How to get Permanent Residency in Germany

How to get Permanent Residency in Germany

Endlich, after many years and exams I have finally received my Permanent Residency in Germany. So now I can (with confidence) break down the details for any of you who are also eager to secure your German home for the long run.

­čĺí What is a Permanent Residence permit?

A German Permanent Residence Permit, also referred to as a Settlement Permit, once received, allows its owner to stay in Germany indefinitely* and gain access to the labor market.

*with some conditions to keep in mind

  • If you leave Germany for more than a period of longer than six consecutive months, it will expire.
  • It’s not the same as having German citizenship, but it holds more security than having an Aufenthaltserlaubnis.

­čĄö What are the Requirements for a permanent residence permit?

Non-EU and non-EEA citizens (as well as UK citizens) living in Germany are able to apply for permanent residency after a period of at least five years in the country (although there are the occasional circumstances that allows earlier qualifications, which I describe briefly below).

Fast-track permit cases

  • Sometimes it is possible to receive your Permanent Residence Permit in just two years. Usually this would apply to those who graduated from a German university and then lived and worked in Germany for two years after.
  • Individuals married to German citizens can also apply for a Permanent Residence Permit after three years.
  • Finally, another opportunity to receive a Permanent Residence Permit in under the normal five years is open to those who are highly qualified in a specific technical/research area.

Normal permit cases

The above exceptions are never 100% certain, unfortunately, so most often one will qualify after five years, as long as they are able to meet the following requirements:

  • You have held a Aufenthaltserlaubnis for a minimum of 5 years.
  • You are able to support yourself without benefit payments (your working contract and typically the last three months salary slips will be requested)
  • Proof of current and paid health insurance (and documentation showing at least 60 months of social security contributions)
  • You hold the proper permissions to gain employment in Germany
  • You have a completed B1 language exam and Einb├╝rgerungstest (Kenntnisse ├╝ber die Rechts- und Gesellschaftsordnung sowie die Lebensverh├Ąltnisse in Deutschland), which is an exam testing you on basic knowledge of common law and life in Germany.
  • You have sufficient living space for yourself and your family (a copy of your rental contract is requested)
  • You do not have a criminal record

I personally am an individual employed by a company, but in case you are self-employed, there’s a special case for you too. If you’re looking to dig up some tips on this, here are the details I’ve been able to confirm for you:

As a self-employed person, you can apply for permanent residency after three years.

In order to qualify, you must be able to provide a valid residence permit for self-employment, have already successfully set up your business and prove that you have the financial stability to support yourself indefinitely.

It is important to keep in mind that the German tax system does distinguish between Freelancers and Self-Employed persons (commercial activity). So if you are only freelancing, unfortunately you will not qualify for the reduced application period.

­čôŁ The Application Process

It is important to know that this process is never exactly the same for every person, and once in a while individual circumstances can change things up a bit (speaking from personal experience…), but generally speaking, this is how it should go.

So once you have confirmed you meet all the previously mentioned bullet points, it’s time to go grab your application form, the Antrag auf Erteilung der Niederlassungserlaubnis, from the local immigration office and make an appointment.

Then make sure you have all the following required documents on hand before your appointment:

  • Completed application form
  • Proof of current and paid health Insurance
  • Valid Passport
  • B1 level German certificate and Integrations course / Einb├╝rgerungstest certifcate
  • 1 x biometric photo
  • Certificate of German degree (if applying for a fast-tracked Permanent Residence Permit as a graduate of a German university)
  • Marriage Certificate (if applying for a fast-tracked Permanent Residence Permit due to marriage)
  • Proof of being financially secure (bank statements for employed individuals and tax returns for self-employed)
  • Employment contract
  • Proof of accommodation and registration
  • Professional license (if applying for fast-tracked Permanent Residence Permit as a result of being highly skilled in a field)
  • Money for your permit fee (The standard fee for a Permanent Residence Permit is about ÔéČ135, for self-employed people, it is ÔéČ200…prices do very, keep this in mind!)

