Electronic residence title (eAT)

specimen of a electronic residence titel
Image: BAMF

Electronic residence title (eAT) - What is this?

The electronic residence title, or eAT, was introduced in Germany on 1st September 2011. The legal bases for the eAT are EU Regulations No. 380/2008 and No. 1030/2002.

For an eAT, the residence title is not inserted in your passport as a sticker. Instead, it is issued as a plastic card. The following data are stored in the integrated chip:

  • Personal details
  • Information on the residence title (type and legal basis, duration and ancillary provisions)
  • Number and validity of passport
  • Biometric data (photograph and two fingerprints for all persons aged 6 years or older)
  • Residential address

The eAT card is produced by the German Federal Printing Office. Hence, to be issued with an eAT, you always need to come to the Foreigners’ Registration Office twice:
Firstly, you need to have your fingerprints scanned and provide your signature and passport photo. Then you need to come back to collect your eAT.

In most cases, the ancillary provisions (e.g. regarding employment) are recorded on an additional sheet in the form of a folded card (Zusatzblatt).
The eAT and the additional sheet both refer to each other.

Online identification function

The eAT has an online identification function (or eID function). This can only be used with a PIN number.

When producing an eAT that has been ordered, the German Federal Printing Office sends the eAT applicant a PIN letter. The information contained in this letter is necessary in order to activate the online identification function at a later date (e.g. when collecting the eAT).

Applicants will receive a brochure with information on this function when they apply for an eAT.

However, as things stand, there are still only a small number of Internet services for which the online identification function can be used.

Validity

  • It is essential to note that the residence title and the eAT card have different terms of validity.
  • The eAT card is valid for a maximum of 10 years, but never beyond the passport’s term of validity.
  • The residence title may be valid for longer than the eAT card.
  • If the eAT card expires, the residence title will not automatically expire as a result.

Fees

An eAT is more elaborate and expensive to produce than a sticker.

Hence, it is always 50 euros more expensive to have your residence title issued as an eAT than as a sticker.

Can I identify myself with the eAT?

It is not sufficient to prove identity and legal residence with authorities and the police only with the eAT.
For this, the eAT must be submitted together with the passport and the additional sheet (Zusatzblatt).

Is an eAT always issued?

For reasons of capacity, the Berlin Foreigners’ Registration Office will issue residence titles as stickers until further notice.

eATs will be issued only for the EU Blue Card residence title and in exceptional and duly justified cases.

My residence title is a sticker. Can I obtain an eAT?

  • Stickers will remain valid until 31st August 2021.
  • There is no legal right to be issued with an eAT or to have a sticker converted into an eAT.
  • You can submit an early application for an eAT only in exceptional cases, provided that you can prove that you have a reasonable interest (e.g. professional reasons) in receiving an eAT.
    The mere possibility that you might have at your disposal, or be able to use, more functionalities with an eAT is not an adequate reason to apply for one.

Transfer of residence permit / Issuance of new residence permit

  • If you are issued with a new passport, or your name has changed (e.g. because you have got married), your residence title must be transferred. You can have this done in the citizens’ registration offices (Bürgerämter). Your residence title will be transferred as a sticker.
  • If your residence title expires in 6 months, you do not need it to be transferred. In this case, you can travel with your old passport, your new passport and your eAT card.
  • Do you have a permanent residence title that was issued as an eAT, and is your passport also valid indefinitely? If so, you need to apply for a new eAT after 10 years.

Do I need to have the address on my eAT changed after I move home?

  • You do not need to have the address on your eAT card changed.
  • In any case, until further notice, it is not possible to change the address on an eAT card at the citizens’ registration offices (Bürgerämter).
  • It is possible to change the address on an eAT card at the Foreigners’ Registration Office, but only in special cases. You should expect a long wait for this.

My eAT has been lost or stolen. What do I need to do?