Everyone staying in Germany for more than three months must obtain a residence permit, except EU/EEA citizens. The Permanent Residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) is the stop before the citizenship application. It’s unlimited and not purpose-bound. What are the other benefits of a German settlement permit?
The main benefits of a German Permanent Residence permit include:
- No extension required
- Eligibility for any employment, including self-employment
- Freedom of movement in the EU/EEA
- Free access to education and vocational training
- Guaranteed social security and health insurance
- Guaranteed social benefits
- Housing benefit (Wohngeld) from the state
- Eligibility for loans and mortgages
- Financial assistance for students (BAföG)
- Parental Benefits
- Child Benefits
- Family reunification
- Children born in Germany become German citizens
- Eligibility for German citizenship
Holders of permanent residence permits in Germany enjoy many benefits. Before you apply for a settlement permit, you must ensure that you are eligible. In this article, we explain all these benefits in detail and guide you on how to apply for permanent residency in Germany.
Main benefits for Permanent Residents in Germany
1. No extension is required
After receiving PR, you will have the right to stay in Germany for an unlimited time; no extension is needed.
2. Entitlement for any employment
With a settlement permit in Germany, you can work for any employer, in any employment form, including self-employment. Your permit is neither bound with one company nor the purpose of your stay.
3. Freedom of movement in the EU/EEA
A permanent residence permit opens borders for 31 other EU and EEA countries. However, you might need to apply for a visa to travel outside Europe. This will depend on your citizenship.
Keep in mind 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 being outside the EU/EEA states for longer than 12 months.
4. Free access to education and vocational training
PR allows you to start vocational training (Ausbildung) without approval from The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit).
Without German PR, the Employment Agency will choose a candidate from Germany or an EU/EEA country as they are privileged above Non-EU/EEA citizens.
Read this guide on vocational training in Germany.
5. Guaranteed social security and health insurance
Holders of PR in Germany are entitled to social security and public healthcare in the same way as German citizens. Social security includes sickness, long-term care, pension, accident, and unemployment insurance. What else do you need for a carefree life in Germany?
6. Guaranteed social benefits
As mentioned above, PR holders are entitled to social security, so they will receive all social benefits accordingly to each insurance they contribute to, e.g., sickness, long-term care, pension, accident, and unemployment insurance.
If you lose your job, you will be eligible for unemployment benefits for at least one year.
More on German social security in this article.
7. Housing benefits
If you are no longer financially able to pay for rent, Permanent Residency in Germany gives you access to housing benefits provided by the state (Wohngeld). The amount you would receive depends on the number of people in your household, the price of your rent or mortgage, and your household’s total monthly income.
8. Eligibility for loans and mortgages
Holders of Permanent Residence permit in Germany can take a loan; moreover, banks will even grant you a mortgage if other requirements are met.
You can receive financing for a house, education, a vehicle, or anything else. Taking loans in Germany is very cost-effective; in 2018, the average mortgage rate was 1.85%.
9. Financial assistance for students (BAföG)
German students can receive support from the state, which is known as a BAföG. The Permanent Residence permit also gives you rights for the financing; monthly contribution ranges from 689 EUR to a maximum of 825 EUR. At the end of the studies, you will need to pay back half of the received money.
10. Parental benefits
With a German settlement permit, you can enjoy financial assistance during the pregnancy and after giving birth to the child. State support may be paid during the first 14 months of the child’s life, equivalent to 67% of the salary you received last 12 months.
11. Child benefits
Similarly to German parents, Permanent Resident permit holders are entitled to child benefits which partly compensate for the cost of raising children. This government allowance can vary from 204 EUR to 235 EUR per child per month.
12. Support for single parents (Unterhaltsvorschuss)
Unterhaltsvorschuss is a state benefit that helps single parents who receive no maintenance from the other parent. The amount of financial support you will receive depends on the child’s age:
|Up to 5 years||165 EUR per month|
|6-11 years (inclusive)||220 EUR per month|
|12-17 years (inclusive)||293 EUR per month|
13. Family reunification
Permanent Residence permit holders can invite their close family to relocate to Germany. The reunification is limited to the spouse (or registered partner) and children before their turn 16 years old.
14. Children born in Germany become German citizens
Your children automatically become German citizens if they were born after their parents have been residing in the country for eight years.
15. Eligibility to get German citizenship
And finally, one of the most significant advantages of a Permanent Residence permit is the opportunity to become a German citizen after five years. German passport is the second World’s most powerful passport after the United Arad Emirates.
When can you get a Permanent Residence permit?
To be eligible for a settlement permit in Germany, you must meet specific requirements and fall into one of these groups:
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 four years, 48 months, of which you have been working in the country. Additionally, advanced German is a must (level B1).
3. People who have completed studies or vocational training in Germany can receive 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 three years of working in the country.
Also read the article: How to get a PR in Germany after the Blue Card.
General requirements for German Permanent Residence permit
Citizens of non-EU/EAA states can apply for a Permanent Residence permit if the following conditions are met:
- They have lived in Germany for at least 2 or 3 years
- Their living is secured without public funds
- They have paid mandatory or voluntary contributions to the pension insurance for at least 24 months
- They are permitted to work in Germany
- They 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
- They have enough living space for themself and their family members
See the full article about the requirements for a German permanent residence permit.
Permanent Residence permit vs EU Blue Card
The Permanent Residence permit (Niederlasssungserlaubnis) and the EU Blue Card are two residence permits that allow non-EU/EEA citizens to stay in Germany for a more extended period of time. They are also two main pathways to German citizenship.
Typically, foreign workers move to German on EU Blue Card and receive a Permanent Residence permit two years later.
- PR is a permanent residence permit
Although the card expires, and so does your passport, the title (permit) doesn’t; you must exchange the old card without applying again. At the same time, EU Blue Card must be renewed every four years, which is time-consuming work for both, you and your employer.
- Job change
PR holders are free to change jobs without the need for permission from the state. EU Blue Card holders can change jobs only after approval from the immigration office in the first 2 years.
While holders of PR are entitled to take any employment, workers with EU Blue Cards can only accept jobs that suit their skills and qualifications. Moreover, the offered salary must be a minimum of 56,400 EUR per year (2022).
Read more about minimal salary for EU Blue Card/residence permits in Germany.
You don’t need to worry when losing a job in Germany; your PR won’t be annulled if you receive unemployment benefits. In contrast, with EU Blue Card, you have only three months to find a new employer before it expires.
- Freedom of movement
You are free to travel to EU/EEA countries; however, the PR automatically expires when leaving Germany for six months at once. EU Blue Card will allow you to spend up to 12 months in non-EU/EEA countries without losing validation.
- International working
Working abroad (EU/EEA) will be easier with the EU Blue Card; it makes you eligible to work anywhere in Europe, and you can switch jobs between countries with no legal issues. PR holders can work abroad, too, only it will require more paperwork.
- A permanent residence permit gives more security and convenience
EU Blue Card holders can spend up to 90 days within 180 days in another Schengen country as tourists. With German PR, you can travel for 6 months at one time within the EU.