German residency permit renewal

If you are the holder of an Aufenhaltserlaubnis (residence permit), then at some point or another you may need to get your permit renewed. An Aufenhaltserlaubnis is a document that is given to those who are offered a limited stay in Germany. This card is typically given to students, those who are permitted to Germany due to familial ties, training, asylum, a German spouse, mother/father of a German child.

Your Aufenhaltserlaubnis is typically granted for one year and can be extended at the Ausländerbehörde (Aliens Department) provided you have a valid reason to stay in Germany for a longer than initially planned. Some holders of the Aufenhaltserlaubnis are allowed to work. This information is visible on the bottom section of the card.

Provided an extension needs to be made to your residence permit, report to the Aliens Department. You don’t typically need an appointment but are allowed to schedule one if you so please. Upon arriving you take a number and wait until you are called by an agent who is responsible for dealing with your residence permit. Agents usually work with permit holders based on an alphabetical grouping of their last names. The permit can be renewed four weeks before the expiration date shown on your residence permit.

Ensure that you have all the necessary documents together and recent copies of everything needed. This may include:

  1. Photographs (Biometric)
  2. Proof of insurance
  3. Passport
  4. Proof that you have completed a German integration course (if required)
  5. Confirmation of address

What to expect:

 ·         For those who have received a residence permit through marriage to a German, you may be required to take a B German course that includes an integration course (where you learn about German culture, politics, etc). This is typically one of the requirements for being able to renew your residence permit. You may also be required to have your German spouse accompany you to the interview.

 ·         Processing of the documents may take up to two weeks, in some cases longer. Once the residence permit is ready you will receive a letter in the post. For those married to a German national, your spouse will be required to accompany you to the Ausländerbehörde in order to sign a document confirming that you are still married and have no intentions of ending the marriage.

 ·         In the case that your residence permit expires before the new permit is issued, you’ll receive a Fiktionbescheinigung from the Ausländerbehörde. The Fiktionbescheinigung is a temporary certificate that serves to prove that you are still indeed legal, regardless of your residence permit being expired.

 ·         Processing fees can range anywhere from as low as 5 euros to as high as 60 euros. This fee is paid at the Aliens Department upon applying for the extension of your residence permit and is non refundable.

Ensure that you follow all necessary protocols in order to allow the process to run smoothly. If you are uncertain about what documents you may or may not need, contact the Ausländerbehörde before your visit to clarify. In the case that your documents aren’t up to date or required information is missing, you may have to either send these documents via mail, or you may be asked to come in for another interview. 


Saskia Petz

Tanja Traut

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