Applying for a permanent residence card for third-country nationals' family members of EU citizens entitled to free movement
If, as a third-country national family member of a citizen of the European Union (EU) or a state of the European Economic Area (EEA: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), you have permanently resided legally in Germany for a period of five years with your family member entitled to freedom of movement, you can obtain a right of permanent residence regardless of whether the requirements under EU law continue to be met and apply to the Apply for the issuance of a permanent residence card.
The Foreigners' Registration Office will check the duration and legality of your periods of residence and issue the permanent residence card within six months if the conditions are met.
Your five-year permanent residence is "lawful" if you have fulfilled the conditions under EU law for the free movement of third-country nationals for a period of five years (for example, if you have been in possession of a residence card for five years).
For the calculation of the deadline for the acquisition of the right of permanent residence, shorter periods of absence are irrelevant. Thus, even when leaving the federal territory for a total of six months a year, for the purpose of military service or alternative service, as well as for good cause, a one-time permanent residence for up to twelve consecutive months (for example, due to a serious illness, study or vocational training) can be assumed.
With the acquisition of the right of permanent residence, you will receive an improved legal status, regardless of your nationality. In addition, the protection against expulsion increases.
Under certain conditions, family members can also obtain the right of permanent residence independently of permanent residence with the caregiver entitled to freedom of movement and before the expiry of five years (for example, if the caregiver dies after at least two years of joint residence in Germany or as a result of an accident at work/occupational disease).
- Find out whether your Foreigners' Registration Office allows you to apply online or has a special form.
- If the application is only possible in person, make an appointment at the Foreigners' Registration Office. In the case of an online application, the Foreigners' Registration Office will contact you after receiving your details to arrange an appointment.
- During the appointment, your identity and documents will be checked (please bring your documents, if possible in the original, with you to the appointment).
- If there are no reasons to the contrary, your fingerprints will be taken for the production of the permanent residence card. You will also need to provide a signature.
- The Foreigners' Registration Office commissions Bundesdruckerei to produce the permanent residence card in credit card format. After completion, you will receive information and can pick up the permanent residence card from the competent authority. The collection must always be done in person.
- As a rule, the permanent residence card is issued within six months.
- If the issuance of a permanent residence card is refused, you will receive a notification.
- You are a family member of an EU or EEA citizen residing in Germany, but do not have any of these nationalities yourself.
- You are a family member of a person with German citizenship, i.e. They are
- Life partner
- a relative in the direct descending line (e.g. children) of the German or the spouse/partner who has not yet reached the age of 21 or who is dependent on them, or
- a relative in the direct ascending line (e.g. parents and grandparents) of the German or of the spouse or partner to whom they provide maintenance.
Please note: In the case of student caregivers, the circle of family members entitled to reunification is limited to spouses and life partners as well as children who are granted maintenance.
You maintain a family relationship with the German (you do not necessarily have to live together for this).
Over a period of five years, you have been permanently resident in Germany with your caregiver.
For the calculation of the deadline for the acquisition of the right of permanent residence, shorter periods of absence are irrelevant. Thus, a permanent residence can also be assumed when leaving the federal territory for a total of six months a year or to perform military service or alternative service, as well as for good cause once for up to twelve consecutive months (for example, due to a serious illness, studies or vocational training).
The reference period for the permitted six-month absence is the period per year of stay, starting from the anniversary of the start of the stay.
You can acquire a permanent right of residence before the expiry of five years if your caregiver dies, for example, as a result of an accident at work or an occupational disease.
- They have fulfilled the conditions under EU law for the free movement of third-country nationals for more than five years. You can assume this if you have been issued the residence card for a period of five years
Which documents are required?
- Recognized and valid identity document (e.g. passport or passport substitute)
- Up-to-date biometric photo in the passport (45 x 35 mm)
- In the case of minors: consent of the persons with custody to the planned stay (declaration of consent); if the parents with custody are unable to submit the application jointly for their child, a written power of attorney from the absent parent is required; if custody is granted to only one parent, the signature of that parent is sufficient
The Foreigners' Registration Office may also require the submission of the following documents:
- Proof of the continuation of the family relationship with the reference person (e.g. marriage or birth certificate)
- Proof that the caregiver has exercised his or her right to freedom of movement for the required period of time (e.g. confirmation of registration, employment contract or assurance of employment, trade license or proof of self-employment)
When staying with a non-working reference person, the Foreigners' Registration Office may also require:
- Proof of sufficient means of subsistence
- Proof of sufficient health insurance coverage (e.g. confirmation of health insurance coverage or insurance policy)
When staying with a caregiver during your studies, the Foreigners' Registration Office may also require:
- University admission or certificate of enrollment of the reference person
- Proof of sufficient means of subsistence
- Proof of health insurance coverage (e.g. confirmation of health insurance coverage or insurance policy)
The documents and information must always be submitted in German. In individual cases, the Foreigners' Registration Office may request fewer or more documents.
What are the fees?
Cost amount (fixed):
- 37,00 for persons aged 24 and over
- 22.80 for persons under 24 years of age
The timing and form of fee collection and payment vary depending on the authority.
Additional fees may apply for the issuance of the permanent residence card in credit card format with additional electronic functions (can also be used as electronic proof of identity).
Fee: 28,80 EURPayment in advance: No
Fee: 22,80 EURPayment in advance: No
What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?
Duration: 6 to 8
Note (for more information on the deadline):
At least 6 to 8 weeks before the expiry of your residence card, the necessary information and documents should be received by the Foreigners' Registration Office. If no exceptions are met, the permanent residence card can be applied for at the earliest after a stay of five years.
Note (for more information on the deadline):
The permanent residence card is issued for an indefinite period. Only the electronic card body is issued for a limited period of time and must be renewed after the end of its validity.
Duration (at span): approx. 6 to 6
Note for further information on processing time:
The processing time may vary depending on the workload of the Foreigners' Registration Office, but a maximum of six months.
It takes about 4 weeks to 6 weeks for Bundesdruckerei to produce the permanent residence card.
Applications / forms
- Online procedures possible in isolated cases
- Written form required: yes
- Personal appearance required: yes
- Objection to the decision of the Foreigners' Registration Office within one month of notification
- Bringing an action before the court named in the notice of opposition if the objection is not upheld
What else should I know?
- The procedure is usually carried out in German.
- If you leave the federal territory for more than two consecutive years for a reason that is not only temporary by its nature, this will result in the loss of the right of permanent residence.
- Other provisions apply to nationals of Switzerland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (see "Further information").
- All information provided to the Foreigners' Registration Office should be correct and complete to the best of our knowledge and belief so that the request can be processed without major delays.
- Incorrect or incomplete information can slow down the procedure and be detrimental to the persons concerned. In the event of an emergency, incorrect or incomplete information that is not completed or corrected in time vis-à-vis the Foreigners' Registration Office may result in the revocation of residence rights already granted, a fine, imprisonment of up to three years or expulsion from the federal territory.
- Due to the complexity of the right of residence and freedom of movement, this description is for information purposes only and is not legally binding
Information from the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community on freedom of movement
Information from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees on immigration from the EU
Information from the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community on Brexit: https://www.bmi.bund.de/DE/themen/verfassung/europa/brexit/brexit-artikel.html
Information from the European Union on the permanent residence card for family members from a non-EU country
Technically approved by
Ministry of the Interior and Municipal Affairs of the State of Brandenburg
Professionally released on
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.