Permanent Residence Permit in Germany (PR): All Benefits

Except for EU citizens and citizens of Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, everybody staying in Germany for more than 3 months must obtain a residence permit. The Permanent Residence Permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) is one of the strongest forms of residency permit – it’s unlimited and not purpose bound. Are you currently living in Germany and considering applying for permanent residence?

The main benefits of Permanent Residency in Germany include:

  • No extension required
  • Entitlement for any employment including self-employment
  • Freedom of movement in the EU/EEA
  • Permission on education and vocational training
  • Guaranteed social security and health insurance
  • Guaranteed social benefits
  • Housing benefit (Wohngeld) from the state
  • Ability to take loans
  • Student support (BAFÖG)
  • Parental Benefits
  • Child Benefits
  • Maintenance Advance (Unterhaltsvorschuss) for single parents
  • Right of family reunification
  • Children born in Germany become German citizens
  • Eligibility for German citizenship

Sounds encouraging right? Yet, before the application, you need to ensure if you are eligible for this type of permit. Moreover, other nuances of the permanent residence permit (PR for the future mention) should be taken into account.

Why Apply for Permanent Residence Permit in Germany?

  1. No extension required. Once receiving PR you will have the right to stay in the country for an unlimited duration of time.
  2. Entitlement for any employment including self-employment. While holding PR you can work for any employer, in any employment form, including self-employment. Your permit neither bound with one company or the purpose of stay.

Read more: Self-employed vs Freelance in Germany; Setting up a business in Germany.

3. Freedom of movement in the EU/EEA. A permanent residence permit opens borders or other 31 EU and EEA countries. To travel outside of Europe must be required additional information. As there might be restrictions due to your citizenship.

!Be aware that if you leave Germany for a period of more than six months, your Permanent Residence Permit will be canceled. If you hold an EU Permanent Residence Permit, it will expire after a 12-month stay outside the EU/EEA.

  1. Permission on education and vocational training. PR allows holders to start a vocational training (Ausbildung) without approval from The Federal employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit). In normal cases, if the applicant doesn’t have a German PR, the employment Agency will choose a candidate from Germany or EU/EEA as they privileged above Non-EU/EEA citizens.
  2. Guaranteed social security and health insurance. Owner of PR in Germany entitled in the same way as german residents to have social security insurance and health insurance. Social security includes sickness benefits, long-term care insurance, pension insurance, accident insurance, and unemployment insurance. What else you need for a carefree life in Germany?

Read more: Public health care in Germany; Health care in Germany

6. Guaranteed social benefits. As mentioned above PR holders have social security insurance, thus they will receive guaranteed social benefits accordingly to each insurance. However, this can happen only if they and their employer pay a monthly contribution to each of these insurances.

More about German social security in this post.

7. Housing benefits from the state. PR gives you entitlement for government housing support (Wohngeld) if you are no longer financially able to pay for rent. The amount you would potentially receive, depending on the number of people in your household, the price of your rent or mortgage, and your household’s total monthly income.  

8. Ability to take loans. Now being a PR holder you can finally take a loan, it can be a mortgage for a house, a loan for your degree, or anything else. Taking loans in Germany is very cost-effective, in 2018, the average mortgage rate was 1.85%.

9. Student support (BAFÖG). German students can receive support from the state in the form of BAFÖG. The permanent residence gives you rights for this as well, monthly contribution ranges from 689 EUR to max. 825 EUR. Though at the end of the studies, you will need to pay half of the received money back.

10. Parental Benefits. If you plan or already have a baby, PR can help you stay home and get financial assistance. State support may be paid during the first 14 months of the child’s life and equivalent to 67% of the salary you received last 12 months.

11. Child Benefits. Permanent resident holders entitled together with all parents in Germany benefit from compensation for the cost of raising children. This government allowance can vary from 204 EUR to 235 EUR per child per month.

