Electronic residence permit

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Sample of the electronic residence permit (front and back)

The electronic residence permit (eAT), referred to by law as a document with an electronic storage and processing medium , is a plastic card made of polycarbonate (PC) in credit card format , with which a foreigner proves his or her right of residence in Germany and the rest of the European Union . The electronic residence permit has been issued since September 1, 2011, replaces the sticker affixed to the national passport and is similar in appearance and function to the German identity card .

Legal basis

The electronic residence permit was introduced in Germany through changes to the Residence Act and the Residence Ordinance. Both changes are based on European law requirements.

The technical specifications for the electronic residence permit were adopted by the European Union on May 20, 2009; they had to be implemented in national law by May 21, 2011.

Appearance and content

The electronic residence permit is in the form of a credit card and contains legible data such as name, date of birth, place of birth, type of residence permit ( residence permit , settlement permit , etc.) and its legal basis, nationality , gender, size and eye color, address in Germany, and the owner's signature , Serial number and period of validity of the associated passport or passport substitute paper as well as a photo ( Section 78 subs. 1 AufenthG), an automatic reading zone with most of the visible information (Section 78 subs. 2 AufenthG). The card contains a storage and processing medium in the form of an integrated circuit with a contactless interface, in which biometric features (two fingerprints and a facial image) are stored (Section 78 subs. 3 AufenthG).

Affected group of people

Personal scope

Optionally available electronic residence permit for Swiss citizens (front and back)

Everyone who is not a German i. S. d. Art. 116 GG is. Only EU citizens and nationals of the other EEA states ( Iceland , Liechtenstein and Norway ) are excluded ; This group of people was able to receive a certificate of freedom of movement in paper form by January 28, 2013 . These people no longer need a residence document at all. If the electronic proof of identity is to be used in Germany, EEA citizens - depending on national identity card law - can obtain an identity card with electronic proof of identity from the authorities of their respective country of origin. Conversely, Germans residing abroad receive a German identity card with electronic proof of identity from their respective German diplomatic mission abroad ( Section 1 (4) No. 2, Section 7 (2), Section 8 (2) PAuswG).

Family members of Union citizens who are entitled to free movement and who are third-country nationals always need an electronic residence permit, which is issued in the form of a residence card or permanent residence card .

Turkish nationals also need an electronic residence permit. This also applies if they already have restricted freedom of movement according to ARB 1/80 , because in this respect their right of residence in Germany is still certified in a residence permit , although this is only of declaratory significance.

Swiss citizens have the choice of having the CH residence permit issued in the form of an electronic residence title or - as before - in paper form ( Section 28 of the Residence Ordinance).

If an electronic residence permit has to be applied for, it is also required by children who could previously be entered in one of their parents' passports. From the age of six they must also submit biometric data (fingerprints) (Section 78 subs. 3 sentence 3 of the Residence Act). A handwritten signature must be provided from the age of ten (Section 78 subs. 1 sentence 5 of the Residence Act).

Material scope

The electronic residence permit is used to document the residence permit issued in Germany for permanent residence in accordance with Section 4, Subsection 1, Sentence 2 of the Residence Act, which are:

Residence documents that prove the right of free movement of EEA citizens, Swiss and their family members under European law are partly issued in Germany in the form of an electronic residence permit. These are

In the case of a short stay of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, no electronic residence permit will be issued. The person concerned either contains a visa according to Regulation (EU) 2018/1806 (EU Visa Regulation) as a sticker in his national passport or is exempt from the requirement of having a visa according to the EU Visa Regulation.

In the case of certain shorter or longer stays, the obligation to hold an electronic residence permit does not apply if the foreigner does not need a residence permit due to the purpose of his stay, e.g. B. with diplomats , cross-border commuters , pupils on pupil collection lists , civilian flight personnel, seafarers and persons working in inland navigation (for details see e.g. §§ 18 to 30 AufenthV).

People without a secure right of residence are also not given an electronic residence permit. These are people who are required to leave the country and whose deportation has been suspended and who are therefore in possession of a Duldung , and people whose application for a residence permit is currently being examined and who receive a fictional certificate in this phase (both regulated in Section 78a, Paragraph 5 of the Residence Act). Asylum seekers whose asylum application is being examined receive a residence permit ( Section 63 AsylG). All of these documents will continue to be issued exclusively in paper form, some as stickers.

Electronic proof of identity

The inclusion of biometric identification features should represent an important step in creating a more reliable connection between the holder and the residence permit in order to avoid improper use. Holders of electronic residence permits have the option of proving their identity in electronic communication - both in e-government and in e-business .

