I received my permanent resident permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) last month, and since I have many friends and colleagues who are going to apply for the permanent resident permit (or the settlement permit) in Germany, I thought it would be helpful to write down the application process. I should mention that I had a Blue Card before, so the application process that I will explain here is mostly relevant to the people who have a Blue Card.
If you have a Blue Card, you can apply for the permanent resident permit in Germany after 21 months with B1 level German or after 33 months with A1 level German. I applied after 33 months. There are a few important things here: first, during those 33 months period, you should have paid for your health insurance and pension. Otherwise, you can’t apply. You also have to finish your probation period at the company that you work. Let’s say you worked at the same company for 33 months, and then you decided to switch your company. At that point, you can’t apply for the settlement permit until you finish your probation period, and that’s probably around 6 months. Once you finish your probation period, you can apply for it.
Nowadays, the immigration office in the big cities are super busy. If you want to get your settlement permit as soon as possible, I suggest you to try to make an appointment 6 months prior completing your 33 months in the country. When I made an appointment in January, they gave me a date in June.
As far as I know, there is no online appointment service in both Hamburg and Berlin. You need to send an email or call to make an appointment but fortunately, for highly skilled professionals in both cities, there is a different immigration office. That makes the process faster comparing to the normal immigration offices.
I don’t know the exact process after you make an appointment in Berlin, but in Hamburg, they send you a confirmation email that includes all the necessary information. They also ask you to upload all of your papers into their system one month before your appointment, so they can check your papers and inform you if there is something missing or wrong.
This is the most important part. It is time to collect your papers for your application. In my case, I was able to collect all the papers online. You can get the full list of the required paper from here for Hamburg and from here for Berlin.
I’m insured with Techniker Krankenkasse. I guess they are the most popular insurance company between the expats in Germany. You can simply visit their website and login with your account details. Afterwards, you visit
Bescheinigungen (Certificates) page and then click
Allgemeine Versicherungsbescheinigung herunterladen (Download general insurance certificate) to download your insurance certificate as PDF. The certificate will include the start date of your insurance. Make sure that 33 months (or 21 months) passed from that date. (My certificate was in English.)
If you ask your doctor to write you a prescription via email, sometimes they might reply that they can’t do that without seeing your insurance card. At that point, you can simply attach your certificate to your mail to prove that you are still insured.
This one is a little tricky. Normally, you visit Deutsche Rentenversicherung’s website and request your pension payments history. Afterwards, they send you a letter. But, this is not the only way to get your pension history.
There is an official app called AusweisApp2. With this app, you can access to many services from the state by using your ID card (in your case, with your Blue Card).
After downloading the app, you can simply visit this website on your smartphone. If you are using this service, you will need to register (Erstmaliges Registrieren). After your registration is done, you can log in (Anmelden für registrierte Nutzer) on the same page. When you click the login button, the page will open AusweisApp2 app. The app will ask you to bring your Blue Card to the back top of your mobile device. Inside your card, there is an NFC chip and by putting your card in the back top of your mobile device, you read the data inside the chip. After scanning your card, the app will ask you a PIN number. This is the PIN number that you received when you applied for your Blue Card.
After the authentication process, you can download your pension payment history. For my case, it was just a single page PDF file. There weren’t many things on the page. On top of the page, there were a few lines of text and a small section that shows how much I paid between some specific dates.
This is a paper that you will need to get from your employer. On the paper that I received from my employer, there was my hiring date, job title, my employment type (full-time), how many hours per week I work and my yearly salary. The paper was in English.
Proof of income
If you are applying after 33 months, that means you already received two income tax certificates (Lohnsteuerbescheinigung) from your employer. That’s the paper that shows how much you earned in a specific year and how much taxes you paid. To cover the first 24 months, you will need those two papers. For the remaining nine months, you will need your payslips that you received from your employer. So in the end, you will probably have eleven papers to prove your income in the last 33 months.
German language skills
This one is a controversial topic. According to the law, you have to have sufficient German language skills to apply for the settlement permit. I already had a certificate to prove my A1 level German, but it wasn’t from a recognized institute like telc or Goethe. It was from a language school in Turkey. I didn’t have an issue during my application process, but when I was there, I had to speak in German. When they say that you need to have sufficient German skills, it means you have to have sufficient German to have a conversation with the person at the immigration office. If you’re able to have a brief conversation with the person there, you may not even need the certificate. I know a few people who got their permanent resident permit without a certificate, but they’re able to have a short conversation. At the end, it depends on the person that you are going to talk at the immigration office.
If you want to be safe, I recommend you to get a certificate to prove your German level, since it is super hard to take an appointment. I believe that you will need a certificate from a recognized institute if you are applying after 21 months.
In Hamburg, when you are applying for the settlement permit, you need to fill in a form. You can download the form on the website of Welcome Center.
In Berlin, seems like you don’t need to fill in a form.
This is the contract between you and your landlord. Information like the size of your flat and how much you pay each month are needed.
Proof of main address
This wasn’t required in Hamburg, but seems like in Berlin, you need to bring your certificate of registration at the main residence (Meldebestätigung). This is the paper that you received when you registered your address.
As you can guess, you will need your passport, your Blue Card along with the Zusatzblatt (your working permit, the green paper) and 1 biometric photo. You will also need to pay 113€ for your application. (If you are a Turkish citizen, you pay 37€). It is better to bring the money in cash to be safe. In the most of the government offices, they don’t accept credit cards.
I should also mention that after the application, I got all my papers back.
Please check the website of your state before your application, the things that I mentioned here might be changed.
Good luck with your application!