Once again, I spent a morning at the Place that Shall Not Be Named, hopefully for the last time. In October I applied for permanent residency in Germany and this was the first chance I had to go back to see if the application had gone through.

In Germany, as an American citizen, you typically have to wait five years to qualify to apply. While I have been in Europe for just over four years now, the clock only started in October of 2007 when I became an employee of my company's Munich office. Germany has a program to immediately qualify applicants if they are specializing in certain career fields and make a minimum income on a permanent German contract. At first I did not qualify due to the income requirements but the law was changed in December 2008 and I could then apply. At that time, I was living in Zürich and not sure I was coming back to Munich but that was actually one of the deciding factors for my return to Germany last March. I did not like being bound to my employer to live in Europe and wanted to have more flexibility if I wanted to stay in Germany but leave my job.

The woman who had handled my application was out sick today but her grumpy colleague was happy to assist (sarcasm). After waiting two hours, it was my turn and finished in a matter of minutes. I am very pleased that I now have more control over whether I stay or go and who I can work for. Some friends have asked, does this mean I am a German citizen. Well, the answer is no, I am still an American citizen and have no plans to change that. Also, if I leave Germany for too long I lost my residency so it's not truly permanent, only conditionally permanent.

So, I have a brand new American passport as of Monday good for 10 years (although my 4th since living here) and my permanent residency. Maybe I can avoid some bureaucracy for a little while. At least German and American bureaucracy.

Posted from DB Train


Jul said...

Congrats! We're going through the same process of trying to get our visas changed right now. Not looking forward to spending more time in that building.

Mandi said...

Woohoo! Congratulations! I still have a few more years on that one, but I look forward to the day. :)

cliff1976 said...

Willkommen im Club!

We got ours this year, right up against the deadline of our Aufenthaltserlaubnisse running out and our departure for our vacation in Mexico. We were worried the paperwork on the Niederlassungserlaubnis wasn't going to come through before we departed and would be turned away from our home(!) after getting off the plane upon our return from Puerto Vallarta. Fortunately, it all got squared away before we departed, so no Bundesgrenze Polizei drama for us, thank goodness.

Can we get into the EU passport holders line now? Or, since our citizenship didn't change (not planning on it either, like you), are we forever doomed to that non-EU passport line?

CAPTCHA: butsness

Expat Traveler said...

Congrats!!!! I have to move on my citizenship for Canada and renewing my passport. It's all just money...

But that is so awesome you are semi permanent, and probably a GREAT feeling!!! :-)

I hope you get to go out and celebrate...

オテモヤン said...


CanadianSwiss said...

What great news! Congrats. You must be happy that it was a last visit to "that place" :-)

Megan said...

Bravo. It's a nice feeling of freedom isn't it? I was on the verge of doing exactly that. Then I got married and they didn't see my point when I told them I wanted the 'non-married' visa.

That feeling of having to leave the country inside of 30 days if you lose your job is a nice one to be rid of, regardless.

J said...

yay, congrats a bit late. I assume they told you, but if not, the time you're allowed to leave the country is 6 months. However, it is possible to get up to 12 months if you have to return home to care for a parent and can prove it.