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Germany: Permanent residence for minors and children born in Germany

Germany: The questions around how children and minors can obtain permanent residence in Germany without their parents are becoming prevalent and permanent residence for parents requires conditions that are mostly difficult to achieve, this is especially for persons with subsidiary protection.

There is a difference between a minor who has reached the age of 16 and has applied for permanent residence, and a person over the age of 16. There is also a difference between a minor who arrived in Germany as a minor and has completed 18 years, but the period they spent in Germany until they reached 18 years was not sufficient to obtain permanent residence.

It is necessary to distinguish, between children who have reached the age of 16 years and those who have exceeded 16 years, with regards to obtaining permanent residence in Germany.

Children who have reached the age of 16

A minor who has reached the age of 16 obtains permanent residence in Germany according to the following conditions:
1. That they have resided for five consecutive years.
2. During these five years, they must attend school regularly without interruption.

Required documents:
School documents for the five years in addition to a valid passport.

Minors over 16 and under 18

A person who has been residing for five years and is not a minor does not obtain permanent residence, according to the above-mentioned conditions, unless they entered Germany as a minor. Persons over 16 but not over 18 have the opportunity to obtain permanent residence under the following conditions:

  1. Residency for five years.
  2. To be a student in the field of vocational training, study or work.
  3. There must be vocational training leading to a recognized academic, professional or academic qualification.
  4. Not to be criminally convicted.
  5. In these cases, minors are not required to have a certain level of German or to take a life in Germany exam.

The required documents:

  • In addition to personal identification, a vocational training contract, or employment contract, with bank account data, or school certificates must be submitted.
  • For minors who have not registered for work or vocational training, and whose parents can provide for their livelihood through their work contracts, they can obtain permanent residence without work. 
  • If the parents are present at home and the child is 16 years old, the application must be submitted by both parents, and if one of them is not present, they must authorise the second party to sign the application.

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How to apply for a German Student Visa and Residence Permit

A person over the age of 18 can obtain permanent residence if they entered Germany while they were a minor, according to the following conditions:
1. Holds a residence permit for five years.
2. They should have sufficient language skills.
3. Securing livelihoods or doing vocational training.

The German Residency Act granted this category of persons, despite having reached the age of 18, the right to obtain permanent residence. The legal basis for this right, that this group, are people who entered Germany as children. But they were unable to obtain a five-year residence permit when they were 16, due to their late entry into Germany.

Reasons for rejection of an application for permanent residence in Germany

  1. Personal misconduct This standard is unfortunately considered too broad, because it gives great authority to the employee when using it.
  2. The residence applicant must have been convicted, that is, he has a criminal record.
  3. That the residency applicant is unable to adequately secure his living, and the matter here remains discretionary.

What years are part of the five years required for permanent residence in Germany?

It is not required for the applicant to have an official residence exclusively. There are other documents that the applicant may possess and are taken into consideration when calculating the period of residence, that is, they are considered part of the five years such as:

  • Voraufenthalt= Visum
  • Fiktionswirkung
  • Aufenthaltsgestattung

Accommodation for children born in Germany

A child born in Germany obtains residence under the following conditions:
1. To be born in one of the German states.
2. At least one of the parents must have a valid residence permit.

If one of the parents has permanent residence and has resided in Germany for eight years, the child will obtain German citizenship. According to Article 33 of Paragraph 2 of the Residence Act , the Aliens Department must grant the child residency based on the residency of one of the parents, and the Department cannot compel the parents to submit an asylum application for the child, even if one or both parents are granted asylum.

By: Jalal Muhammad Amin, Immigration Lawyer and legal advisor based in Germany.