Ministry of Labour, Social, Family Affairs and Integration

Residence Unlimited Residence Documents

Unlike the residence permit, the settlement permit and the EU long-term residence permit are unlimited residence documents.

Unlimited Residence Documents - Hamburg Welcome Portal

elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel (eAT)

Permanent Residence Permit / Settlement Permit („Niederlassungserlaubnis“)

A settlement permit („Niederlassungserlaubnis”) entitles the holder to reside in the Federal Republic of Germany for an indefinite period and to exercise a gainful employment as well.

To obtain a settlement permit, you normally must have been in possession of a valid residence permit for five years.

further granting prerequisites:

  • secure livelihood by own means (without reliance on  social benefits!) 
  • continous health insurance coverage
  • at least 60 months of contributions to the German statutory retirement pension insurance or comparable private retirement provisions
  • sufficient accommodation
  • sufficient German language skills and basic knowledge of the legal and social system in Germany
  • recognised and valid passport or substitute passport 
  • no criminal record

The permanent residence permit will be issued after a personal visit at the Aliens Office in charge. Please enquire in advance for the documents you have to submit and keep in mind to arrange an appointment if necessary.

The permanent residence permit will be issued in form of an electronic residence permit (check card format). Once your personal document got done and is ready to be picked up at the Aliens Office in charge, you will receive a notification from the Federal Printing Office (Bundesdruckerei), the so called “PIN letter”.

Exceptional rules for EU Blue Card holders:

  • Holders of an EU Blue Card who can prove that they have been in qualified employment and that they have paid contributions to statutory pension insurance or comparable benefits are granted a permanent residence permit after a period of just 33 months.
  • When proving language skills at level B1, EU Blue Card holders can apply for a permanent residence permit even after a period of just 21 months.

EU long-term residence permit („Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt – EU“)

The EU long-term residence permit is also a permanent residence document that entitles the holder to pursue an economic activity. The qualifying conditions of its issue are very similar to those of the settlement permit. However, the EU long-term residence permit also entitles the holder to move within the European Union by granting a right to a temporary residence title in other Member States.​​​​​​​