A blog of everyday life and traveling experience.

Selasa, 28 Desember 2021

Changing Blue Card to Permanent Resident Card (Niederlassungerlaubnis) in Germany

 Hello everyone!

It has been more than a year since I got my German permanent residency, and after a long wait, here you go: the promised post about how I changed my Blue Card to Permanent Resident Card for Germany.

For some of you who did not know, I changed my student visa to EU Blue Card back in 2018 when I started my full-time job (you can read my complicated experience here). I only had a limited blue card that was only valid for the period of my work contract + 3 months (the time window to find another job), which means my Blue Card was only valid until January 2021. 

I did some research already about the alternative of the possibility of the next steps, although to be honest, I was also having the pressure that I wouldn't get a contract extension at work and had to find another job, which meant things would get a tad complicated had that happened. 

  1. The first alternative was just to simply extend the blue card with another blue card. From what I've heard, if you extend the blue card, at least it wouldn't be bound to your current company (in my previous blue card I received an additional letter that said that my blue card was only valid when I worked in the company).
  2. The second option was to change the blue card to a permanent resident permit. And since it's no secret that I hate German bureaucracy, of course, I'd try my best to go with this flow. 
Okay, long story short (skipping the dread months when I was unsure about my contract), I got my job contract extension to a permanent one, which meant it would at least make my application for permanent residency easier. 

THE DIFFERENCE(S) between Blue Card and Permanent Resident
  • Blue card has an expiration date, while permanent resident well.. supposed to let you stay as long as you want -- they simply can't "kick you" out easily. However, noted that in your blue card, they will put "valid until" your passport expiration dates.
  • Blue card tied you with your employer, while permanent residency does not, which means you're free to work as anything, and now even without a minimum salary. 
  • No unemployment benefits for blue card holders, while permanent residents are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. 

  • You have to be at least in possession of the blue card for at least 33 months before applying.
    • However, this can be shortened to 21 months if you have German B1 certificate.
    • I did my B1 certificate in Goethe 10 years ago (2011), but I lost the certificate, and since they did not accept my RWTH Aachen's DSM's (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für Master-Studierende), I either had to redo my test or waited for another 11 months. 11 months seems like a long time and also it meant I had to renew my blue card in between, so that was why I decided to do my B1 test again. Unfortunately, the earliest available exam was at the end of August, so I had to wait a bit. A bit of advice though, do not lose your B1 certificate, because it's pretty expensive to take them again!
  • You have some knowledge of the German language (A1 for 33 months, B1 for 21 months)
  • You are independent and you don't need any third-party support to finance yourself in Germany
  • You have paid the Renteversicherung for 33 months or 21 months (if you have Blue Card)
  • You have enough space for living.
If you think you have fulfilled all the criteria above, then congratulations! Here are the documents that you'll need to send via email/bring in person: 
  • Salary slips (they asked for the last 3 months in the beginning, but after I send them all, they again asked for the complete slip salary of the Year 2020)
  • Proof that you have paid Renteversicherung for 21 or 33 months. How to get it: 
  • B1-certificate
  • Permanent work-contract
  • Certificate of employment (they will provide the form) that needs to be signed by your employer
  • Housing certificate (they will provide the form) that needs to be signed by your landlord
HOW TO (in a nutshell)
The process below is not an absolute "how-to", it is based on my experience. I think the process would vary depending on your Ausländeramt. I got lucky because since I moved to Sindelfingen, the process of everything related to Ausländeramt (visa, sponsor letter, and so on) was easier than when I lived in Aachen. 
  1. Send an email stating the intention to change your current resident permit to permanent resident. 
    • Again, this varies from person to person. In my Ausländeramt, they accept phone calls and emails, and since I prefer to have it written somewhere, I send them an email instead. 
  2. After sending them back all the documents they required, they'll send you an appointment. 
  3. Come to the appointment with all the documents and 110€ money (some only take cash, some have a machine where they took EC-Karte). Do not forget to ask where you need to pick up the card once they're ready!
  4. Ta-da, they'll give you a paper stating that you're now having a permanent residence. However, your card could be picked up normally after 6 weeks. 
  5. After some weeks, you will receive a PIN for your new card. Normally, if you have received this, you can already take the card in 2 weeks. 
  6. Take your new shiny permanent-residence card. For Sindelfingen, I need to take it in Bürgeramt (where you do your anmelden). Due to Corona, I had to make an appointment, but normally, people could simply take it without any appointment. 
GOOD TO KNOW that...
  • Your "permanent" resident card has an expiration date! My card's expiration date is the same as my passport. So far, I haven't researched on how to extend it, but I will update it here once I know (I'll be back before the end of 2023 :p)
  • You still can't vote with a permanent residency. You'll need German citizenship for that!

So that's it! It looks less complicated than my blue card and the driving license, but I also needed at least about 2 months because of the German B1 exam! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know. See you in the next post :)