Residence Permit

Ein eingezoomtes Bild eines Kugelschreibers, der auf einem Antrag auf Erteilung des Aufenthaltstitels liegt

Citizens of the EU are entitled to the Freedom of Movement permission. You are not required to obtain a visa or residence title. If you are a national of another state and you are planning to stay in Germany for a longer time (see Resident Registration), please contact the Immigration Office, to apply for a residence permit.

In order to obtain your residence title, limited residence permit or unlimited settlement permit please visit the Immigration Office in person. A residence title is linked to the specific purpose of your stay.

In the city of Essen the Welcome Center of Essen is responsible for international academics according to the paragraphs §19 and § 20 and not the Immigration Office (see Resident Registration).

Required documents

  • Completed application for a residence title
  • Valid passport
  • Biometric passport photo
  • Fellowship award letter, employment contract or hosting agreement with the university (stating the amount of the monthly fellowship or salary)
  • Proof of health insurance cover valid in Germany
  • For marital partners/children: German or English translation of marriage and birth certificates
  • Fees vary
  • Tenancy agreement (room/flat, at least 12 sq.m./person)
  • Hosting agreement from the university (only required for a resident titel for the purpose of §20)
Depending on the purpose of your residence title, there might be further documents required. Depending on the purpose of your stay, there are different residence titles which are associated with different rights. In the research field, residence titles for the following purposes are the most common:
  • §16 Higher education studies, language courses, school education
  • §18 Employment
  • §19 Settlement permit for highly qualified foreigners
  • §19a EU Blue Card
  • §20 Research (a hosting agreement from the university is also required)

Here (PDF) the German Rector's Conference has drawn up a detailed overview of the various residence titles with regard to criteria like target group, conditions for granting a residence permit etc.

Fiktionsbescheinigung (Probationary Permit)

A probationary certificate ("Fiktionsbescheinigung") is a temporary substitute document to prove a temporary right of residence. There are different types of probationary certificate:


A "Erlaubnisfiktion" can be issued, if your visa or the time period of 90 days expires (see Resident Registration), but the Immigration Office needs more processing time to issue a residence titel. Hence, the  "Erlaubnisfiktion" is a temporary extension of your visa.


If you have applied for your extension in good time and now have to wait for the card to be issued, you will usually be given a "Fortbestandsfiktion" (probationary continuation), because your old residence permit will continue to be valid until you receive your new card.


In the city of Essen the Welcome Centre of Essen is responsible for registration and the application for a residence title of international academics according to § 19 or § 20.

Welcome Service of the International Office