Expiry of a residence title during a stay abroad

Stempel mit der Aufschrift ungültig
Image: mapoli-photo - fotolia.com

Do you have a German residence title, and do you wish to leave Germany for a specific period of time?
If so, please note the different time limits after which residence titles expire automatically!

The following applies to all residence titles:

  • Did you exceed the time limit only because you were doing military service? If so, your residence title will not expire if you return to Germany within three months after you have been discharged from military service.
  • Do you intend to stay abroad for longer than the time limit specified for your residence title? If so, you must submit an application to the Foreigners’ Registration Office.

The time limit depends on the specific residence title

Residence permit
EU Blue Card
Permanent settlement permit
EU long-term residence permit

Residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis)

  • Your residence permit will expire 6 months after you have left Germany.
  • A longer time limit can be permitted upon request if your stay abroad serves the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany. For example, this is the case if
    • You are going to work abroad as a development worker,
    • You are going to live abroad as the relative of a German diplomat based abroad,
    • Pursuant to Section 16, you are a student at a local university and are going to spend one or two semesters abroad at a foreign university, or
    • You have been sent on a foreign assignment for an international company based in Germany.
  • Please note: If you travel abroad to start a school or university education, your residence permit will expire from the moment you leave the country. It does not matter whether or not you return to Germany before the expiry of the 6-month time limit.

EU Blue Card (Blaue Karte EU)

  • An EU Blue Card expires 12 months after the holder has left Germany.
  • This time limit also applies to an EU Blue Card holder’s relatives if the latter hold a residence permit for family reasons.
  • A longer time limit can be permitted upon request if the holder’s stay abroad serves the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany. For example, this is the case if the holder is sent on a foreign assignment for an international company based in Germany.

Permanent settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis)

  • In general, a permanent settlement permit expires 6 months after the holder has left Germany.
  • A permanent settlement permit expires 12 months after the holder has left Germany
    • If the permit holder is at least 60 years of age, and
    • If he/she has stayed in the federal territory legally for at least 15 years.
    • The same also applies to his/her spouse if the latter is living with him/her with a settlement permit, and provided that the spouse is also at least 60 years of age.
  • A permanent settlement permit will not expire, even after a longer stay abroad, if
    • The permit holder has stayed legally in Germany for at least 15 years and has secured means of subsistence (this also applies to his/her spouse with a permanent residence title), or
    • If the permit holder is in marital cohabitation or in a registered life partnership with a German national.
    • The Foreigners’ Registration Office or the citizens’ registration offices (Bürgerämter) will issue a certificate to this effect. This certificate may be required in order to re-enter Germany.
    • More information about the certificate
  • In all other cases, a longer time limit may be permitted upon request if
    • The stay abroad is only temporary (for example, to care for a close relative, or for a semester abroad during a degree), or
    • If the stay abroad serves the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany (see above under Residence permit).

EU long-term residence permit (Erlaubnis zum Daueraufenthalt-EU)

  • An EU long-term residence permit expires
    • After 12 months for a stay outside the European Union or in the following EU countries: Denmark, Great Britain and Ireland, or
    • After 24 months for a stay outside the European Union or in the following EU countries: Denmark, Great Britain and Ireland, provided that you previously had an EU Blue Card (in this case, this time limit also applies to your relatives with a residence permit for family reasons),
    • After 6 years outside Germany, or if you receive an EU long-term residence permit in another member state of the European Union
  • An EU long-term residence permit will not expire, even after a longer stay abroad, if
    • The permit holder has stayed legally in Germany for at least 15 years and has secured means of subsistence (this also applies to his/her spouse with a permanent residence title), or
    • If the permit holder is in marital cohabitation or in a registered life partnership with a German national.
    • The Foreigners’ Registration Office or the citizens’ registration offices (Bürgerämter) will issue a certificate to this effect. This certificate may be required in order to re-enter Germany.
    • More information about the certificate
  • In all other cases, a longer time limit may be permitted upon request if

** The stay abroad is only temporary (for example, to care for a close relative, or for a semester abroad during a degree), or
** If the stay abroad serves the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany (see above under Residence permit).