Certificate of permanent residence (Germany)

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Certificate of permanent residence (front)
Certificate of permanent residence (back)

A certificate of permanent residence (in the official form and in the old version of the law still referred to as a certificate of permanent residence ) is an official confirmation in Germany for citizens of the European Union and the rest of the European Economic Area (therefore also for citizens of Iceland , Liechtenstein and Norway ) on the existence of a right of permanent residence in Germany. The certificate is not issued to Swiss citizens. For them, it remains with the CH residence permit .

Legal basis, exhibition requirements

The legal basis for the certification of the right of permanent residence for Union citizens is Section 5 (5) i. V. with § 4 a FreizügG / EU, for citizens of the other EEA states additionally i. V. with § 12 FreizügG / EU. In terms of European law, the regulations are based on the Union Citizens' Directive .

This group of people no longer needs a residence document to stay in Germany since the abolition of the certificate of freedom of movement , but must have been an employee or self-employed person for the first five years and thus have made use of the free movement of workers under European law, freedom of establishment or freedom to provide services . He does not have to have earned income the entire time. Short-term unemployment when you are generally looking for a new job (report to the job center as looking for work) is harmless. However, the employee status as such must not be fundamentally questioned. The same applies to the self-employed. Securing a livelihood in another way (e.g. through a retirement pension or assets) is also sufficient if there is sufficient health insurance coverage at the same time.

Five years after the establishment of permanent residence in Germany as described above, a statutory right of permanent residence has arisen.

With the emergence of the right of permanent residence, there is no longer any obligation to have gainful employment or to secure a livelihood in some other way in order to be able to continue to reside in Germany. The right of permanent residence is granted after the fifth year of residence without fulfilling these requirements (Section 4 a (1) FreizügG / EU). EEA citizens who have permanently lost income also have the right of permanent residence. The right of permanent residence is acquired earlier in certain cases (Section 4 a (2) FreizügG / EU)

Family members

  • Family members of EEA citizens acquire the right of permanent residence and receive the same certificate if they are EEA citizens themselves.
  • Family members with a third-country nationality are entitled to permanent residence if they have been legally resident in Germany with the EEA citizen for five years (Section 4 a (1) sentence 2 FreizügG / EU). You will then receive a permanent residence card .
  • Family members of a German citizen who has never made use of his freedom of movement under European law (has therefore always lived in Germany) will not receive a certificate of permanent residence or a permanent residence card , because their right of residence is determined solely by the Residence Act . For them, a right of permanent residence in the form of a settlement permit or in the form of an EC long-term residence permit comes into consideration. Generally only the spouse or partner of the German is affected by this, because the children of the German parent (at least also) acquired German citizenship.

Legal character

The certificate of the right of permanent residence is - just like the earlier certificate of freedom of movement - not a residence title under the Residence Act and as such does not establish a right of permanent residence, but merely confirms this. The right of permanent residence arises when the legal eligibility requirements are met. The issuing of the certificate therefore only has a declaratory effect and is not an administrative act. The right of permanent residence must be certified immediately upon application (Section 5 (5) FreizügG / EU).

Loss of permanent residence

The right of permanent residence can be lost if the authority has determined the loss through an administrative act. A loss assessment may only be made for serious reasons after acquiring the right of permanent residence ( Section 6 (4) FreizügG / EU). A loss assessment may only be made for EEA citizens who have lived in Germany for the last ten years and for minors for compelling reasons of public safety. This does not apply to minors if the loss of the right of residence is necessary for the best interests of the child. There can only be compelling reasons of public security if the person concerned has been legally sentenced to a custodial or youth sentence of at least five years for one or more deliberate criminal offenses or if preventive detention was ordered at the last legally binding conviction if the security of the Federal Republic of Germany is affected or if the person concerned poses a terrorist threat (Section 6 (5) FreizügG / EU).

Electronic residence permit

EEA nationals are not affected by the electronic residence permit introduced in Germany on September 1, 2011 . The certificate of permanent residence will continue to be issued in paper form.


For the issuance of a certificate of permanent residence , 8 euros, from 1 September 2017 10 euros, will be charged ( Section 47 subs. 3 sentence 4 AufenthV).

Other permanent residence rights

The certificate of the right of permanent residence must not be confused with other documents of the right of residence:

  • The permanent residence card - a permanent right of residence for family members of an EEA citizen with the citizenship of a third country. It is not a residence permit under the Residence Act. The legal basis is Section 5 (5) sentence 2 FreizügG / EU.
  • Settlement permit - a national right of permanent residence for third-country nationals any kind with respect to the free movement of European law. It is a formal residence permit in accordance with Section 4, Subsection 1, Sentence 2, No. 3 of the Residence Act.


  • Bergmann / Dienelt / Röseler: Immigration law comment . 9th edition. CH Beck, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-57051-3 .
  • Hofmann / Hoffmann: Immigration law hand commentary . 1st edition. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2008, ISBN 978-3-8329-1171-3 .
  • Storr / Wenger / Eberle / Albrecht / Harms: Commentary on immigration law . 2nd Edition. Boorberg, Stuttgart-Munich-Hanover-Berlin-Weimar-Dresden 2008, ISBN 978-3-415-03978-0 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. See Dienelt in Renner, Ausländerrecht, § 5 FreizügG / EU marginal no. 30; Harms in Storr / Wenger / Eberle / Albrecht / Harms, § 5 FreizügG / EU marginal no. 14; different view: Hofmann in Hofmann / Hoffmann, Aliens Law, § 5 FreizügG / EU marginal no. 15th