Will I get a settlement permit despite having a criminal record?

Fabian Graske
Fabian Graske

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The settlement permit is an unlimited right of residence for eternity, which means that you may live in Germany forever. Before issuing a settlement permit, Germany wants to ensure that only those foreigners who comply with German laws are granted a permanent right of residence. In this blog article, we explain whether you can apply for a settlement permit despite having a criminal record.

Those who violate rules may not receive the settlement permit.

You can find the legal basis in § 9 para. 2 Sentence 1 No. 4 AufenthG. This is literally what it says:

[…] (2) A foreigner shall be granted a settlement permit if […]

reasons of
public safety or order
taking into account the seriousness or nature of the breach of public security or order or the danger posed by the foreigner, taking into account the duration of previous residence and the existence of ties in the Federal territory, do not preclude […].

Unfortunately, the law is very vague at this point. The question arises, from which violations on the settlement permit will be

Thus, the law does not deny settlement permits to those who pose a threat to public safety and order. Unfortunately, the law is very vague at this point. The question arises, from which violations on the settlement permit will be

One thing is obvious: In the case of administrative offenses (running a red light) or simple misdemeanors (“driving while black on public transportation), the settlement permit will still be issued.

In the case of serious crimes (e.g. murder and manslaughter), the settlement permit will not be issued under any circumstances.

As soon as you are considered “previously convicted” in Germany, the settlement permit is more likely not to be granted

The reference point for this is § 12a StAG. It literally states:

“Naturalization shall not take into consideration:

the imposition of educational measures or disciplinary measures under the Juvenile Justice Act,
Sentences to fines of up to 90 daily rates and
Sentences of imprisonment of not more than three months suspended and remitted at the end of the probationary period.”

Even though this provision is about naturalization and not about the settlement permit, it can be used as a good guideline.


  • § 9a AufenthG, Maor, Kommentar BeckOK Ausländerrecht, Kluth/Heusch, 28th edition, as of 01.01.2021, para. 11

If you have been sentenced by the criminal court to at least 91 daily sentences or to more than 3 months imprisonment by means of a penalty order or a judgment, the Foreigners’ Registration Office will not grant you the settlement permit.

When do I get the settlement permit?

We check for you according to which legal regulation you can obtain the settlement permit the fastest and easiest way. Let us advise you!

How do you proceed if you are under investigation?

If you are already under investigation, it is imperative that you observe the following:

  1. Preliminary proceedings opened
    The police are investigating you for a criminal offense. In this case, you should try everything to have the preliminary proceedings discontinued. With the help of a lawyer, you should already try at this point to have the preliminary proceedings discontinued, in case of doubt against payment of a higher fine. In any case, take the matter seriously. The sooner you work to get the case dismissed, the greater your chances of success.
  2. Penalty order issued
    If a penalty order has been issued against you, always file an appeal against the penalty order. Make sure that you only have two weeks to file the appeal. In particular, if you have been “sentenced” to more than 90 day sentences, you must try to reduce the sentence through the appeals process. After filing the plea, it is a good idea to contact the prosecutor and the judge to agree on a lesser sentence. With good legal advice, you have a realistic chance of reducing the sentence below 91 day sentences.
  3. Charges filed by the public prosecutor’s office
    If charges have already been filed against you, the same applies! Try to have the proceedings discontinued by way of a plea bargain, in case of doubt against a fine. It is crucial for you to know that under no circumstances should you receive a sentence above 90 daily rates or 3 months imprisonment. For very serious crimes, it will usually be difficult to negotiate the sentence down if you cannot prove your innocence in the criminal proceedings.

permanent residence permit for you and your family

If you file an application without a lawyer, you may currently face enormous waiting times and processing times due to the overload of the authorities, as an extreme wave of applications is to be expected in the coming months and years.

Advantages of applying through migrando:

  1. We take over the entire application process
  2. We help you reduce or prevent penalties
  3. We cooperate with very good specialist lawyers for criminal law, whom we recommend as far as necessary.

Obtain permanent right of residence easily with migrando


If you want to obtain the settlement permit as an unlimited right of residence, you should not commit a criminal offense in any case. Minor misdemeanors and infractions are not problematic as long as you do not exceed the limit of 90 daily rates. Incidentally, you may not commit a criminal offense even during the application process. You must be clean until the settlement permit is issued. If you have a criminal record in Germany, you will have many other disadvantages. In some cases, you will not be able to work in government offices, you will not be allowed to start a business, you will not receive loans, and this will also prevent you from becoming a naturalized citizen.

Adhere to law and order to obtain the settlement permit as soon as possible.

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You have the right of permanent residence in Germany! We check your requirements free of charge and enforce your right!

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