Path to permanent residence in Germany for skilled workers

Let us take you through the process of getting permanent residence in Germany as a skilled worker.

Shuvadarshan Bhual
Shuvadarshan Bhual

Are you a skilled worker, eagerly looking towards settling down in Germany, but are not very sure about how it could be done?

Well, you are at the right place then. Keep reading and by the end of this article, you will know exactly what should be done, to ensure a smooth settlement process.

Without further ado, let us look into the 5 Ws and 1 H of permanent residency for skilled workers, by starting with who a skilled worker is.

Who is a skilled worker?

A skilled worker is someone who has a legal right of residence in Germany in accordance with § 18a (with vocational training), § 18b (with academic training) or § 18d (researcher) of the German Residence Law.

Now that we know who a skilled worker is, let us look into what Permanent Residency actually is.

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What is Permanent Residency?

Permanent Residency allows an individual to reside in a country (in this case, Germany), for an unlimited period of time.

It allows the holder, almost every right of a German citizen, except the right to vote in the elections and that of consular protection.

Now that we have an idea about what it means to be a permanent resident, let us look into why one should consider applying for permanent residency.

Why apply for Permanent Residency?

I am sure you were eagerly waiting to get into this part. So, without further ado, let me outline the benefits of being a permanent resident of Germany for you.

Benefits of permanent residence

  • No need for further extensions: A PR is valid indefinitely and does not need to be extended periodically.
  • Freedom of movement across the EU/ EEA: A PR allows one to live, travel, study, etc. across the EU/ EEA without needing any additional permission/ permit.
    However, you should note that a continuous stay of longer than 6 months, outside Germany, results in the cancellation of the German Permanent Residency.
  • Freedom to switch jobs without permission from the foreign office: This is probably one of the most desirable benefits for expats who move to Germany. With a PR, you could switch jobs at your own will, without having to seek permissions from the immigration authorities.
    In addition, you could also set up your own business/ startup and/ or take up a career as a freelancer, without needing any permission from the immigration authorities.
  • Improved chances of getting loans: With permanent residency, it becomes easier for banks to trust that one would stay for a long period in the country and hence the chances of one, getting a loan from banks, improves drastically with it.
    This could be helpful if you wish to start your own business, buy real estate, etc. in Germany.
  • Eligible for BAföG: The permanent residency makes students eligible for receiving support from the state (BAföG), in the form of monthly payments, to cover the students' living and other expenses.

To add to the good news, the above list of benefits is not an exhaustive one, and hence there are many more benefits that holders of permanent residency receive in Germany, including the right to apply for the German citizenship after a certain period.

Now that we know why we should apply for permanent residency, let us have a look at the eligibility criteria for the same.

When to apply for Permanent Residency?

In order to apply for Permanent Residency as a skilled worker, you should have:

  • Held your residence permit at least for 4 years at the time of application
  • A job, related to your vocational training, academic training or as a researcher
  • Made contributions to the statutory pension insurance for at least 48 months, or are entitled to comparable benefits from another pension insurance institution
  • Sufficient knowledge of the German language (Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)
  • Secured means of subsistence for you and your family (including health insurance)
  • No criminal record (including fines)

Have you completed your academic or vocational training from Germany?

If yes, then you are eligible to apply for Permanent Residency after just 2 years of employment as a skilled worker and with only 24 months of contributions to the statutory pension insurance. The other conditions, mentioned above, still apply.

As we all know that nothing is absolutely complete in Germany without proper documentation. Let us look into the documents that you would need to gather, to be able to apply for your Permanent Residency.

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How to apply for Permanent Residency?

These are the documents that you would need to gather to apply for your Permanent Residency as a skilled worker:

  • Your passport (a valid one) along with your residence permit
  • A current biometric photo (35 mm x 45 mm)
  • Proof of income
  • A certificate of an academic or vocational qualification completed in Germany (if applicable)
  • Proof of living space (rental contract), stating the rent and size of the apartment
  • Proof of the contributions to the statutory German pension fund or of the entitlement to benefits
  • Proof of health insurance

Now that you have gathered the required documents and are ready to apply for your Permanent Residency, let us have a look at how you could proceed towards the final step of the process - applying for your Permanent Residency.

Where to apply for Permanent Residency?

To apply for your Permanent Residency, please make an appointment with your nearest Foreigners authority (Ausländerbehörde or Ausländeramt) via email and be present with the above documents on the day of your appointment at the location.

It would be nice to clarify from them, if any additional document(s) might be required.


Now that we have discussed the fundamental questions of Permanent Residency for skilled workers in Germany, I would like to wish you the very best for preparing yourself to become a permanent resident of this amazing country.

If you have already applied for your Permanent Residency or have already received it, I would love to hear if you have any tips/ suggestions for the future applicants, in the comments below.

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Shuvadarshan Bhual

Full Stack Developer in the making | Self-taught | Technical Blogger | Mathematics Student @FU_Berlin | Follow my journey at:

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