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Residency permits For Members

Reader Question: Can I move to another EU country with a German residency permit?

Sarah Magill
Sarah Magill - [email protected]
Reader Question: Can I move to another EU country with a German residency permit?
A sign near the German-French border in Breisach indicates the nearby border crossing. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Philipp von Ditfurth

While having a German residency permit gives you the right to live in Germany, it doesn’t provide the full range of privileges that come with a German passport.

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Where can I travel with my German residence permit?

As a holder of a German residence permit, you can move freely within the Schengen zone for up to 90 days within any period of 180 days, as long as you don't take up work whilst in the other country. 

Within the Schengen zone, there are no border checks or restrictions, but you should carry both your passport and residence permit and present them if requested by border or police authorities.

It's important to note that the Schengen zone and the European Union (EU) are not the same. While the German residence permit allows you to travel freely within the Schengen zone, there are EU countries that are not part of the Schengen agreement, such as Ireland, Romania, and Bulgaria. If you plan to visit these countries, you may still need a visa based on the requirements of your current passport.

READ ALSO: How long can you leave Germany for without losing permanent residency?

Conversely, there are countries outside the EU that are part of the Schengen zone, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. With your German residence permit, you can travel to these countries without a visa.

What about moving to another EU country?

While your German residency permit allows you to live and work in Germany, it does not provide any special privileges or shortcuts when it comes to moving or working in other EU countries, as each EU country has its own immigration and employment regulations that must be followed, regardless of your status in Germany.

READ ALSO: 8 reasons why German citizenship trumps permanent residency

If you want to either move to another EU country or stay there for an extended period, you will need to apply for a visa or residency permit in that specific country. 

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If you wish to work or enrol in a university in countries such as Italy or Spain, for example, you will need to meet the respective requirements of those countries.

Can I move to Germany with a residence permit from another EU country?

If you have a permanent residence permit in another EU country, you can apply for a residence permit to work in Germany. But to do so, you must meet certain requirements and you also need the approval of the Employment Agency and a residence permit from the Foreigners' Registration Office.

The European and German flags wave in the wind in front of the Reichstag in Berlin.

The European and German flags wave in the wind in front of the Reichstag in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Kay Nietfeld

What about the Permanent EU Residence Permit?

The permanent EU Residence Permit is a residency permit which generally allows holders the right to work, study or undergo training in other EU Member States. Detailed guidelines and regulations are provided by each specific country within the EU, so it's advisable to consult the relevant country's regulations before packing up and leaving Germany.

To qualify for the permanent EU Residence Permit, you need to fulfil several requirements.

Firstly, you must have legally resided in Germany for at least five years. You should also be able to financially support yourself and your family members, to have a sufficient command of the German language and possess basic knowledge of the legal, social, and cultural aspects of life in Germany.

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Lastly, you must have made compulsory or voluntary contributions to the statutory pension insurance system for a minimum of 60 months.

However, certain residence titles, such as those issued for educational purposes or specific humanitarian reasons, may not be eligible for the permanent EU Residence Permit.

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Comments (2)

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Paolo 2023/06/21 16:26
Is the German residence permit here pertaining to Aufenthaltserlaubnis or the Niederlassungs?
Paolo 2023/06/21 16:26
Is the German residence permit here pertaining to Aufenthaltserlaubnis or the Niederlassungs?

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