Residence permit

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Settlement Permit

Settlement permits are granted according to different conditions and legal bases. Whether you can obtain a settlement permit depends on which residence permit you currently have.

If you're currently residing in Germany for your studies or other training activities, you cannot apply for a settlement permit.


General requirements

  • You must have been in possession of a residence permit for at least five years (previous periods of study and training are taken into account to half).
  • You must be in a position to finance your living expenses independently and have sufficient health insurance cover on a continuous basis.
  • Proof of sufficient pension provision is required, including at least 60 months of compulsory contributions to statutory pension insurance or comparable benefits.
  • You must not have a criminal record.
  • If you are gainfully employed, you must have the necessary permits.
  • You should have sufficient knowledge of German at level B1.
  • Basic knowledge of the legal and social system in Germany is required.


Additional information for

Holders of an EU Blue Card

If you hold an EU Blue Card and have basic knowledge of German (A1), you can apply for the settlement permit after 27 months of qualified employment. If your language skills are more advanced (B1), you can apply for the settlement permit after 21 months of qualified employment. Compulsory contributions to the statutory pension insurance are reduced to these respective periods.


Other professionals

People who hold a residence permit as a skilled worker in accordance with §18a, §18b, §18d or §18g AufenthG can apply for a settlement permit after three years. If you have obtained your professional or university degree in Germany, please refer to the following section.


Persons with a German professional or university degree

If you have successfully completed vocational training or a university degree in Germany, you can apply for a settlement permit under the following conditions:

  • You have been gainfully employed as a skilled worker for at least two years (with a residence permit in accordance with Sections 18a, 18b or 18d AufenthG)
  • You have paid compulsory contributions to the statutory pension insurance scheme for at least 24 months.
  • You meet the other general requirements.


Self-employed persons

You can apply for a permanent settlement permit after three years. The prerequisite for this is that your company has successfully established itself on the market and you are able to support yourself and your family from your income.
If you work as a freelancer, you cannot benefit from this shorter period.


Family members of a skilled worker with a settlement permit

If you are married to a skilled worker who has already received a settlement permit in accordance with §18c AufenthG, you can also receive a settlement permit. To do so, you must continue to live with your spouse, have held a residence permit for three years and work at least 20 hours per week. In addition, the other general requirements apply with the exception of retirement provision.


Family members of a German national

If you have been living together with a German spouse, child or parent for three years and the family partnership with the German continues to exist in Germany, you can apply for a settlement permit. You must have sufficient knowledge of German (B1) for this. You do not need to provide proof of pension provision.


Submit application

Submit application

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Apply for a residence permit

Information and documents for applying for your residence permit in Hamburg can be found in the Forms and Checklists section.

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