residence permits in germany

Her face is so familiar... because it's on the posters at the visa office
Her face is so familiar… because it’s on the posters at the visa office

Most of the non-Germans I know in Hamburg are now graduated/ing and looking to stay and work in Germany. A few of them have been asking me about work/residence permits because somehow I am one step ahead of most of them. Here’s what I found out:

If you are a non-EU national and you graduated from a German university:

  • You are allowed to stay in Germany for 18 months after graduation. Note that you have to apply for a permit to do so. Since residence permits and work permits are now one and the same in Germany, you are allowed to pick up any kind of employment with this permit.
  • If you find a job that matches your qualifications, you can get a residence/work permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) that’s tied to this job. Once the job contract ends, your permit ends.
  • You can apply for a permanent residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) after 2 years’ of paid employment and contributions to the German state pension plan (Rentenversicherung) on the conditions that you have employment, accommodation, basic German language skills, basic knowledge of German political and social systems.
  • You can also apply for a permanent residence permit after 33 months of holding a EU Blue Card, which you obtain by having a job contract with annual gross salary of minimum €47.600 – or €37.128 in the fields of natural sciences, math, engineering, medicine or IT. The incubation period shortens to 21 months if your German is B1 level or higher. The card allows you to live (I think work as well) in other EU countries.
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