Hamburg Welcome Center - Entry & Residence

Travelling with a residence permit Expiration of residence permits

If you are staying abroad, your German residence title is generally still valid. However, there are cases in which the residence title becomes invalid.

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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.

There are different deadlines that must be met. After expiration of this period, the residence title expires (the residence title becomes invalid). 

The following applies to all residence permits:

If you know before leaving the country that you want to stay abroad for a longer period of time and if the time limit for your residence title expires before you re-enter Germany, then you should submit an application to your responsible immigration office.

If the time limit is exceeded because of the completion of military service, then the residence title does not expire if you re-enter Germany within 3 months after discharge from military service. In this case, please provide documents as proof.

Please note! If you leave Germany to start a school or university education abroad, your residence permit becomes invalid as soon as you leave the country. The limit of a 6 months period does not apply in this case.

The following applies to all residence permits:

A residence permit becomes invalid 6 months after leaving Germany.

  • A longer period can be allowed on application, if the stay abroad serves the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany. This is the case, for example, with
    • a stay as a development aid worker,
    • as a family member of a German diplomat abroad ,
    • as a student of a local university in accordance with § 16 for one or two guest semesters at a foreign university,
    • or working abroad for an internationally active company based in Germany

In addition, longer deadlines apply to the EU Blue Card and the settlement permit.

EU Blue Card

  • an EU Blue Card becomes invalid 12 months after leaving Germany.
  • this period also applies to family members of a Blue Card EU holder if they have a residence permit for family reasons.
  • you can apply for a longer period, if the stay abroad serves the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany. Please submit an application to your responsible immigration office.

Settlement permit

In principle, a settlement permit also becomes invalid 6 months after leaving the country. It does not expire until 12 months after leaving Germany

  • if the foreigner has reached the age of 60 years
  • and has resided legally in Germany for at least 15 years.

The same applies to the spouse with settlement permit, if they are living together and the spouse is also at least 60 years old.

A settlement permit does not become invalid even in the case of a longer stay abroad if:

  • the foreigner has legally resided in Germany for at least 15 years. In addition, the livelihood must be secured (this also applies to the spouse with an unlimited residence title) or
  • the foreigner is married to or in a registered civil partnership with a German citizen.

The responsible immigration authority will issue a certificate to this effect. This certificate may be required for re-entry into Germany. You can obtain a certificate from your responsible immigration office.

 

Permanent EC Residence

If you stay within the EU, your Permanent EC Residence title expires after 6 years. It becomes invalid after 12 months if you stay outside the European Union or in the EU countries Denmark and Ireland.

If you previously had an EU Blue Card and are staying outside the European Union or in the EU countries of Denmark and Ireland, your Permanent EC Residence title will expire after 24 months (this period then also applies to your family members with a residence permit for family reunion).

Your Permanent EC Residence title immediately expires if you get a Permanent EC Residence in another state of the European Union. 

The Permanent EC Residence title remains valid in case of a longer stay abroad, if:

the foreigner has legally resided in Germany for at least 15 years. In addition, the livelihood must be secured (this also applies to the spouse with an unlimited residence title) or

the foreigner is married to or registered in a registered civil partnership with a German citizen

The responsible immigration authority will issue a certificate to this effect. This certificate may be required for re-entry into Germany. You can obtain a certificate from your responsible immigration office

You can apply for a longer period, if

  • the stay abroad is only temporary (e.g. to care for a close relatives, for a guest semester during studies) or
  • if the stay abroad serves the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany (see above under Residence Permit).

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