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In this question I asked about new conditions or changes for the blue card:

Are there new conditions for Getting the EU Blue Card in Germany?

Now I want to know, if I don't have the blue card, and I am working with IT in Germany, with a regular/alternative permit.

What are the steps I need to take to get the Permanent Residence Permit?

  • What do you mean specifically by “permanent residence permit"? – Gala Oct 15 '16 at 11:10
  • @Gala - I mean the right to live in Germany without the need to have a Job or study, if for instance, I want to stay 6 months not working, just studying on my own. – HelloWorldGuy Oct 15 '16 at 11:27
  • OK, I think the Niederlassungserlaubnis I mentioned in my answer is indeed what you want. – Gala Oct 15 '16 at 11:28
  • @Gala - And for changes Job under the normal work permit, do you know how it works(I work as Software Engineer)? Thanks! – HelloWorldGuy Oct 15 '16 at 12:17
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    I don't know the details or what you can expect in practice. My understanding is that your permit can come with some restrictions but it's not always the case. – Gala Oct 15 '16 at 12:26
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After 5 years, you will become a “long-term resident” under EU law but it does not make all that much of a difference.

After 5 years, you can also apply for a Niederlassungserlaubnis but there are a number of conditions to meet, most importantly:

  • Having contributed to the social security system for 60 months
  • Knowing (some) German
  • Having a job, sufficient means of existence and room to live in
  • Good morality (and in particular no criminal conviction)

The requirements for Blue card holders are somewhat lighter (e.g. 21 or 33 months instead of 60, depending on your knowledge of German). “Simple” knowledge of German is required in any case.

It is permanent in the sense that once you have it, you have a stronger protection against any removal and don't need to regularly renew it and prove you still meet the conditions (you do need to get a new document with a new photo once in a while, including when you get a new passport but that's a formality). You are also free to take any job or stop working without threatening your right to stay in the country. You can however lose it if you leave Germany for more than 6 months.

  • By "you 'can' lose it after you leave Germany for more than 6 months", do you mean the regulations explicitly stipulate that this person must not leave Germany for 6 months consecutively, or is this a mere "possibility"? I never knew this part of the regulation and it seems pretty strict, similar to US requirements. What about Blue Card then. Do you also lose the Blue Card after being out of work/leaving for a certain amount of time? – xji Oct 18 '16 at 13:56
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    @JiXiang Actually, it's more than that, the Niederlassungserlaubnis automatically expires (erlischt) if you leave for more than six months. There is however a procedure to ask for permission to leave beforehand to avoid that. – Gala Oct 18 '16 at 18:30
  • @JIXiang Regarding the Blue Card, it might be worth asking another question about that. The relevant EU directive provides that countries can refuse to renew it if you have been unemployed for more than three months but countries can be more generous. For example, in France, if you are unemployed when the times come to renew it, you get a new permit giving you one more year to look for work in France. And you can always stay in the country as long as you get unemployment benefits (which can be up to 2 years). Not sure about Germany. – Gala Oct 18 '16 at 18:35
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    @JiXiang I just looked up the relevant part of the law and there are a number of other exceptions: For example if you lived for 15 years in Germany or you are in a relationship (not necessarily married) with someone who is either a permanent resident themselves or a German citizen, you can leave for six months without losing the benefit of your Niederlassungserlaubnis. – Gala Oct 18 '16 at 18:43
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    There are many various options to avoid expiration of the permanent residence permit. See berlin.de/labo/willkommen-in-berlin/aufenthalt/… for details. – Andrey Sapegin Jul 27 '17 at 11:43

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