The Residence Permit

All the Non-EU citizen staying in Germany for more than 3 months must obtain a residence permit. The local immigration office (Ausländeramt) handles all the matters related to the residence permit. Once you reach Germany, you need to register your residence at the local registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt). Then you will be eligible to apply for a residence permit.

A residence permit is ought to represent a specific purpose, just like your visa. You have to apply for the residence permit at your local Alien office (Ausländersbehörde). International students can get a residence permit as:

  1. An applicant for a university place (Studienvorbereitender Sprachkurs).

  2. Language course (Sprachkurs).

  3. Student.

In general, as one of the study applicant, you will be given provision for 3 month stay in Germany. However, once you are enrolled in a German university, you will be given an extended residence permit for 2 years or until the end of your studies. During this period of studies, you are eligible to take up any student job for 120 full days or 240 half days per year.

The extension of your residence permit after these 2 years will be decided on the basis of how you manage your studies e.g. whether you are seriously giving your exams or not and if you are obtaining certificates or not. This is the way the Alien offices assess your chances of completing the studies within an appropriate time. Once you complete your studies, the residence permit can be extended up to 18 months for the purpose of job search.


  1. The requirements for the residence permit tend to change frequently, so please check the latest information on the local immigration office website.

  2. Check for opening hours and try to arrive early to avoid the long queue.

  3. No excuse will make up for the missing document in Germany. So collect all the necessary documents before you go for registration.

  4. Once you reach the Ausländerbehörde, you will be redirected to the respective zone by the receptionist. Once you reach the zone, you may need to take the waiting ticket from the machine.

  5. When your turn arrives, your number be called and you need to go for the interview which usually takes around ten minutes if everything is in order.

  6. The official will review your documents carefully and if anything is missing you will be asked to come back with all documents another day.

  7. In general, it takes 1-2 weeks to process your application. During this period you will be covered by another certificate which states that you are waiting for the residence permit.

  8. The residence permit is only valid when displayed together with your Passport. If your passport expires while you are in Germany, once you receive your new passport you will have to go through the whole residence permit application process again! If your passport is due to expire in the near future, renew it in advance to avoid the hassle of applying twice for residence.

Required Documents

These are the documents that you need to take with yourself when applying for the residence permit:

  1. Confirmation of registration from the Resident Registration Office

  2. Confirmation of health insurance coverage

  3. Certificate of enrolment from your German university

  4. Proof of financial resources (if applicable)

  5. Passport and visa

  6. Health certificate (if necessary)

  7. Tenancy agreement (if applicable)

  8. Biometric passport photos

  9. Money for the residence permit fee

Failure to take the required documents will just force you to make another appointment with the authorities and come again with the complete set. Although, they might also ask you to submit more documents for your visa extension, if they are not completely satisfied from the documents provided in the list, but generally, that case is very rare in Germany. Students rarely face such bureaucratic problems here but it is always important to organise things beforehand and not to assume that you can sway the Germans with your words. If something is on the list and you don’t have it, they will not make any exceptions to give your case a special consideration.

Residence Permit Fees

Issuing the electronic residence permit takes several weeks. This is why the Immigration Office recommends applying for an extension four to six weeks before your current residence permit expires. The prices provided are in Euros:

  1. Up to 110 Euros for the first time issuance of residence permit.

  2. Up to 80 Euros for the extension of residence permit.

Done with Masters and now?

Once you are done with your Masters, you can still stay in Germany for the next 18 months to apply for a job that matches your qualifications. You can again visit your local Ausländersbehörde or Alien office for the extension of the residence permit, although, if you already have found a job before final exams, you can jump this step and directly apply for a EU Blue Card.

The EU Blue Card

The EU Blue card (Die Blaue Karte EU) is a special type of a residence permit which allows non EU citizen to stay for up to 4 years in Germany. Any non EU citizen who fulfils BOTH criteria mentioned below can apply for the EU Blue Card.

  1. He must possess German or an accredited foreign or a university degree that is comparable to a German one.

  2. He should have a working contract with a gross annual compensation of at least €50.800 (4.134 Euros per month), a contract in the so-called shortage occupation (scientists, mathematics, engineers, doctors and IT- skilled workers) with the amount of €39.624 (3302 Euros per month).

Foreigners who own the EU blue card can apply for permanent residence after 33 months. If they have German language knowledge at level B1 then they can apply earlier after 21 months.

Good things come to people who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them

- Anonymous