After you have moved to Germany and worked there for a couple of years and settled down, you may have considered permanent residence. It is common to fall in love with a new place and decide to stay. Luckily, there are ways for you to stay in Germany permanently as a resident.
Unrestricted Work Permit
Work permits issued in Germany are typically only valid for a set number of years, after which you either renew the work permit or head back home. For those who decide they want to stay indefinitely, there is the Unrestricted Work Permit. In order to qualify for the Unrestricted Work Permit, you must have worked for at least two years in Germany on a valid work permit. You also must have been contributing to Germany’s social programs and taxes, as is required of German citizens. If you do qualify, you should take the appropriate documentation to the local Registry Office, known as the Einwohnemeldeamt, Auslanderamt, or Kreisverwaltungsreferat, depending on where you are in Germany. The paperwork you will need when you go to the Registry Office includes the following: proof that you have been working in Germany for the past two years on a verified visa, most likely in the form of a signed statement from your employer; your past two or three most recent pay statements; proof of health insurance; proof of residency; and it is wise to bring your passport and visa as well. Should you qualify, you would then be able to receive the Unrestricted Work Permit.
Unrestricted Residence Permit
The Unrestricted Residence Permit is a little bit different from the Unrestricted Work Permit. In order to qualify for the Unrestricted Residence Permit, you must have been a resident in Germany for at least five years – or three years if you are married to a German citizen. You must also be able to communicate well in German. The Unrestricted Residence Permit does not have the same restrictions as the regular residence permit you apply for upon arrival.
Gaining citizenship in another country can be a long and difficult process. In order to qualify for citizenship in Germany you must:
· Have been a resident in Germany for at least three to eight years.
· Have good German language skills
· Pass the integration course and exam
· Give up your previous citizenship – though there are several exceptions to this
· Not be dependent on welfare – though there are some exceptions to this
· Have no criminal record
Your best option would be to contact a lawyer to help you with the process.
All of the paperwork and legality of changing residence, obtaining permanent residence, and obtaining citizenship in another country can be difficult and confusing. Here are links to some government websites in Germany that may help you. The websites are offered in English.
Getting an Unrestricted Work Permit should not be too difficult a task. The Unrestricted Residence Permit takes longer, but should also not be too difficult. Citizenship, of course, will be a bit more difficult, but that is to be expected. Do not let the confusion and difficulty of all of the paperwork, legality, and dealing with government offices and officials stress you out. Things will run a lot more smoothly if you keep a cool head and remember that once it is over, you can take a deep breath and relax.