Depending on the grounds of your application, next to having your documents will be checked, you may be interviewed about your application and intention for long term residency. (This was a bit intimidating in my interview but in the end, it worked out great.)

One of the reasons why I adore Germany so much is down to the basic fact that, if you have all the correct paperwork, you are 9 times out of 10 guaranteed to receive what you want. And this fact has always played out for the best in my experience.

And finally, the big question to sum up all the excitement: how long does it take to get a residence permit in Germany?

To which this answer is, of course… it ALWAYS varies. ­čśŤ

In my experience, this particular Amt does like to take its precious time getting my documents and permits to me, so it’s tough to say precisely how long yours will take.

They do say that on average, from the time of your interview appointment it will be around 2-3 weeks for your Permanent Residence Permit to be processed and provided (but I’ve got my fingers crossed it will be nice and schnell).

So there you go. That was my 411 on the German permanent residency process. In all honesty, my situation was not one of the standard ones outlined and was a bit more fast-tracked (but still a bit tedious, as bureaucracy always is).

However, I hope those details were helpful to you all…and best wishes my little long-term Deutsch fishes!


Essential Apps to Have in Munich

Essential Apps to Have in Munich

Trying to navigate your life in Munich? There’s an app for that!


I am honestly so glad to be one of the later generations becoming an expat. In my first year, these modern conveniences saved my life. From finding my way in German to finding my way in the metro. Most answers were easy and downloadable. Therefore, I hope my list will also bring you some ease in your M├╝nchen transition as well.


Two very helpful Munich life apps are, naturally, the Munich city app and Abfallwirtschaftsbetrieb.

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This is the official Munich website just turned into a mobile app that offers information on events, shopping, hospitals, pharmacies, recommendations, i.e. practically everything.

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AWM M├╝nchen

I’m sure you know how important recycling is to the people here. For those coming from places where the separating of recyclables isn’t so distinct, this app offers information on when the trash will picked up and where to bring (and separate) your recyclables.



Corona Warn-App

The Corona Warn-App helps to alert you if you have come into contact with an infected person and whether there is a risk of infection. Not my favorite recommendation, but I feel it helpful to share in these current circumstances.


Another local Munich startup, this is currently one of my favorite apps. It’s got a great user friendly design and the response time is amazing. I’ve used it for contacting doctors, getting perscrptions and sick notes. Previously health related services were limited to Private insurance patients, but teleclinic accents Public insured persons as well. The only limiting factor is that it is for the moment only available in German.

Learning German / translations


Deepl translator

Learning German honestly takes ages. However, I have found this app to be the new love of my German life. This bad boy is great for finding all your vocabulary needs with much more accuracy than other apps like google translate. It also has a feature that allows you to choose if the format should be formal or informal, which I find to be super helpful.

Travel and Transport

The next essential list is transport. Since most of us in Munich dont have cars, our transport lives revolve around the metro system. Luckily there are some handy dandy apps for checking schedules, purchasing tickets, and even renting a bike or car when in need!

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You can easily find connections, time tables and purchase tickets directly through the app. One nice feature is that it will show you routes which have delays ( such as a line being down) and offer you alternative routes, or routes that would save time.


Dott e-scooter

I am a very big fan of e-scooters, and even a bigger fan of this local scooter company. I find they have really reasonable pricing in comparisons to other scooter brands. I find it a great alternative for getting around the city as opposed to a crowded U-bahn.




One of the best banking apps in Germany I’ve experienced. It is incredibly helpful, can be fully in English (full English support) and super simple to set up.

Food Delivery

Of the essential apps, food is probably my most essential. Over the past year there is of course been a huge boom in liefern services. There are so many options for food delivery, you can have anything from nearly every restaurant delivered with a push of a button. So, my dear friends, here are the most popular apps for your eating needs:


To Good to Go

Not your standard delivery app, but a great app for food. This local startup has found a way to combine great savings with an eco friendly twist. Their goal is to help limit food waste by offering business with a surplus of food a way to avoid throwing away excess by offering it at highly discounted prices.