As early as the conception phase for the electronic identity card , it was determined that the electronic residence permit should be designed to be largely identical from a technical point of view and, in particular, that the functionality of electronic proof of identity should also be provided for holders of electronic residence permits (Section 78 (5) of the Residence Act). The use of electronic proof of identity is doubly secured through possession of the electronic residence permit and knowledge of a secret number. The use of proof of identity is voluntary. The function can be switched off at any time at the request of the cardholder and blocked if the card is lost.

The electronic proof of identity can only be activated or used if the identity is proven beyond doubt. If the information on person and identity is based solely on the foreigner's own information, it cannot normally be assumed that the person's identity has been proven beyond doubt. In these cases, the function of electronic proof of identity is switched off by the immigration authorities .

Ancillary provisions

Sample of the additional sheet (front and back)

The ancillary provisions on gainful employment, employment or other points are printed on an additional sheet and also stored in the storage and processing medium of the electronic residence permit.


With the introduction of the electronic residence permit, the work processes in the immigration authorities have fundamentally changed. With the application for the electronic residence permit, the required biometric features are removed. Before the electronic residence permit is issued, the person concerned receives a letter by post from the manufacturer ( Bundesdruckerei ) with the transport PIN , the personal unblocking key ( PUK ) and a blocking password. The transport PIN must be changed to a personal PIN before it is used for the first time. With the issue of the electronic residence permit, an additional sheet with the ancillary provisions for the residence permit is handed out. In the national passport of the foreigner - as was already common practice with EEA citizens - no entries about the right of residence are made (no stamps, no stickers). Invalid or invalid electronic residence permits, as well as identity cards that were issued after October 31, 2010 - so-called new identity cards (nPA) - must be confiscated by the authorities and must not be handed over to the owner without being canceled. The reason for this is that production tolerances cannot ensure that the supposedly invalidated identity document does not contain a functional chip.

Changes to the home address

Sample of a sticker to change the home address

If you live changing it should be possible in the future, both the entry on the map as the chip from the registration office to have to change the community along with the register legal acquisition ( § 78 para. 7 sentence 2 of the Residence). As with the identity cards for Germans, there are special stickers for this purpose. This would save those affected in these cases from going to the immigration authorities. The decision on the use of this option lies with the federal states. Baden-Württemberg and Saarland have made use of this.


The introduction of a plastic card with a storage medium has led to a significant increase in production costs compared to the previous residence permit as an adhesive label. The production costs that have to be paid to the document manufacturer amount to 30.80  euros , while the previous adhesive label only cost 78  cents .

The significantly higher production costs are passed on to the ID card holder: The fee for issuing a residence permit now amounts to 100 to 110 euros (previously: 50 to 60 euros, Section 45 AufenthV) and for a settlement permit to at least 135 euros (previously 85 euros, Section 44 of the Residence Ordinance). Since ID cards for EU citizens who are entitled to free movement and their family members may not cost more than ID cards for residents for reasons of European law, the fee for a residence card or permanent residence card is only 28.80 euros, for people under 24 years of age 22.80 euros ( Section 47 Para. 3 AufenthV). This corresponds to the fees charged for a German identity card ( Section 1 PAuswGebV).

The subsequent activation of the electronic proof of identity, the reassignment of a secret number and the unblocking of the proof of identity cost 6 euros. The initial activation of the electronic proof of identity when the document is handed over is free of charge. Furthermore, the deactivation and blocking of the electronic proof of identity as well as changes to the home address are free of charge. Changes to the ancillary provision regarding employment are also free of charge ( Section 45a AufenthV).

There are also a number of personal fee exemptions and fee reductions for persons entitled to asylum and recognized refugees, Swiss citizens, students and job seekers ( Section 52 and Section 53 of the Residence Ordinance). The previous exemption from costs for spouses and foreign children of Germans was given up for cost reasons with the introduction of the electronic residence permit.

Residence permit in paper form

In special cases, residence permits can be issued in the previous form (as an adhesive label and / or paper form) in ID-2 format ( Section 78a of the Residence Act). A special case can exist, for example, with foreign nationals who, due to their age or a physical disability, are no longer able to move about in public on their own. Likewise, if the electronic residence permit is lost, it may be necessary to issue a residence permit on a pre-printed form at short notice in order to avoid exceptional hardship. Such a constellation can exist, for example, if the reissue of the electronic residence permit would mean that a trip outside the Schengen area that is urgently necessary for humanitarian reasons cannot be started or cannot be started in good time.

The Berlin immigration authority continues to issue residence permits only in the form of an adhesive label. In support of this, it is pointed out that the production of an eAT is more complex and expensive than an adhesive label and that issuing a residence permit as an eAT always costs 50 euros more than issuing an adhesive label. An eAT is only issued for the EU Blue Card residence permit and in justified exceptional cases. This handling may be citizen-friendly, but contradicts the clear legal situation.

