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I have a US passport stamped in 1999 with unbefristet Aufenthaltserlaubnis. The passport expired on Dec. 2008. I have a new renewed passport, but have not had the stamp moved to the new passport, and have since Dec 2008 carried both passports. This has been accepted at the border control at the airports in Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf, when I have traveled each year out of Germany. Is the Aufenthaltserlaubnis still valid? I am also gemeldet (registered) in Bonn, but this was before the residence card system began, so I have no residence card. What should I do to update my visa?

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  • Note that as US citizens have the right of visa-free entry and the right to apply for a residence permit while they are in the country. So the immigration officials would have been quite unconcerned about your visa status.
    – o.m.
    Feb 25 at 11:01
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    @o.m. Schengen border officers are required to determine whether an arriving US citizen is compliant with the 90/180 rule or is not subject to it. In other words, someone who has the right to apply for a residence permit will in some circumstances have an obligation to do so, and the passport inspector is part of the enforcement mechanism. So immigration officials are not likely to be unconcerned about visa status.
    – phoog
    Feb 26 at 8:46
  • @phoog, right in principle, but in addition to racial profiling there is national profiling as well. That should not happen, but it does.
    – o.m.
    Feb 26 at 19:14

2 Answers 2

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Go to the Immigration Office, with your passports, and apply for an "electronic residence title" (eAT).

You will need a biometric photo.


Sources:


Note: in some places, such as in Berlin, it was not always possible to get a eAT. Even in 2017 adhesive labeled permanent residence permits were still being issued.

  • Canadian Passport issued in 2013

Even when the 5 year passport expired in 2018, no eAT was issued for the new passport (which during the covid period was for the holder very inconvenient).

Allthough the eAT was introduced in 2011, in Berlin they refused to replace the adhesive labeled permanent residence permits until February 2020.

My residence permit is an adhesive label. Can I get an eAT?

  • Adhesive labels for permanent residence permits issued before September 1, 2011 remain valid. This also applies to the residence permits that were issued from September 1st, 2011 as an adhesive label with the legal reference “§ 78a AufenthG”.
  • There is no legal right to prematurely exchange an adhesive label for an eAT. If a new residence permit needs to be issued (for example because a new passport has been issued), this will usually be issued as an eAT.
  • You can only apply for an eAT early in exceptional cases if you can demonstrate a legitimate interest (e.g. professional reasons) in the new issue.
  • The mere possibility that additional functionalities are available or can be used with an eAT is not enough.

...
Transfer / Reissue

  • If a new passport is issued or the name has changed (for example through marriage), the residence permit must be transferred, i.e. reissued. The transfer has always been carried out as eAT since February 3rd, 2020.
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Just because it has been fine to date, does not mean it will remain that way! Unless you have been specifically asked about your status or reason for entering the country, you must not presume that you have been allowed to enter the country with the right of residency intact. Although it says "unbefristet" that does long mean lifelong or forever, it actually applies to the time the paper it is printed on i.e. your passport is valid. If you have a separate little paper Aufenthaltserlaubnis, it is still no longer up-to-date and needs converting to comply with current regulations, but will be treated more leniently by the officer dealing with your application. As the citizen of a non-EU country aka third country, you are required to keep your paperwork up to date. The expired passport stamp is no proof of your current status or entitlement. You need to go to your local Bürgerbüro / Ausländeramt (or whatever it is called in your town/community) and apply for the "new" electronic Residence Title. It could be you will need more documentation to prove your current circumstances and residency status, seeing there is such a long timelapse between your old passport expiry date inc. the technicality of Aufenthaltserlaubnis expiry and now. You need to sort it officially either way, because there could come a time when you will be denied entry, if you are suspected of being an illegal immigrant upon entry!

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  • A US passport is only valid 10 years, therefore you have had an two passports since the one with the Aufenthaltserlaubnis expired. That may complicate your application process.
    – Jay K.
    Mar 3 at 8:27
  • Allthough the eAT was introduced on the 01.09.2011, in Berlin they refused to replace the adhesive labeled permanent residence permits until February 2020. Elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel (eAT) - Berlin.de Adhesive labels for permanent residence permits issued before September 1, 2011 remain valid. This also applies to the residence permits that were issued from September 1st, 2011 as an adhesive label .... There is no legal right to prematurely exchange an adhesive label for an eAT. Mar 3 at 9:41

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