Get a German Permanent Residence Permit After EU Blue Card

A permanent residence permit is a goal of most of us when moving abroad, and it’s certainly reasonable: one will get the freedom to stay in the country as long as they want. Assuming you are the holder of the EU Blue Card, one of Germany’s most favorable and beneficial residence permits.

The German EU Blue Card Holders are eligible for a permanent residence permit after 21 months of living and working in Germany. The main requirement is German language proficiency at the B1 level. With lower language proficiency, the waiting period extends to 33 months.

How can you get a permanent residency in Germany after the EU Blue Card at all? The EU Blue Card is the fasterst way to receive a permanent residence permit (PR) in Germany; This article explains PR in Germany and how you to get it with EU Blue Card. Read more about EU Blue Card in this article.

PR in Germany After The EU Blue Card

You have been working hard to get your EU Blue Card, and now the next achievement – German permanent residency. The good news, this milestone will be easier than your current permit, thanks to the uncomplicated German immigration system.

The main obstacle is that one must speak German on some level, whether it’s A1 if you want to receive PR after 33 months of living in Germany or B1 if after 21 months. Consequently, the German immigration office will request a German certificate of the common European framework of reference for languages (CEFR).

It can be the Goethe certificate, TestDaF, and others.

Since you are a holder of the EU Blue Card, you will be granted PR upon request, the earliest date after 21 months. For this, you should make an appointment in the immigration office in your country and prepare all required documents (read below).

In all other cases, it will take longer to obtain a PR in Germany; for instance, if you are on a working visa, then count with 4 years, and graduates of German universities and vocational schools can pretend for a settlement permit after 2 years of working.

However, one should count years of studying, it will take at least 3 years for bachelor’s students and 1,5-2 for masters. In the case of vocational training – 3 years it’s an average number. Consequently, it will take you 4-5 years on average if you study in Germany and work your way to permanent residency.

What Is Permanent Residency in Germany?

A permanent residence permit, also known as a settlement permit, is a permit that allows you to settle in Germany for an unlimited amount of time. However, it doesn’t permit you to leave the country for more than 90 days in 180 days. Otherwise, it might lose its validity.

After possessing PR in Germany, you can obtain citizenship. In order to apply for a German passport, a foreigner must have been living in Germany for 8 years in total.

With German PR, you can perform all forms of economic activities. With that said, one can set up a business, have unrelated to qualifications job, and change employers easily.

Read more about Benefits of PR in Germany.

Requirements for Permanent Residence Permit in Germany

Depending on many factors, the requirements can vary, some of them include:

  • the period you are residing in Germany
  • your current and past residence permits
  • knowledge of language

Requirements highly depend on your current position e.g., employment in Germany, so we can separate it into the following groups:

  1. holders of the EU Blue Card
  2. graduates of German universities and professional schools (Berufsausbildung)
  3. highly qualified professionals (hochqualifizierte Fachkräfte)
  4. self-employed (Selbstständige)

General requirements

Regardless of your current residence permit and employment type following requirements apply to a regular person living in or thinking of moving to Germany and plans to receive a PR.

  • reside in Germany for 5 years
  • show proficiency in the German language
  • contribute for at least 60 months to pension insurance
  • be able to secure a livelihood through regular income for yourself and your family
  • have enough living space for yourself and your family
  • be integrated in Germany

This list of conditions should be fulfilled in order to receive a permanent residence permit in Germany if not fall into one of the below-listed groups.

Requirements for all skilled professionals (Fachkräfte)

In Germany, Fachkräfte is called skilled professionals with academic qualifications or vocational training, but also foreign researchers and scientists. So if you are working in Germany as a qualified professional or self-employed, you will have other terms of issuing PR.

