I am a masters student currently in my 2nd year in Germany. I have been accepted to a 5 year PhD program, also in Germany, that will be funded through a job position at the university.

My question: Does my whole 7 year stay in Germany during the 2 year masters degree along with the 5 year PhD count towards permanent residence or citizenship?

  • For the permanent residence it is the 5 years of working that counts (60 months of contributions to the pension system). For citizenship the whole time will be counted. Commented May 18, 2022 at 10:58
  • 2
    Special exemption applies: Working 2 years is enough if you obtained a Masters degree in Germany (for permanent residence).
    – quantum
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 14:02
  • 1
    §18c Abs. 1 AufenthG.
    – quantum
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 12:38

2 Answers 2


Yes those years do count towards citizenship. You will need to switch to a different status and do so before applying for citizenship though. That's a non-issue since you can get a different residence permit the minute you get a job offer from a non-university employer.


Practical advise for citizenship: apply already when you reach your 5th total year of residence in Germany. Use a B2 language certificate as special integration.

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