12. Support (Unterhaltsvorschuss) for single parents. Well, you can see PR gives you almost the same benefits as German residents. This contribution is made for single parents who receive no maintenance from the other parent. The amount of maintenance advance you will receive depends on the child’s age:

Up to 5 years165 euros per month
6-11 years (inclusive)220 euros per month
12-17 years (inclusive)293 euros per month
  1. Right of family reunification. This benefit might be most important for someone willing to bring their family to Germany. With Permanent Residence Permit you are able to do so. Yet, the reunification of the PR holder’s families is limited to the spouse (or registered partner) and children before their 16th birthday.
  2. Children born in Germany become German citizens. If children born after their parents had been residing in the country for eight years, they will automatically become German citizens. What’s a wonderful opportunity to give your kids a bright future. Not only holders of PR benefit from this permit but also their next generation.
  3. Eligibility to get German citizenship. And finally, a huge advantage for long-term thinkers is receiving a German passport after holding a Permanent Residence Permit for 5 years. It is the Second World Powerful passport after the United Arad Emirates!

When Can I Get a Permanent Residence Permit?

1. If you are a holder of the EU Blue Card, you will be granted PR upon request. To succeed, you need at least 33 months of working experience in Germany and have basic language skills (A1). However, you can apply already after 21 months of work, if sufficient knowledge of German (B1) can be proven.

2. You have been a holder of any German residence permit for at least 4 years, 48 months of which you have been working in the country. Additionally, advanced German is a must (level B1).

3. For people who have completed studies or vocational training in Germany. They can receive a permanent residency already after 24 months of work in the country.

4. Self-employed people with a German residence permit for self-employment can receive PR already after 3 years of working in the country.

Are you currently possessing a Blue Card or planning to get one? The article “How to get a PR in Germany after the Blue Card” will be helpful to read!

General Requirements for Permanent Residence Permit

Citizens of Non-EU/EAA states can apply for a Permanent Residence Permit if the following conditions are met:

  • You have lived in Germany for at least 2 or 3 years
  • Your living is secured without public funds
  • You have paid mandatory or voluntary contributions to the pension insurance for at least 24 months
  • You are permitted to work in Germany
  • You have sufficient knowledge of the German language (B1) as well as basic knowledge of the legal and social order and the living conditions in Germany
  • You have enough living space for yourself and your family members

Check out the most recommended health insurance in Germany, Ottonova, it’s customized for foreign employees, expats, freelancers, and self-employed. Another option would be private insurance from Feather, which is suitable for self-employed people with relatively high incomes.

See full article about requirements for German permanent residence permit.

Permanent Residence Permit vs EU Blue Card

The Permanent Residency Permit (Niederlasssungserlaubnis) and the EU Blue Card are two residence permits that allow non-EU/EEA citizens to stay in Germany for a longer period or maybe the rest of their life while enjoying all benefits.

  • PR is permanent permission

Although the card expires and so your passport, the title (permit) will not, you have to exchange the old card without applying again. EU Blue Card you will need to renew every 4 years, which is time-consuming work for both you and your employer.

  • Job changing

PR holders: free to change jobs without permission. Blue Card: in the first two years of employment, job change is possible only within Germany and after approvement from immigration services. After 18 Months one is allowed to take up employment in another EU country without restrictions.

  • Employment

While holders PR entitled to take any kind of employment, Blue Card owners can only accept suitable to their skills and qualifications jobs, moreover, the salary must be a minimum of 53,600 EUR per year.

Read more about minimal salary for Blue Card/residence permits in Germany.

  • Unemployment

No action is necessary when losing a job, PR permit won’t be annulled if you fall on public funds, because you get unemployed, or for any other reasons. While having Blue Card you will have only 3 months to find a new employer, after it will expire.

  • Freedom of movement

You are free to travel to EU/EEA counties, however, the PR automatically expires when leaving Germany for 6 months at once. Blue Card will allow you to spend up to 12 months in Non-EU/EEA countries without losing its validation.

  • International working

Working abroad (EU/EEA) will be easier with the EU Blue Card, it makes you eligible to work anywhere in Europe, you can switch jobs between countries with no legal issue. PR holders can work abroad too, only it will require more paperwork.

  • A permanent residence permit gives more security and convenience

EU Blue Card only entitles the holder to spend up to 90 days within a 180-day period in the other Schengen States for the purpose of tourism. After 18 Months of work in Germany foreigners can apply for the Blue Card of another EU State.

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Recommended products and services in Germany:

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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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