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June 1998

Getting a Residence Permit

The most important steps, in order to get a Residence Permit for Munich, Germany.

Foreigners live in Germany for many reasons. Some are here as tourists or on temporary work assignments, while others remain for a lifetime. In order to take up residence here, all Ausländer must fulfill certain registration requirements, but your country of origin does make a difference in the paperwork you must complete. Citizens from European Union countries can stay in Germany for up to three months and do not need a work permit to take up employment. People from countries without visa requirements or other restrictions may remain for up to three months, but may not work here. Anyone staying in Germany for more than three months has to register (anmelden) their whereabouts through the Einwohnermeldeamt (residents' registration office). The central registration point for Munich is located on the ground floor of the district administration department Kreisverwaltungsreferat (KVR, tel. 233 02 50, Ruppertstraße 19, U3 or U6 to Poccistraße). Alternatively, you can register at one of the branch offices (Einwohnermeldestellen) around the city, which normally have shorter lines, or by post. If you live outside the Munich city limits, register at your local town hall (Rathaus).>One person can register the whole family if he brings all the necessary passports. A sample application form (Anmeldung bei der Meldebehörde) is on display at the KVR with English translations. When filling in your religion, be aware that if you register as Catholic or Protestant (evangelisch), Germany's church tax (Kirchensteuer) will be deducted from your wages. Whether foreign or not, whenever you move, you must de-register (abmelden) and re-register your new address. Keep track of your registration document; you will need it to apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis or Aufenthaltsgenehmigung), which you will need if you intend to remain in the country for more than three months. Remember to apply well before your deadline, as individual circumstances or incomplete documentation can delay the process. Residence permits are issued at the "aliens' office" (Aus-länderamt) on the first floor of the KVR. It opens at 8:00, but go early because crowds build up fast. Follow the signs for "Ausländer/Aufenthalt." If you live outside of Munich, apply at the Landratsamt at Mariahilfplatz 17 (tel. 622 10). In addition to the application form, (translated samples are available at the KVR), you will need your passport, the police registration form (Anmeldung) and two passport-size photos. You will probably also need your rental contract and a letter from your employer or work permit (Arbeitserlaubnis), as residence permits are issued only to people who can prove they have somewhere to live and sufficient means to support themselves. Other necessary documents might include proof of health insurance and, where relevant, of your status as a student, or your marriage certificate if you are married to a German citizen. Non-EU citizens may need a medical examination, including a chest x-ray and AIDS test at the Gesundheitsamt (health department, Dachauer Str. 90, tel. 233 03 75). Residence permits are either stamped in your passport or issued as a separate card which you should carry with your passport whenever you cross the German border. Some residence permits for non-EU citizens forbid you from working on a self-employed basis, and residence permits are normally limited (befristet), that is, valid only for a limited time period. Permanent (unbefristet) residence permits are usually given only after you have been here legally for at least five years, or three years if your spouse is German. After four years of marriage to a German, foreigners acquire their own independent right to a residence permit. This can be vital if the relationship breaks up. In cases of severe hardship, this four-year waiting period may be waived. Next month, Red Tape Unwound looks at residence permit restrictions and obligations .

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