As of 17 December 2016, those who apply for a permanent residence permit must have…
(1) The permanent settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) is a residence title which is not limited in time. It shall entitle the holder to pursue an economic activity and may only be supplemented with a subsidiary provision in those cases which are expressly permitted by this Act. Section 47 shall remain unaffected.
(2) A foreigner shall be granted a permanent settlement permit if
1. he has held a temporary residence permit for five years,
2. his subsistence is secure,
3. he has paid compulsory or voluntary contributions into the statutory pension scheme for at least 60 months or furnishes evidence of an entitlement to comparable benefits from an insurance or pension scheme or from an insurance company; time off for the purposes of child care or nursing at home shall be duly taken into account,
4. granting such a temporary residence permit is not precluded by reasons of public safety or order, according due consideration to the severity or the nature of the breach of public safety or order or the danger emanating from the foreigner, with due regard to the duration of the foreigner’s stay to date and the existence of ties in the federal territory,
5. he is permitted to be in employment, if he is in employment,
6. he possesses the other permits required for the purpose of the permanent pursuit of his economic activity,
7. he has sufficient command of the German language,
8. he possesses a basic knowledge of the legal and social system and the way of life in the federal territory and
9. he possesses sufficient living space for himself and the members of his family forming part of his household.
The requirements of sentence 1, nos. 7 and 8 shall be deemed to be fulfilled if the foreigner has successfully completed an integration course. These requirements shall be waived if the foreigner is unable to fulfil them on account of a physical or mental illness or disability. The requirements of sentence 1, nos. 7 and 8 may also be waived in order to avoid hardship. The aforesaid requirements shall further be waived if the foreigner is able to communicate verbally in the German language at a basic level and has not been entitled to participate in an integration course pursuant to Section 44 (3), no. 2 or has not been obliged to participate in an integration course pursuant to Section 44a (2), no. 3. The requirements of sentence 1, nos. 2 and 3 shall also be waived if the foreigner is unable to fulfil them due to the grounds stated in sentence 3.
(3) In the case of cohabiting spouses, it shall suffice if the requirements in accordance with subsection 2, sentence 1, nos. 3, 5 and 6 are fulfilled by one spouse. The requirement in accordance with subsection 2, sentence 1, no. 3 shall be waived if the foreigner is undergoing education or training which leads to a recognised school, vocational or higher education qualification. Sentence 1 shall apply accordingly in the cases covered by Section 26 (4).
(4) The following periods shall be taken into account with regard to the periods of possession of a temporary residence permit which are necessary in order to qualify for issuance of a permanent settlement permit:
1. the duration of former possession of a temporary residence permit or permanent settlement permit, if the foreigner was in possession of a permanent settlement permit at the time of leaving the federal territory, minus the duration of intermediate stays outside of the federal territory which led to expiry of the permanent settlement permit; a maximum of four years shall be taken into account,
2. a maximum of six months for each stay outside of the federal territory which did not lead to expiry of the temporary residence permit,
3. half of the period of lawful stay for the purposes of study or vocational training in the federal territory.
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