Transition periods

The residence permits and other identity documents previously stuck into the national passports will initially remain valid. When a new issue is required (for example when the residence permit is transferred to a new national passport), but no later than August 30, 2021, the previous documents must be replaced by the new ones with an electronic storage and processing medium. Irrespective of this, an electronic residence permit can be applied for if the person concerned demonstrates a legitimate interest in the reissue ( Section 105b of the Residence Act).


The introduction of the electronic residence permit is not without controversy. For example, it is criticized that taking fingerprints from children from the age of 6 is discriminatory and cannot be justified. It is also incomprehensible why those affected should bear the costs of a questionable innovation forced on them. Overall, the costs are too high; an electronic residence permit in Belgium only costs between 10 and 15 euros. The adhesive label previously used in Germany cost only 78 cents to manufacture and it could be glued into the corresponding passport in a short time. The production costs of the electronic residence permit, on the other hand, are just under 30 euros, the bureaucratic effort is high, a one-time interview is no longer sufficient, and all family members must always visit personally in the event of extensions.

With regard to Turkish nationals, the increase in costs is particularly problematic. As a result of the EU-Turkey association law, here specifically Art. 13 ARB 1/80 , there must be no deterioration in dealing with Turkish citizens compared to the previous law. The European Court of Justice have already explained in the context of the association legal discrimination multiple fees for residence permits of Turkish nationals as too high and to the right of association incompatible.

In March 2013 the Federal Administrative Court ruled that fees for residence documents for Turkish nationals were disproportionately high compared to fees for comparable documents received by Union citizens and that they violated the law of association. In the case at issue, one of the issues involved was a settlement permit for a Turkish citizen, for which 135 euros were required, while the issue of a residence card for foreign family members of a Union citizen costs just 28.80 euros. The decision of the Federal Administrative Court was taken into account with a new section 52a of the Residence Ordinance with effect from May 10, 2014 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. For example in Section 78 AufenthG.
  2. § 78 and § 78a in the version of the law to adapt German law to Regulation (EC) No. 380/2008 of the Council of April 18, 2008 amending Regulation (EC) No. 1030/2002 for the uniform design of the Residence permit for third country nationals v. April 12, 2011 (BGBl. I p. 610)
  3. Sixth ordinance amending the Residence Ordinance of July 22, 2011 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 1530).
  4. Regulation (EC) No. 380/2008 of the Council of April 18, 2008 amending Regulation (EC) No. 1030/2002 on the uniform design of residence permits for third-country nationals (OJ L 115 of April 29, 2008, p. 1 ).
  5. Circular of the Federal Ministry of the Interior of February 22, 2012, Az. IT 4 - 644 004/6 # 45, pp. 3-4
  6. According to the law on determining the authorities responsible under Section 78 (7) sentence 2 of the Residence Act of November 29, 2011 (Journal of Laws p. 534), local police authorities and administrative communities can take on this task if they notify the Ministry of the Interior. Responsibility passes when the notification is published in the Law Gazette. A list of the municipalities in Baden-Württemberg that have filed such a complaint can be found in the announcements of the Ministry of the Interior of May 18, 2012 (Journal of Laws p. 377), July 11, 2012 (Journal of Laws p. 531), November 6th 2012 (Journal of Laws p. 578), May 15, 2013 (Journal of Laws p. 121) and May 6, 2015 (Journal of Laws p. 384).
  7. According to Section 1 (3) of the Saarland Residence Ordinance of October 24, 2000 (OJ p. 1870), last amended by the ordinance of April 16, 2012 (OJ p. 112), all Saarland municipalities can use the address of the holder of the electronic residence permit to change.
  8. BR-Drs. 264/11 , justification of the Federal Government, p. 22, PDF doc. 1.93 MB.
  9. See the official justification for the new version of Section 52, Paragraph 1 of the Residence Ordinance by the Sixth Ordinance amending the Residence Ordinance, BR-Drs. 264/11, p. 28.
  10. Cf. Amtl. Justification for § 78 a AufenthG in Bundestag printed matter 17/3354 , p. 17, PDF doc. 415 kB.
  11. Homepage of the Berlin Immigration Office "Electronic Residence Permit (eAT)"
  12. In violation of European law - fee increase due to the electronic residence permit for Turkish citizens, In: Migazin , accessed on November 26, 2011.
  13. Fee increase due to the electronic residence permit for Turkish citizens. At: www.migrationsrecht.net, accessed on November 25, 2011
  14. Press release of the Federal Administrative Court No. 17/2013 of March 19, 2013, accessed on March 22, 2013.