I found some information here on the Eur-Lex page but was not sure about it.

A friend has a permanent residence from Germany, if he moves with it to another EU country for a new job, can he convert his PR to the second country's PR, or he has to go through the whole process again?

  • What kind of permanent residence permit does your friend have? The answer very much depends on it. Sep 16, 2020 at 12:24

2 Answers 2


You may want to look at https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/legal-migration/long-term-residents as well; this is the page describing long term residency for the general public rather than for a law audience.

The German permanent resident is entitled to a residence permit in another EU country, but does not immediately become a permanent resident in that country. Instead, the permanent resident retains a right to return to Germany. After living in the second country for five years, the resident can apply for permanent residence in the second country. When that status is granted, the German permanent residence ceases.

If the person remains outside the state of permanent residence for six years, the right of permanent residence is lost, even if it has not been acquired elsewhere.

This is controlled by directive 2003/109/EC, especially chapter III. Chapter III also provides for certain conditions that can be imposed for the issuance of a residence permit.

A few EU countries have opted out of this directive, so this answer does not apply to those countries. As noted in paragraphs 25 and 26 of the preamble, the countries opting out of the directive are the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark.

  • Thank you for your answer. Just a following quick question, how long the person can work in a second country and can still come back to Germany having his right as you mentioned. Does he/she have to explicitly state to the local authorities before leaving? Also, is there a list of EU countries which have opted out somewhere? Thanks
    – Sukhi
    Oct 31, 2016 at 21:07
  • 1
    @SukhdeepSingh the person's German residence permit, indicating permanent residence, is evidence of having the status of a permanent resident in Germany. I don't know whether Germany has a requirement to de-register from the municipality when going abroad, but if they do, failing to do it should not of itself invalidate a person's permanent residence status. I have added the list of countries. If the person hasn't acquired permanent residence in another country, permanent residence is lost after six years of absence from the country; I've included that in the answer as well.
    – phoog
    Oct 31, 2016 at 21:20
  • @phoog Germany has multiple permanent residence permits. The directive cited by you is probably related to Daueraufenthalt-EU (§9a AufenthG) and not Niederlassungserlaubnis. From your answer it is quite unclear that you are talking about the first one, which requires 5 years of living in Germany, different from Niederlassungserlaubnis, which can be obtained much earlier. Sep 16, 2020 at 12:21
  • Link is dead... Apr 26, 2021 at 19:16
  • @TheGodfather fixed, thanks.
    – phoog
    Apr 26, 2021 at 20:04

The question is too general, since different coutnries may have different permanent residence permits (both regulated by EU or local laws), therefore my answer is first of all related to Germany (since the question mentions it as an example).

In such cases, I would (and actually I have already did it) get 2 permanent residence permits in Germany first:

  1. Niederalssungserlaubnis (§9 AufenthG or §18c AufenthG or maybe some other §)

  2. Daueraufenthalt-EU (§9a AufenthG)

Then, it might be possible to keep the first one for Germany (one may need to take into account the expiration policy) and exchange the second one for another country (here it very much depends on the laws of that other country).

This way might be still complicated, especially when Niederlassungserlaubnis Blaue Karte may be granted after 21 months working in Germany, but for Daueraufenthalt-EU one needs to live 5 years in Germany.

IMHO, if one has non-european permanent residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) and lived less that 5 years in Germany, such kind of permanent residence on its own gives almost no preference for obtaining permanent residence in another EU country. E.g., Germany itself only gives preference for holders of European permanent residence permit.

Other option would be just to get any European citizenship and then live in any EU country using the EU rights of free movement. The logic is that if one was able to get a permanent residence permit, he might be soon eligible for citizenship (again, this depends on the particular EU country). However, in case of Germany, very often (but not always) one will be needed to cancel all pre-existing citizenships in order to get a German one.

P.S. I'm not a lawyer.

  • The EU long-term resident status is not transferable either. You're quite right that there are typically two overlapping but distinct status in EU countries and that national status follow different rules in different countries but I am not sure that makes the question too broad as even the status based in EU law isn't easily transferable.
    – Relaxed
    Sep 16, 2020 at 20:17
  • 1
    It depends on the meaning of "transferable". Basically if one has a EU long-term residence in one of EU countries, in most of other EU countries he might exchange it to some kind of residence permit, depending on the local laws. Sep 16, 2020 at 21:39
  • 1
    @AndreySapagin Not exactly, you just get a slightly easier path to a residence permit (e.g. the right to apply from within the country). You still need to independently qualify for that residence permit (the conditions in articles 14, 15 and 16). That permet can be denied and/or you may be asked to leave at any time if you stop to fulfill the obligations before becoming a long-term resident again. That's part of the directive so while it does technically depend on local laws, it ought to be true in all EU countries (minus opt-outs for Ireland and Denmark).
    – Relaxed
    Sep 17, 2020 at 9:03
  • On the other hand, speaking to the OP's question, you do need to go through the whole process again to reach a similar status (long-term resident EU) in the second country.
    – Relaxed
    Sep 17, 2020 at 9:04

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