Hamburg Welcome Center - Entry & Residence

Hamburg Welcome Portal Information about the stay abroad

You want to travel abroad, but you don't know how long you can leave the country without your residence permit expiring? Here you will find an overview.

Stay abroad

Visa - Hamburg Welcome Portal

Please note that entry into other EU countries may not be possible without further ado due to the Covid 19 pandemic. For more information, please contact the embassy or consulate responsible for you in the country you wish to enter.

When you leave Germany for a certain period of time, different deadlines must be observed, as the residence permit may expire automatically. If you are staying abroad permanently, this means that re-entry into Germany is no longer possible. You can no longer invoke your right of residence in Germany.

If possible, please contact your responsible immigration office before you leave the country if you are planning a stay longer than six months abroad.

A residence permit generally expires 6 months after leaving Germany.

A longer leaving period may be permitted on application. You have to apply within 6 months at your responsible immigration authority. A permission is possible, if the stay abroad serves the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany. This can be the case, for example, for a stay abroad:

  • as a development aid worker
  • as a family member of a German diplomat abroad
  • as students at a German university according to § 16 AufenthG for up to 2 guest semesters at a foreign university
  • for an internationally active company with headquarters in Germany.

The residence permit does not expire if the time has been exceeded due to completion of military service. In this case the return to Germany must take place no later than 3 months after discharge from military service.

But there are some exceptions. Certain residence titles expire earlier, later or not at all.

The expiry of your residence title occurs automatically if it can be assumed that your main residence is no longer in Germany. Even entering and leaving Germany on a daily basis within the expiry period does not prevent the expiry.

A Blue Card EU expires 12 months after leaving Germany. This also includes the family members of the holder of an EU Blue Card if they are in possession of a residence permit for family reasons.

A settlement permit does not expire until 12 months after leaving Germany, if:

  • you have reached the age of 60 and have legally been staying in Germany for at least 15 years. The same applies to your spouse, provided that he or she is also in possession of a settlement permit, that you live in a marital partnership and that both have reached the age of 60.

A settlement permit continues to exist for a longer stay abroad if

  • you have been legally residing in Germany for at least 15 years and your livelihood is secure
  • you are in a cohabitation or registered partnership with a German citizen.

A certificate from the Immigration Office is required in order to re-enter without complications.

A permit for permanent residence EU expires after:

  • 12 months if you are outside the European Union or in Denmark, Great Britain and Ireland.
  • 24 months if you are staying outside the European Union or in Denmark, the United Kingdom and Ireland and previously had an EU Blue Card (also applies to family members with a residence permit for family reasons)
  • 6 years stay outside of Germany
  • Immediately if you get a permanent residence permit in another EU country.

In this case, there is also a certificate from the Immigration Office required for a re-entry without complications.



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