picture alliance/dpa | Wolfgang Kumm

The Opportunity-Residence-Act (§ 104c AufenthG) came into force on 31.12.2022. This means that it can be applied for immediately. The Opportunity-Residence-Act is valid for three years, so it can be applied for up to and including 30.12.2025.

How and whe­re can I app­ly for the Opportunity-Residence-Act? 

The Oppor­tu­ni­ty-Resi­dence-Act must be app­lied for at the respon­si­ble for­eig­ners aut­ho­ri­ty (»Aus­län­der­be­hör­de«). We recom­mend sub­mit­ting a writ­ten application.

Who can app­ly for the Opportunity-Residence-Act?

First, the per­son must be tole­ra­ted (the Per­son must have a Dul­dung) at the time of app­li­ca­ti­on. The per­son must have lived in Ger­ma­ny without inter­rup­ti­on for five years after 31.10.2017 with a Dul­dung, Auf­ent­halts­ge­stat­tung or resi­dence per­mit (Auf­ent­halts­er­laub­nis). Peri­ods with a »Dul­dung light« are also coun­ted towards the­se five years. In addi­ti­on, a com­mit­ment to the free demo­cra­tic basic order is requi­red. More detail­ed infor­ma­ti­on on the­se requi­re­ments can be found in our advice notes (in German).

It is not necessa­ry to have a job, a pass­port and a pro­ven iden­ti­ty or citi­zenship and lan­guage skills. On the con­tra­ry, the Oppor­tu­ni­ty-Resi­dence-Act is inten­ded pre­cise­ly to give peop­le who have not been able to ful­fill the­se requi­re­ments up to now the oppor­tu­ni­ty to ful­fill them during the 18-mon­th peri­od of the Opportunity-Residence-Act.

Who is exclu­ded from the Oppor­tu­ni­ty-Resi­dence-Act, even if the per­son meets the requirements?

Peop­le who have been sen­ten­ced to impr­i­son­ment or fines of more than 50 dai­ly rates (90 dai­ly rates for cri­mes that can only be com­mit­ted by for­eig­ners under the Resi­dence Act or Asyl­um Act, such as ent­e­ring and stay­ing in Ger­ma­ny without a pass­port or resi­dence per­mit) are exclu­ded. This would also app­ly to young peop­le sen­ten­ced under juve­ni­le cri­mi­nal law to a sus­pen­ded pri­son term or to a juve­ni­le detenti­on center.

Juve­ni­le detenti­on in its various forms and other sen­ten­ces under juve­ni­le cri­mi­nal law must be dis­tin­guis­hed from juve­ni­le punish­ment. The­se may not lead to the deni­al of the Opportunity-Residence-Act.

The Oppor­tu­ni­ty-Resi­dence-Act shall also be denied if someo­ne has repeated­ly and inten­tio­nal­ly pro­vi­ded fal­se infor­ma­ti­on or decei­ved about iden­ti­ty or natio­na­li­ty and ther­eby pre­ven­ted depor­ta­ti­on. It is no ground for exclu­si­on if a per­son has not coope­ra­ted in obtai­ning a pass­port or has not remo­ved obsta­cles to deportation.

Does the Oppor­tu­ni­ty-Resi­dence-Act also app­ly to fami­ly mem­bers of eli­gi­ble per­sons, even if the fami­ly mem­bers have not yet lived in Ger­ma­ny for five years?

Yes, spou­ses or regis­tered life part­ners as well as underage child­ren living in the same house­hold as eli­gi­ble per­sons should be gran­ted the Oppor­tu­ni­ty-Resi­dence-Act, even if they have not yet lived in Ger­ma­ny for five years – as long as they meet the other requi­re­ments. Unmar­ried child­ren who are of full age can also be gran­ted the Oppor­tu­ni­ty-Resi­dence-Act if they were minors when they ent­e­red Ger­ma­ny and con­ti­nue to live in the same house­hold as the per­son who is enti­t­led to the Opportunity-Residence-Act.

What sta­tus do peop­le get who recei­ve the Opportunity-Residence-Act?

Tho­se who ful­fill the requi­re­ments of the Oppor­tu­ni­ty-Resi­dence-Act recei­ve a resi­dence per­mit valid for 18 mon­ths, with which work – both depen­dent employ­ment with an employ­er and self-employ­ment – is per­mit­ted. It is also pos­si­ble to tra­vel abroad if you alrea­dy have a valid passport.

What do peop­le have to do during the 18 mon­ths in order to con­ti­nue to recei­ve a resi­dence per­mit afterwards?

First and fore­mo­st, after the 18 mon­ths have elap­sed, all the gene­ral con­di­ti­ons for issuing a resi­dence per­mit must be met, which app­ly to all resi­dence per­mits and which were not yet ful­fil­led in the case of the Oppor­tu­ni­ty-Resi­dence-Act, i.e. (pre­do­mi­nant­ly) secu­ring a live­li­hood, pro­of of iden­ti­ty and natio­na­li­ty, and the pass­port requi­re­ment. In order to obtain a resi­dence per­mit in Ger­ma­ny bey­ond the 18 mon­ths, tho­se affec­ted should use the time to ful­fill all requirements.

What sta­tus can peop­le get after the Opportunity-Residence-Act? 

After the Oppor­tu­ni­ty-Resi­dence-Act, but also befo­re the 18 mon­ths have expi­red, peop­le can chan­ge to a right of resi­dence if they meet the respec­ti­ve requi­re­ments: to the right of resi­dence for well-inte­gra­ted ado­lescents and young adults (bet­ween the ages of 14 and 27, Sec­tion 25a of the Resi­dence Act) or to the right of resi­dence for adults with sus­tainab­le inte­gra­ti­on (Sec­tion 25b of the Resi­dence Act). The per­sons would then have a resi­dence per­mit for a lon­ger stay.

First and fore­mo­st, after the 18 mon­ths have expi­red, all the gene­ral requi­re­ments for resi­dence must be ful­fil­led, which were not ful­fil­led with the Oppor­tu­ni­ty-Resi­dence-Act, i.e. the (pre­do­mi­nant) secu­ring of live­li­hood, pro­of of iden­ti­ty and natio­na­li­ty and the pass­port obli­ga­ti­on. Howe­ver, excep­ti­ons are also pos­si­ble here.

The exact con­di­ti­ons for the two resi­dence per­mits have also been chan­ged. In our advice notes you will find detail­ed infor­ma­ti­on on the chan­ges to the two resi­dence per­mits. Here you can find check­lists (in Ger­man) for the resi­dence per­mit accord­ing to § 25a Auf­en­thG and § 25b Auf­en­thG.

If peop­le do not meet the requi­re­ments, they recei­ve a Dul­dung again. But even in the­se cases, other pos­si­bi­li­ties under resi­dence law may be pos­si­ble to secu­re the status.

Sin­ce an inten­si­ve con­si­de­ra­ti­on of all pos­si­bi­li­ties under resi­dence law for per­sons with Dul­dung should take place in every case con­stel­la­ti­on, the­se FAQs and our coun­se­ling tips can­not replace inten­si­ve indi­vi­du­al case coun­se­ling of affec­ted persons.

(ja, ie, wr, pva)

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