German Immigration law: Requirements to get a permanent settlement permit in Germany
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In order to enter and reside in Germany, foreigners must have a permission in the form of a residence permit.

Under the Immigration Act, there are two types of residence permits in Germany: the temporary residence permit (“Aufenthaltserlaubnis”) and the permanent settlement permit (“Niederlassungserlaubnis”).


This article seeks to examine the requirements a foreign national has to satisfy in order to get the permanent settlement permit (“Niederlassungserlaubnis”):

1.) Requirements according to s 9 (2) Residence Act (“Aufenthaltsgesetz”, “AufenthG”)
According to section 9 (2) Aufenthaltsgesetz usually a foreigner shall be granted the settlement permit, if

1. he or she has held a residence permit for five years,

2. his or her livelihood in Germany is secure,

3. he or she has paid compulsory or voluntary contributions into the statutory pension scheme for at least 60 months or furnishes evidence of an entitlement to comparable benefits from an insurance or pension scheme or from an insurance company; time off for the purposes of child care or nursing at home shall be duly taken into account,

4. he or she has not been sentenced to a term of youth custody or a prison term of at least six months or a fine of at least 180 daily rates due to an intentionally committed offence,

5. he or she is permitted to be in employment, insofar as he or she is in employment,

6. he or she is in possession of the other permits which are required for the purpose of the permanent pursuit of his or her economic activity,

7. he or she has an adequate knowledge of the German language,

8. he or she possesses a basic knowledge of the legal and social system and the way of life in the Federal territory and

9. he or she possesses sufficient living space for himself or herself and the members of his or her family forming part of his or her household.

2.) Requirements according to s 19 AufenthG
However, there is another way to get the permanent settlement permit, if the person applying is a highly qualified person pursuant to s 19 AufenthG.

According to s 19 (2) AufenthG highly qualified persons are scientists with special technical knowledge, teaching personnel in prominent positions or scientific personnel in prominent positions or specialists and executive personnel with special professional experience who receive a salary corresponding to at least twice the earnings ceiling of the statutory health insurance scheme.

To be classified as a highly qualified person by the immigration office, the decisive document will be the recommendation letter issued by the employer or by the university of the person applying:

If the person is for example employed by a university in Germany, the recommendation letter has to contain certain key topics in order to convince the immigration office to issue the residence title.

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