General requirements for those candidates are:

  • they possess a completed educational program (high or vocational)
  • to reside in Germany for at least 4 years
  • they secure their livelihood without the use of public funds
  • they contributed to pensions insurance for at least 48 months
  • they have employment according to their qualifications
  • they speak German on at least a B1 level
  • they have enough living space for themselves and their family members

Requirements for EU Blue Card holders

Holders of the EU Blue Card have the easiest and fastest route to permanent residency in Germany, so they can apply for this already after 33 months. The following requirements apply:

  • to pay contributions to the statutory pension insurance for at least 33 months (21 months)
  • to have a German certificate of A1 level (B1 for PR after 21 months)
  • to have basic knowledge of the legal and societal ordinance in Germany
  • to have enough living space

Requirements for graduates of universities or vocational schools

If you have finished higher or vocational education in Germany, you can enjoy benefits when applying for PR in Germany. Here are the main conditions:

  • to have a residence permit for a skilled worker for at least 2 years
  • to have a job that corresponds to your qualifications
  • to pay contributions to the statutory pension insurance for at least 24 months
  • to have a German certificate of B1 level
  • to have enough living space

Requirements for highly qualified professionals

In Germany, highly qualified professionals (hochqualifizierte Fachkräfte) are called individuals who engage in scientific work or research. In that case, different rules apply where they can obtain a PR immediately after entry to Germany. Scientific workers only must present academic qualifications and their financial security.

Requirements for self-employed

If you have a residence permit for self-employment in Germany, you can obtain a permanent residence already after 3 years. For this, the following conditions must be fulfilled:

  • to have a residence permit for self-employment
  • to be profitable in your freelance work or running the company
  • to prove a financially secured livelihood for you and your family members 

Documents for the PR Application

If you find yourself fulfilling the criteria for permanent residency in Germany, you can head to the immigration office in your city with the following documents:

  • Valid passport 
  • 1 current biometric photo
  • Form “Antrag auf Erteilung einer Niederlassungserlaubnis
  • Proof of income
  • German language certificate (B1)

In the case of employment:

  • contract of employment
    • current certificate issued by the employer (not older than 14 days),
    • salary statements for the last 6 months, and
    • certificate issued by the pension insurance institution

In the case of freelancers and self-employed persons:

  • completed audit report together with the documents listed therein, e.g., extract from the Commercial Register
    • the audit report must be completed by a tax consultant, auditor, or tax agent.
    • last tax assessment notice

In the case of pensioners:

  • notice of pension entitlement

In the case of disability or reduced ability to earn a living:

  • Notice of pension entitlement on account of disability or reduced ability to make a living, or
    • recent expert opinion by the German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit), or
    • qualified medical certificate
  • Health insurance 
    • If you are covered by statutory health insurance, a current confirmation of health insurance coverage from your provider, or
    • if you are insured with a private health insurance company, the policy, and proof of contributions are paid (e.g., statements of account).
  • Lease or proof of homeownership – Proofs of living space and monthly rent or cost of housing of own property (house or apartment) has to be supplied. 
  • Certificates showing participation in the integration course (if available) 
    • “Integration Course Certificate” about the successful participation in the integration course
    • Certificate of the results obtained in the final tests
    • The certificates facilitate the examination of the application.
  • Old-age provision 
    • Pension information notice issued by the German Pension Fund or
    • proof of entitlement to comparable benefits by another insurance or pension institutions
    • proof of entitlement to pension schemes may also be provided by the spouse or same-sex partner. 
  • Evidence of the receipt of other benefits – Do you receive any child benefit, child benefit supplement, parental benefit, care benefit, or similar benefits? If yes, you should submit proof thereof (e.g., notice). 
  • Proof of the primary residency in your city in Germany 
    • Certificate of registration at the primary residency or
    • lease and written confirmation of occupancy from the landlord

Costs of German PR

Application fee varies between candidate groups, so the general cost is 113 EUR for the self-employed – 124 EUR, and highly qualified professionals have to pay 147 EUR for the application for a settlement permit.


Anna is an enthusiastic expatriate with experience of living in Germany, Austria and Greece. She shares her passion for living abroad on this website.

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