Lieferando is essentially the main delivery app in Germany. The past years it succeeded in buying out all the competition (RIP deliveroo, you will be missed), and setting it’s positioning as the head honcho. If you are looking for the standard pizza, pasta, burger takeout, Lieferando’s got you covered.

Have any other apps you cannot live without here in Munich? Let me know!

Wish you were bier

Wish you were bier

As the early summer sun shines on Munich, the locals flock out to enjoy it after a long hard winter-before the typical long hard summer.Engaging in the favourite bavarian past time of sitting around with friends drinking copious amounts of beer.And what better place to do so then in one of Munich’s many and a plenty biergartens.

So be prepared to pack up and go get your prost on, here are eight of the great.

Seehaus Im Englischer Garten

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As it is one of the most well known and beloved destinations, we’ll begin our biergarten tour with the Seehaus. Literally named lake house, this charming pavillion sits cozily aside the Kleinhesseloher lake in the middle northern tip of the Englischer Garten. Open for breakfast through dinner, this resteraunt/ garten is prepared to offer you options for all your dinning and day drinking needs.

Adress| Kleinhesselohe 3, 80802 M├╝nchen

Chinesischer Turm

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Direct in the middle of Englisher Garten sits one of the biggest biergartens in Munich; Chinesischer Turm. Apply named for its large chinese tower, this biergarten has over 7000 seats and regularly delights its geusts with day long brass band performances from within the tower. Easily accessable by bike or foot, this touristy hub of a biergarten is good for those looking to get social and enjoy a long day filled with oompah music.

Adress | Englischer Garten 3, 80538 M├╝nchen


Aumeister im Englischen Garten

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The final noteworthy Englischer garten beer spot is the Aumeister. This little biergarten is located up in the norther edge of the Englischer garten and often refered to as a bit more of a local spot than the others. A good place to hide away from the summer crowds and heat, the Aumeister terrace has an excellent selection of tradition Bavarian food and beers.

Adress |Sondermeierstra├če 1, 80939 M├╝nchen



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Down near Gro├čhesselohe, the Waldwirtschaft garten is looking to offer you a modern mix on the timeless tradition. As you relax on your spacious outdoor seating, under the bathing shade of chesnut trees you can enjoy your beer and obazda whilst being treated to some live jazz music ( particularly nice on weekends when the bands play all afternoon). In addition to the outdoor patio, WaWi offers four different indoor resteraunts.

Adress:| Georg-Kalb-Stra├če 3, 82049 M├╝nchen


Gutshof Menterschwaige

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Over on the edge of Munich, headed towards Gr├╝nwald youll find this nestled away biergarten. Just above the banks of the Isar river, Mentnerschwaige is the perfect place to spend your day. Previously voted most beautiful biergarten in Munich, it offers over 2.500 seats, so if your interested in a visit its best to get there earlier in the day. However, theres always the indoor option if you need to beat some of the crowd.

Adress | Menterschwaigstra├če 4, 81545 M├╝nchen

Augustiner Keller

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If your looking for an authentic biergarten experience, I’d recomend you head down to Auugstiner Keller. As one of the oldest biergartens in Munich, it is garenteed to give you an authentic Bavarian experience. Not only does it have a great outdoor area, but a large indoor beer hall as well.

Adress | Arnulfstra├če 52, 80335 M├╝nchen


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Right in the middle of Munich L├Âwenbr├Ąukeller offers a good summer escape. This traditional biergarten is the perfect place to get posted with a picnic and enjoy a nice pint or beer or a refreshing Radler ( beer mixed with lemon soda). However, if picnicing isnt your thing, they do offer a lot of delicious alternatives.Such as Flammkuchen ( a pizza esk treat) or a standard hendl ( roast chicken).

Adress | Nymphenburger Str. 2, 80335 M├╝nchen


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Looking to enjoy a beer and a deer? Hirschgarten has you covered. This greenery and scenery is the perfect mixture of relaxation and entertainment. This wildlife reserve also happens to be an excellent option for families. Bring your kids, let then run around while you enjoy a cold one. Pretty ideal oder?

Adress | Gy├člingstra├če 15, 80805 M├╝nchen