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German Permanent Residence aka Permanent Settlement Permit for EU Blue Card Holders

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17. Jan 2024 Update: It is now taking forever (not sure exactly how long) to receive a reply for this. I have friends who have been waiting for a reply for at least 6-12 months now. They have even tried sending a fax to LEA Berlin, but no response. Our hypothesis is that they are prioritizing cases that have earlier Blue Card expiry dates.

Summary:

  • If you are going the Blue Card route, how long you’ve had your Blue Card doesn’t seem to matter as long as you hold one + you fulfill the required months of employment.
  • I sent the requirements via email. After 1 month, I received an email with ‘probable issue of the permit’ + appointment schedule. During the appointment, got the approval on the spot. The ID will come via post in 6-8 weeks. 🥳
  • ‘Old age provision’ requirement takes a few weeks, especially if you’ve changed address since you signed up for the Deutsche Rentenversicherung. (3. July 2023 Update: At least three other people I know also did not receive anything upon first request. They just made the request a second time and received it within ~one week.)
  • Appointment was in German. Because I have the B1 certificate as proof of German command, this did not harm my application, even if I had to ask the person to speak more slowly and repeat herself several times.

Process:

As of my time of application (Nov 2022), the process is to (1) Send an email with all requirements to LEA Berlin, (2) Receive an email for the ‘probable issue’ of your settlement permit, (3) Go to the appointment.

Timeline

  • Nov 4, 2022 - Sent an email to LEA Berlin with all the requirement documents.
  • Dec 2, 2022 - After ~1 month, got an email for the ‘probable issue of the settlement permit’ with schedule for appointment
  • Jan 2, 2023 - My PR appointment. My application was approved on the spot, which is noted in a paper I was given. They say the card will be sent to me via post in 6-8 weeks. (Actually, it was originally scheduled for Dec 12, 2022, 10 days after I received the email. I just had to move it because I went on vacation in December.)
  • Jan 26, 2023 - Got the card 3.5 weeks after the appointment! 🎉

A few things to note from experience:

1/ The main requirement I aimed to fulfill is Blue Card + 21 months of employment + B1 certificate.

I’ve had my Blue Card for only 14 months (11. Aug 2021 to 4. Nov 2022), as of time of application. Before that, I had the 'specialist visa' (not sure exactly what it’s called). If you are going the Blue Card route, how long you’ve had your Blue Card doesn’t seem to matter as long as you hold one + you fulfill the required months of employment.

I waited to pass probation from my then-new employer. Passing probation is recommended for the ‘secured means of subsistence’ requirement.

By this time, I’ve already fulfilled an accumulated 33 months of employment. Here is the breakdown:

  • 22 months (Nov 2019 to end of Aug 2021) - Giant Swarm
  • 3 months (6. Sep 2021 to 16. Dec 2021) - Craft
  • 8 months and ongoing (From 15. Feb 2022++) - Forto, as of time of application on 4. Nov 2022

2/ I received unemployment benefits for 2 months (mid-Dec 2021 to mid-Feb 2022). This did not seem to harm my application.

Some people say that the months of employment should be ‘unbroken’. I haven’t seen this documented anywhere. By luck, my first employment was 22 months unbroken. I am not sure if this requirement is true… I don’t think it is. However, I was asked to bring the termination agreement from my first employer, so I’m not sure. If you have any worries about this, best to ask LEA Berlin. They were responsive to my submissions via the contact form: https://www.berlin.de/einwanderung/ueber-uns/kontakt/formular.873006.php

3/ I started compiling the requirements mid-August 2022, and finally completed requirements and sent my application only at the start of November 2022.

  • The ‘old-age provision’ requirement is what took a long time.
  • You get this by requesting for ‘Rentenauskunft’ or ‘Renteninformation’ (doesn't matter which) here: https://www.eservice-drv.de/SelfServiceWeb/ It arrives by post within 1-3 weeks. I forgot exactly how long mine took, but 1-3 weeks seems right.
  • The first time I made the request, I did not receive anything. I figured it is because they sent it to my original Hamburg address when I first signed up for this.
  • 3. July 2023 Update: At least three other people I know also did not receive anything upon first request. They just made the request a second time and received it within ~one week.
  • I had to change my address with them. This was not as straightforward as I expected. At first I tried via the ‘online service’ but encountered difficulties. In the end, I did the change of address by filling out the ‘form V0150’ and submitting it via the contact form https://www.eservice-drv.de/eantrag/hinweis-ohne-karte-direkt.seam?formular=s8003 This worked. I sent the form on a Thursday and received an email on Monday saying the change of address is successful, so it took 2 working days.

4/ Some articles say you need “basic knowledge of the legal and social order in Germany. This can be proved by way of passing the ‘Life in Germany’ test.” I did no such thing. This is not a requirement in Berlin.

5/ The appointment was in German. There were no special questions to test my language skills.

It was just administrative stuff like, ‘put your documents in front of the window’, 'the pen for the iPad is here’, etc. But I had to ask the person to speak more slowly and repeat herself several times 🙈 She asked me I have a B1, oder? I said yes but my German is not yet that good. 🙈🙈 Fortunately this did not harm my application.

6/ July 2023 Update: If after 1-3 months of sending your application, you still do not receive a reply or an appointment, it might be worth sending a fax.

Some friends sent their applications 1-3 months ago and are still waiting for an appointment. Some people have reported that sending a fax got them a reply within a few hours. This is because the government is legally required to reply to it in a timely manner. Might be worth trying. There are mobile apps you can use to send a fax.

Q&A

Q: Did you need to bring all the papers with you again to the appointment? If yes, did you bring the same documents you submitted by email or did you need to renew them like for example the employment certificate or the pension information?

A: I brought only the documents requested in the email confirming the appointment Pension information was not one of them.

For me, the documents were:

  • Passport
  • [Updated/Renewed] Current employer's certificate of employment without notice (not older than than 14 days) as well as proof of net income as of 11/22
  • Proof of health insurance (membership certificate)
  • Letter of termination from my previous employer
  • Current proof of monthly rent costs (bank statement)
  • A recent biometric passport photo (35mm x 45mm, frontal view with neutral facial expression and closed mouth looking straight into the camera, bright background)
  • Fee 113,00 EUR