How much money I have to earn for the settlement permit

Fabian Graske
Fabian Graske

Table of contents

One of the requirements for a settlement permit is a secure livelihood. When exactly your livelihood is considered secure by German authorities, you can find out in this article.

Exactly how much you need to earn is not easy to answer, because the authority makes an individual examination for each foreigner. So how much money you need to have available each month in order to receive a settlement permit depends on many factors: for example, how many people are in your family, whether you are married, what age your children are, and how much your rent is. A simple calculation example can be found at the end of this article.

You are also welcome to use our free test to find out whether you meet all the requirements for a settlement permit.

a) Principle: Secured means of subsistence, § 9 II No. 2 AufenthG

aa) General definitions

The living expenses (= standard requirements + rental costs + health insurance coverage) of a foreigner are to be paid in accordance with the German Income Tax Act. § Section 2 III of the Residence Act, if he or she is able to provide for him or herself and his or her own family (Bedarfsgemeinschaft) from his or her own regular income without recourse to public funds.[1]

Standard requirement within the meaning of § 20 I S. 1 SGB II:

  • z. E.g. Clothing
  • Food
  • Household items
  • Power …

The examination of the securing of subsistence (§ 9 II No. 2 AufenthG) is based on the provisions of SGB II, which is why the need is to be determined according to the social law rules on the community of need. [2]
In principle, the decisive factor is whether the livelihood of the community of need as a whole is secured.[3]
There must be no entitlement to public funds (according to SGB II).

Excursus on the community of need:

  • A community of need also exists in the case of “marriages without a marriage certificate” or patchwork families
  • Pure shared apartments are not a community in need!
  • In the case of persons who are not (no longer) capable of working, the household community is not to be taken into account, but only the individual![4]
  • Children of full age are considered in the community of need as long as they are not economically independent.
  • not yet adults are also taken into account if they are economically independent [5].
  • Upon reaching the age of 25 or marriage, separate consideration of children is generally required [6].
  • Maintenance obligations of the child of full age towards the parents shall not be taken into account to his detriment[7].
  • German family members are not to be taken into account
  • Foreign family members who are obliged to leave the country are included in the community of need[8].

bb) Need according to the standard rates of the SGB II

The needs used to calculate your living expenses are therefore based on the standard rates of § 20 SGB II/§ 27a, 28 SGB XII.
You can find an overview of the current level of the standard rates

Not considered as a receipt of public funds according to. § 2 III AufenthG the receipt of:

  1. Child benefit
  2. Child supplement
  3. Parenting Benefit
  4. Parenting Benefit
  5. Benefits for training assistance in accordance with the Third Book of the Social Code, the Federal Training Assistance Act and the Upgrading Training Assistance Act,
  6. public funds based on contributions or granted to enable residence in the Federal territory and
  7. Benefits under the Advance Maintenance Payments Act.

Housing allowance [9] & care allowance
according to § 37 SGB IX are not included in the calculation of the subsistence allowance, but do not prevent the assumption of a “secure livelihood”.

bb) Forecast decision of the authority

As a rule, a negative certificate from the social welfare agency is nevertheless not sufficient to prove that the person is able to secure his or her livelihood.

The foreigners authority carries out its own calculation of requirements

  • Estimation for the future (also based on retrospective view)[12]
  • “What is required is a positive prognosis that the alien’s subsistence will be secured in the future on a permanent basis without recourse to other public means. This requires a comparison of the probable need for maintenance with the sustainably available means.”[13]
  • “Consideration of career opportunities, employment biography and current income situation” + “Reliability of the inflow of funds”.[14]
  • in case of fluctuating monthly amounts, an average value of the last 6 months is usually calculated[15]
  • Tips can be taken into account if they are customary in the industry[16]
  • Income from a second employment relationship that can only be generated in violation of the maximum working time of 48 hours/week (§ 3 ArbZG) should not be able to be taken into account because it is not sustainable[17]

(P): “too” cheap rent:

  • “If the rent is very cheap and therefore it is not likely that the housing will be available permanently, it should be possible to fall back on the locally appropriate rent.”[18]

(P): Free use:

  • It is assumed that the gratuitous transfer of use is only temporary and the costs actually incurred by the main tenant or owner are recognized.[19]

(P): Home ownership:

  • for the calculation is used the monthly burden of the loans + housing allowance
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b) Privileges for foreigners with refugee status

aa) predominantly secured, Sec. 26 III S. 1 No. 3

  • Better position vs. § 9 II 1 No. 2[20]
  • A predominant means of subsistence is deemed to exist if at least 51% of the needs, including health insurance coverage, can be met without recourse to public funds.[21]
  • This is the case as long as the income from gainful employment as a whole outweighs the state benefits claimed[22]

bb) largely secured, Sec. 26 III S. 3 No. 4′.

  • “The predominant means of subsistence required by Section 26 III, Sentence 2 of the Residence Act exists if the available income from one’s own resources covers significantly more than half of the need, but the subsistence cannot yet be fully met without recourse to public funds.” … “In order to do justice to the intention of the legislator, a much stricter standard is to be applied to the “far predominant livelihood” than in the case of the predominant livelihood; the legislator requires a clear “more” in these cases than in the case of the predominant livelihood.
  • The indeterminate legal term “largely predominant” cannot be given a precise percentage specification, but must be interpreted taking into account the specific facts of life and the above-mentioned intention of the law. A guideline of 75-80% of calculated needs can be used as a guide.”[23]
  • “When the livelihood is “far predominantly” secured cannot be precisely derived from the law. However, it can be assumed that this is the case in any case when the ratio of earned income to government benefits is more favorable than the 3:1 ratio”[24]
  • This phrase, too, should not completely exclude the receipt of social benefits, but it should require the foreigner’s own income to be more extensive than in para. 3, sentence 1, no. 3.[25]

c) Exception according to § 9 II S. 6 i.V.m. S. 3

In the event of physical, mental or psychological illness or disability, the provision of a livelihood (No. 2) shall be waived.

e) Example of livelihood security

aa) Principle

In order to be granted a settlement permit, you must prove, among other things, that you are able to secure your own or your family’s livelihood (= standard requirements according to SGB II + rent + health insurance contributions) independently (without state support through social welfare or Hartz 4). In this context, the receipt of benefits within the meaning of § 2 para. 3 AufenthG such as child benefit, parental benefit or BaföG are irrelevant!

