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Germany: The rights and obligations of those possessing an "aufenthaltsgenehmigung" (January 1998 - January 1999)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 January 1999
Citation / Document Symbol DEU30816.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Germany: The rights and obligations of those possessing an "aufenthaltsgenehmigung" (January 1998 - January 1999), 1 January 1999, DEU30816.E, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


A 22 December 1998 letter sent to the Research Directorate by two documentalists with the Legal Documentation Service section of the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFL) in Nuremberg states:

Aufenthaltsgenehmigung is the generic term of all types of residence permit that are granted by the authorities.

The Aufenthaltsbewilligung is strictly restricted to a specific purpose and only grants a temporary stay (e.g. for seasonal work, study at university).

The Aufenthaltsbefugnis gives the right to a temporary stay for humanitarian reasons or for reasons of international law. It can also be granted in order to protect national interests.

The Aufenthaltserlaubnis is a type of residence permit that can be granted for all kinds of purposes that do not involve a merely temporary stay. At present an Aufenthaltserlaubnis is only given to children and spouses who want to join their families already living here in Germany. In rare cases it is given to members of specific professions. Initially the Aufenthaltserlaubnis is restricted to a certain period of time. On certain conditions - particularly with regard to the amount of time an alien has already stayed here (5 years) - the Aufenthaltserlaubnis will be renewed for an indefinite period. The Aufenthaltserlaubnis is the legal basis of any long-term stay in Germany.

Usually the Aufenthaltserlaubnis involves the right to work. If the Aufenthaltserlaubnis is limited, the work permit is limited too. The right to own property is usually unrestricted.

If foreign citizens in possession of an Aufenthaltserlaubnis are employed, they enjoy a number of social benefits resulting from employment (e.g. free health care, unemployment benefit in case of unemployment after having worked for some time). If a person is self-employed, he or she must provide for private health insurance.

Unfortunately we are not able to specify all rights and obligations connected to the Aufenthaltserlaubnis. This is a complicated legal matter and any definite answer that might be given depends on the individual case. It is difficult to say if or to what extent a foreign citizen in possession of an Aufenthaltserlaubnis who is in need can receive welfare benefit (that includes medical care). This depends on individual circumstances.

Aufenthaltsberechtigung (right of residence) is the form of residence permit that grants the safest status for aliens in Germany. It offers comprehensive protection from deportation and is not restricted in time or place. The only condition that may be imposed is a ban on political activities.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFL), Nuremberg. Correspondence from two documentalists of the Legal Documentation Centre.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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