twelve consecutive months (e.g. due to a serious illness, studies, vocational training), you can assume permanent residence. Periods of imprisonment that have not been suspended are not taken into account for the acquisition of the right of permanent residence.
If you have interrupted your stay in Germany for a longer period of time, it is not possible to add up previous and subsequent periods in order to achieve the minimum period of stay required to acquire the right of permanent residence.
If necessary, the Foreigners' Registration Office can also check the legality of your stay, i.e. whether you have fulfilled the requirements of the right to freedom of movement during the entire period.
By acquiring the right of permanent residence, you will receive an improved ("consolidated") legal status, regardless of your nationality. Thus, the right of permanent residence is independent of the continued existence of the conditions for freedom of movement. In addition, your protection against expulsion increases. However, if you leave Germany for more than two consecutive years, this may result in the loss of your right of permanent residence.
The certificate is issued for an unlimited period of time and confirms that you have acquired the right of permanent residence. The document does not constitute an identity document, i.e. You will not be able to prove your identity with the certificate. Therefore, it does not bear a photograph, nor is there any obligation to update the information in the document in case of changes (e.g. you do not have to have the certificate updated if you have a new passport or identity card issued or if your address changes).
If you have not yet reached the age of 18, your legal representative (e.g. the person entitled to care for your child) must agree to your planned stay.
- Depending on the Foreigners' Registration Office, it may be possible to apply via the Internet. Find out whether your Foreigners' Registration Office offers electronic applications. In the case of an electronic application, the Foreigners' Registration Office will contact you after receipt of your application in order to request additional documents if necessary and to make an appointment with you at the Foreigners' Registration Office. During the appointment, your documents will be checked (please bring the original with you to the appointment if you are asked to do so).
- If it is only possible to apply in person, please make an appointment with the Foreigners' Registration Office. During the appointment, your details will be received and your supporting documents will be checked (please bring the original with you to the appointment if you are asked to do so).
- Once the examination has been completed, you will immediately be issued with a certificate of permanent residence or a rejection notice.
- The pick-up must always be done in person. You must provide a signature at the Foreigners' Registration Office.
The Foreigners' Registration Office responsible for the applicant's place of residence
- You are a citizen of the EU or the EEA
- You can prove the required periods of residence in Germany (usually five years, in special cases two or three years are sufficient).
- You are legally resident in Germany, i.e. You have fulfilled the requirements of the right to freedom of movement throughout your stay.
- If necessary, you can provide the evidence and documents mentioned under "Required documents".
Which documents are required?
The Foreigners' Registration Office may require the submission of the following documents:
- Recognised or otherwise approved, valid passport or passport substitute
- Proof that the right to freedom of movement has been exercised for the periods of residence completed (e.g. confirmation of registration, employment contract, trade license or proof of self-employment, sufficient means of subsistence and sufficient health insurance coverage, certificate of enrollment)
- Consent of the legal representative to the planned stay if the person has not yet reached the age of 18.
In individual cases, the Foreigners' Registration Office may request further documents.
What are the fees?
Issuance of certificate: EUR 10.00
Under certain conditions, a fee reduction or fee exemption may be considered.
Fee: 10,00 EURPayment in advance: NoFor the issuance of the certificate. Under certain conditions, a fee reduction or fee exemption may be considered.
What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?
- The certificate of permanent residence can be applied for after five years of permanent legal residence. In special cases, the right of permanent residence can be certified after two or three years.
- The certificate of permanent residence shall be issued without delay for an indefinite period.
Time limit for appeal against the negative decision of the Foreigners' Registration Office: one month
Your application for a certificate of permanent residence will be processed as soon as possible
Applications / forms
- Online procedures possible in isolated cases
- Written form required: yes
- Personal appearance required: yes
A general action for performance may be brought against a negative decision of the Foreigners' Registration Office for the issuance of a certificate of permanent residence.
What else should I know?
Note for Swiss nationals:
Because Switzerland is not a member of the EU or the EEA, a different regulation applies to Swiss citizens. The right of residence for Swiss nationals is governed by the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation, of the other part.
Note for British nationals (Brexit):
On 1 February 2020, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland withdrew from the European Union. For British nationals and their family members entitled to freedom of movement, the right to free movement initially continued to apply until 31 December 2020.
The responsible Foreigners' Registration Office will provide information on which regulations will apply in individual cases from 1 January 2021
Technically approved by
Ministry of the Interior and Local Government of the State of Brandenburg
Professionally released on
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.