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Apply for a certificate of permanent residence for EU/EEA citizens entitled to freedom of movement
Source: Zuständigkeitsfinder Schleswig-Holstein (Linie6PLus)
Citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA: Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) do not generally require a residence permit to enter and stay in Germany.
If you are an EU or 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 law. You can apply to the Foreigners' Registration Office for a certificate of permanent residence.
Under certain conditions, you can acquire a permanent right of residence before five years have passed, e.g. if you:
- have resided permanently 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 your age (reaching the age of 65) or due to an early retirement scheme;
- have given up your profession in Germany or in another member state of the European Union as a result of a full reduction in earning capacity caused by an accident at work or an occupational disease and which entitles you to a pension in Germany;
- have given up your profession in Germany or in another member state of the European Union as a result of a full reduction in earning capacity after having lived in Germany continuously for at least two years, or
- have been continuously employed in Germany for three years and are now gainfully employed 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 period of residence in Germany. It is not necessary for you to have resided in Germany continuously for the required period. Certain absences from the federal territory are irrelevant for the acquisition of the right of permanent residence. For example, leaving the federal territory for a total of six months per year, to perform military service or alternative service or for an important reason once for up to twelve consecutive months (e.g. due to a serious illness, studies, vocational training) can also be assumed to be permanent residence. Periods of serving a prison sentence 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 reach the minimum length of stay required to acquire the right of permanent residence.
If necessary, the immigration authority can also check the legality of your residence, i.e. whether you have fulfilled the requirements of the right to freedom of movement for the entire period.
Acquiring the right of permanent residence gives you an improved ("solidified") legal status, regardless of your nationality. The right of permanent residence is independent of the continued existence of the conditions for freedom of movement. In addition, your protection against deportation is increased. However, if you leave the federal territory for more than two consecutive years, this may result in the loss of your permanent right of residence.
The certificate is issued for an unlimited period of time and confirms that you have acquired the right of permanent residence. The document is not an identity document, i.e. you cannot prove your identity with the certificate. Therefore, it does not bear a photograph, nor is there an obligation to update the information in the document in the event 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 authorized to take care of you) must consent to the planned stay.
- Depending on the foreigners authority, it may be possible to apply online. Find out whether your foreigners authority offers electronic application. In the case of an electronic application, the foreigners authority will contact you after receiving your application to request additional documents if necessary and to arrange an appointment with you at the foreigners authority. Your documents will be checked during the appointment (bring the originals with you to the appointment if you are asked to do so).
- If the application can only be made in person, make an appointment with the Foreigners' Registration Office. During the appointment, your details will be taken and your supporting documents checked (bring the originals 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 notice of refusal.
- You must always collect your documents in person. You must provide a signature at the Foreigners' Registration Office.
The foreigners authority responsible for the applicant's place of residence.
- You are a citizen of the EU or the EEA
- You have the required length 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 during your entire stay.
- If necessary, you can provide the evidence and documents listed under "Required documents".
Which documents are required?
The Immigration Office may require the submission of the following documents:
- Recognized 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 resources and adequate health insurance cover, certificate of enrolment)
- Consent of the legal representative to the planned stay if the applicant has not yet reached the age of 18.
In individual cases, the Immigration Office may request further documents.
What are the fees?
Issue of certificate: EUR 10.00
Under certain conditions, a fee reduction or fee exemption may be possible.
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 just two or three years.
- The certificate of permanent residence is immediately issued for an unlimited period.
Your application for a permanent residence certificate will be processed as soon as possible
A general action for the granting of a certificate of permanent residence can be brought against a negative decision by the immigration authority.
Applications / forms
- Online procedure occasionally possible
- Written form required: yes
- Personal appearance required: yes
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 nationals. The right of residence for Swiss nationals is governed by the Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation, of the other, on the free movement of persons.
Note for British nationals (Brexit):
On February 1, 2020, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland withdrew from the European Union. For British nationals entitled to freedom of movement and their family members, the right to freedom of movement initially continued to apply until December 31, 2020.
The responsible immigration authority will provide information on which regulations will apply in individual cases from January 1, 2021
- Information from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community on freedom of movement:
- Information from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees on the subject of immigration from the EU:
- Information from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community on Brexit: https: //www.bmi.bund.de/DE/themen/verfassung/europa/brexit/brexitartikel.html
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.
Technically approved by
Ministry of the Interior and Municipal Affairs of the State of Brandenburg
Professionally released on