Applying for a permanent residence permit for recognised asylum seekers and refugees
As a recognised person entitled to asylum, a refugee under the Geneva Convention on Refugees or a resettlement refugee, you can obtain a permanent residence permit (so-called settlement permit) after three or five years under simplified conditions.
If you have not yet reached the age of 18, please first find out about the benefit "Settlement Permit Granting for Minor Children", which is granted on the basis of § 35 of the Residence Act (see notes).
- The permanent residence permit must be applied for before the validity of your current residence permit expires.
- Find out whether your Foreigners' Registration Office allows you to apply online or whether you have a special application 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 application to make an appointment.
- During the appointment, your identity and documents will be checked (please bring your documents, preferably in the original, to the appointment).
- If your application is granted, your fingerprints will be taken for the purpose of obtaining a permanent residence permit in the form of a new electronic residence permit (eAT card).
- The Foreigners' Registration Office commissions the production of the eAT card from the Federal Printing Office. After completion, you will receive information and can pick up the eAT card from the responsible office. The eAT card must always be picked up in person.
- If your application is rejected, you will receive a rejection notice.
Who should I contact?
The Foreigners' Registration Office responsible for the applicant's place of residence is responsible for processing the application.
- You are in possession of a valid residence permit as:
- recognised person entitled to asylum (§ 25 paragraph 1 of the Residence Act),
- recognised refugee under the Geneva Convention on Refugees (§ 25 paragraph 2 sentence 1, 1st alternative of the Residence Act) or
- Resettlement refugee (§ 23 paragraph 4 of the Residence Act).
- You have been in possession of a residence permit for at least five years (periods of an asylum procedure are taken into account).
- The reasons for your recognition as a person entitled to asylum or as a refugee still exist.
Please note: Three years after recognition, the BAMF examines whether the reasons for recognition could have ceased to apply. In the case of asylum decisions from 2015, 2016 or 2017, the BAMF must have explicitly informed you that the conditions for revocation or revocation are not met in order for you to be able to assume that your residence status will continue.
- If you want to obtain a permanent residence permit after three years :
- You are proficient in the German language (level C1),
- As a rule, you and your spouse or partner can support yourself and your household members more than 75% of the cost of living without recourse to public benefits.
- If you want to obtain a permanent residence permit after five years :
- You have sufficient knowledge of German (level A2),
- As a rule, you and your spouse or partner can support yourself and your household members for more than 50% of the cost of living without recourse to public benefits.
Please note: This requirement will be waived if you have reached retirement age.
- You have a permanent employment permit.
Please note: In a marriage or civil partnership, it is sufficient for the partner to have the employment permit.
- If you work in a regulated profession, you must be in possession of the necessary professional licence (for example, licence to practise medicine or professional licence).
Please note: In a marriage or civil partnership, it is sufficient for the partner to have permission.
- You have basic knowledge of the German legal and social system.
Please note: Orientation courses offered by the BAMF impart this knowledge.
- You have sufficient living space for yourself and your family members.
- You have adequate health insurance.
- You have no criminal record.
- There is no interest in expulsion against you.
Which documents are required?
- Recognised and valid identity document (e.g. passport or passport substitute)
- Recent biometric photo in passport format (45 x 35 mm)
- Proof of subsistence (e.g. proof of income, employment contract, pension notice, proof of receipt of benefits such as parents or child benefit, maintenance payments).
Please note: Proof of livelihood security can also be provided by third parties (e.g. spouse, registered partner, parents).
After a period of residence of five years, proof of subsistence security can be waived if the retirement age has been reached or if there is an illness or disability that prevents independent livelihood security. This must be proven in an appropriate form (e.g. by means of a pension notice, a specialist medical opinion, proof of institutional placement).
- Proof of health insurance coverage (for example, confirmation of health insurance coverage or insurance policy)
- Proof of knowledge of the German language at level A2 (for five years of residence) or C1 (for three years of residence) of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (e.g. language certificate, German school, training or university certificates)
Please note: After a stay of five years, proof of successful participation in the integration course can be submitted as proof.
Proof of language proficiency may be waived if there is an illness or disability that prevents the learning of the language. This must be proven in an appropriate form (for example, by a medical specialist's opinion, proof of institutionalization or other reasons that make learning the language impossible or unreasonable in the long term).
- Proof of basic knowledge of the legal and social system in Germany (e.g. certificate or certificate of successful participation in the integration course)
Please note: After a stay of five years, this proof can be waived if there is an illness or disability that prevents the acquisition of knowledge. This must be proven in an appropriate form (e.g. by a medical specialist's opinion, proof of institutional placement or other reasons that make it impossible or unreasonable to obtain the knowledge in the long term).
- Proof of sufficient living space (rental or purchase agreement that provides information about the living space)
- Professional licence (e.g. licence to practise medicine, professional licence) when practising a regulated profession (in a marriage or registered civil partnership, proof can also be provided by the partner).
- If there is an obligation to participate in the integration course: Certificate of successful participation in the integration course
The documents and information must always be submitted in German. In individual cases, the Foreigners' Registration Office may require less or more proof.
What are the fees?
What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?
6 to 8 weeks
Note (for more information on the deadline):
The application should be received by the Foreigners' Registration Office no later than 6 to 8 weeks before the expiry of the current residence permit.
Note (for more information on the deadline):
The permanent residence permit is issued for an unlimited period. Only the electronic residence permit (eAT card) is issued for a limited period of time and must be renewed after the end of its validity.
Duration: approx. 6 to 8 weeks
Note for more information on processing time:
The processing time may vary depending on the workload of the Foreigners' Registration Office.
It takes about 4 to 6 weeks for the Federal Printing Office to produce the electronic residence permit.
Applications / forms
Forms available: No
Written form required: No
Informal application possible: Yes
Personal appearance required: Yes
- An appeal against a negative decision of the Foreigners' Registration Office can be brought before the competent administrative court.
- A preliminary procedure (opposition) does not take place in Lower Saxony.
- Detailed information can be found in the rejection notice.
What else should I know?
- Minors and young adults who have received a residence permit as a person entitled to asylum or as a recognised refugee before reaching the age of 18 should find out more about the "Settlement Permit for Minor Children" service. This permanent residence permit is issued on a different legal basis under simplified conditions from the age of 16 (§ 35 of the Residence Act).
- The procedure is usually conducted in German.
- A settlement permit may expire if you stay outside Germany for more than six months if this stay abroad has not been previously agreed with the Foreigners' Registration Office.
- Persons who hold a residence permit for other humanitarian reasons can also obtain a permanent residence permit after five years. However, the prerequisites for this are different.
- Make sure that your information is correct and complete to the best of your knowledge and belief. This is the only way for the Foreigners' Registration Office to process your request without major delays.
- Incorrect or incomplete information can slow down the process and be detrimental to you. In the event of an emergency, incorrect or incomplete information that is not completed or corrected in time to the Foreigners' Registration Office may result in the withdrawal of residence rights that have already been granted, a fine, imprisonment for up to three years or expulsion from the federal territory.
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.