So exactly how much you need to earn depends on how many people are in your family, whether you are married, what age your children are, how much your rent is….

The following is a simplified presentation with exemplary figures:

Example: Mohammed + Halima + son Ahmed (2 years old)


Standard rate for spouse or partner* (Mohammed) 401 €
Standard rate for spouse or partner* (Halima) + 401 €
Standard rate for a child up to 6 years* (2-year-old son Ahmed) + 283 €
Individual (warm) rent + 600 €
Calculated needs of the family 1.685 €

*To understand where the values for the rule rates come from, look at this table on Wikipedia.

Monthly income:

Net income ofMohammed 1.000 €
Net income ofHalima + 1.000 €
+ child benefit + 190 €
Funds available 2.190 €

The subsistence according to § 9 para. 2 No. 2 AufenthG is secured here!

(This means that with their monthly income of €190, Mohammed and Halima can cover their minimum subsistence needs of €1,685, calculated according to legally determined standard rates).

bb) Special regulation for refugees

If you are in possession of a residence permit that classifies you as a refugee within the meaning of § 25 para. 1 sentence 1. alternative of the Residence Act, you have 2 possibilities to get a settlement permit:

(1) acc. § 26 para. 3 Sentence 1 after 5 years

For this, the livelihood of your family must be predominantly secured.

This means that more than half of the money needed for living must come from your own income. However, you may receive social benefits in addition to this.

In our example (see above), Mohammed and his wife would have to jointly earn at least €843 per month, regardless of the shares. This corresponds to slightly more than half of their total monthly needs under the Social Code. Mohammed and Halima can receive the remaining amount that is necessary for living according to the calculated needs of the family (in this case 842 €) from the state, without this being problematic for the granting of the settlement permit.

(50% of €1,685 = €842.50)

(2) according to. § 26 para. 3 Sentence 3 after 3 years

In order to be able to obtain a settlement permit after 3 years as a refugee, you must finance your livelihood largely from your own resources.

This means that your own gainful employment must cover at least 75% of the costs for food, housing and everyday necessities. However, complete independence from social benefits is not necessary here either.

Transferring this to our Examplefamily (Mohammed + Halima; see above), the law requires a total calculated need of 1.685 €that Mohammed and his wife together have at least a total monthly income of about 1.265 € dispose Whether this money is generated by Mohammed and Halima together or, for example, by Mohammed alone, is irrelevant. The family is allowed to receive social benefits on the side to a small extent without this being detrimental to the granting of the settlement permit.

(75 % of 1.685 € = 1263,75 €)

You still have questions?

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As you can see, the calculation of Secured Living Allowance is very complex and depends on the individual case. We have only been able to give you a small excerpt of the various regulations here.

You are not yet sure whether you meet all the requirements for the settlement permit?
Simply take our free test!



[2] BVerwG NVwZ-RR 2012, 333.

[3] BVerwG, U. v. 16.8.2011 -1 C 4.10 – NVwZ-RR 2012, 333, para. 14.

[4] BVerwG, 18.04.2013, 10 C 10.12, para. 19

[5] VAB*

[6] VAB

[7] BVerwG, 28.09.2004, 1 C 10.03.

[8] BVerwG 08.04.2015, 1 B 15.15.

[9] BVerwG, 29.11.2012, 10 C 5.12; previously also Nds. OVG, 20.03.2012, 8 LC 277/10, so also VAB

[10] BeckOK AuslR/Maor, 27th ed. 1.102020, AufenthG § 9 Rn. 12a.

[11] Renner/Bergmann/Dienelt, § 2 para. 15.

[12] Bergmann/Dienelt, 13th ed. 2020, AufenthG § 9 Rn. 38.

[13] BVerwG; 26.08.2008, 1 C 32.07; BVerwG 29.11.2012, 10 C 4.12, para. 25.

[14] No. 2.3.3 VV-AufenthG; BVerwG, 07.04 2009, 1 C 17.08, para. 33; OVG BBg, 13.04.2010, OVG 11 S 12.10.

[15] VAB

[16] VAB

[17] VG Berlin, 29.09.2011, 33 V 106.08.

[18] OVG Berlin-Brandenburg, 14.04.2010, OVG 11 S 12.10.

[19] e.g. VAB

[20] Bergmann/Dienelt/Röcker, 13th ed. 2020, AufenthG § 26 Rn. 28.

[21] BeckOK AuslR/Maaßen/Kluth, 27th ed. 1.102020, AufenthG § 26 Rn. 16a.

[22] Bergmann/Dienelt/Röcker, 13th ed. 2020, AufenthG § 26 Rn. 28.

[23] Land authorities, decision of 29.09.2017 – 14.21 – 12230/1-8 (§ 26) – M25534

[24] BeckOK AuslR/Maaßen/Kluth, 27th ed. 1.102020, AufenthG § 26 Rn. 16b.

[25] Bergmann/Dienelt/Röcker, 13th ed. 2020, AufenthG § 26 Rn. 33.

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