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Apply for a settlement permit for resettlement refugees


The foreigners concerned must be granted a residence permit or settlement permit in accordance with the acceptance agreement. The settlement permit may be subject to a residence restriction.


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Detailed description

The settlement permit can be granted if the requirements are met.




  • You are in possession of a valid residence permit as a resettlement refugee (Section 23 Paragraph 4 of the Residence Act).
  • You have held a residence permit for at least five years (periods of asylum proceedings are taken into account).
  • The reasons for your recognition as an asylum seeker or refugee still exist.

Please note: The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) will check three years after recognition to see whether the reasons for recognition may no longer apply. In the case of asylum decisions from 2015, 2016 or 2017, the BAMF must have explicitly informed you that the conditions for revocation or withdrawal are not met so that you can assume that your residence status will continue to exist.

If you wish to obtain a settlement permit after three years, the following requirements apply:

  • You have a good command of the German language (level C1),
  • You and your spouse or life partner can generally cover more than 75% of the living expenses for yourselves and your household family members without having to rely on public benefits.

If you wish to obtain a settlement permit after five years, the following requirements apply:

  • You have sufficient knowledge of German (level A2),
  • You and your spouse or partner can generally cover more than 50% of the living expenses for yourself and your family members without having to rely on public benefits. Please note: This requirement is waived if you have reached retirement age.
  • You have a permanent work permit. Please note: In a marriage or registered civil partnership, it is sufficient if the partner has the work permit.
  • If you work in a regulated profession, you must have the necessary professional authorisation (for example, a licence to practice or a professional permit). Please note: In a marriage or registered civil partnership, it is sufficient if the partner has the permit.
  • You have basic knowledge of the German legal and social system. Please note: Orientation courses offered by the BAMF provide this knowledge.
  • You have sufficient living space for yourself and your household family members.
  • You have adequate health insurance.
  • You have no previous convictions.
  • There is no interest in deporting you.

Documents required

  • Application via the online service Residence Permit Hamburg
  • Employment or extension contract
  • current certificate from the employer
  • last 12 pay slips
  • Certificate “Living in Germany”
  • Language certificate
  • current pension insurance history from the German Pension Insurance
  • Rental agreement and current rent

If you have a domestic school leaving certificate or successfully completed training/study, the language certificate and the “Living in Germany” certificate are no longer necessary.

A current, biometric passport photo is required for the appointment.


The application should be received by the immigration authorities at least 6 to 8 weeks before the current residence permit expires.

The settlement permit is issued for an unlimited period. Only the electronic residence permit (eAT card) is issued for a limited period and must be renewed after the expiry of its validity.


The settlement permit must be applied for before your current residence permit expires.
Find out whether your immigration office allows you to submit your application online or whether it has a special application form. If you can only submit your application in person, make an appointment at the immigration office. If you submit your application online, the immigration office will contact you after receiving your application to make an appointment.
During the appointment, your identity and documents will be checked (please bring your documents, if possible in the original, with you to the appointment). If your application is approved, your fingerprints will be taken to create a settlement permit in the form of a new electronic residence permit (eAT card).
The immigration authorities commission the Federal Printing Office to produce the eAT card. Once the process is complete, you will receive information and can collect the eAT card from the responsible office. The eAT card must always be collected in person. If your application is rejected, you will receive a rejection notice.

Processing time

The processing time usually takes 6 to 8 weeks and also depends on the completeness of the customer's documents. If documents are missing, the processing time will be extended.

It takes about 4 to 6 weeks for the Federal Printing Office to produce the electronic residence permit.



Legal remedies

An appeal against the negative decision can be lodged with the authority within one month of notification.

Legal basis

Section 23 (4) in conjunction with Section 26 (3) sentence 6 Residence Act (AufenthG)

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Keywords: Permanent residence permit Section 26 paragraph 3 Residence Act (AufenthG) Section 23 paragraph 4 Residence Act (AufenthG)

Last updated: 19.07.2024