Blue Card holder but I have to go back to my country


I'm a Blue Card holder and been living in Berlin with my wife for a year now. I have to go back to my home country and probably stay there for a couple of years due to personal issues. I understand that my Blue Card will get voided but in the future, we want to come back and live in Germany again.

A couple of questions:
1- What are the steps I should take before leaving Germany? I heard there is a de-registeration process
2- Knowing that we want to be back in the future, what should be taken into consideration?
3- Is there a way to ask German Foreign Office to not void the Blue Card and hold it for 2-3 years?

Thank you in advance.

1. You have to de-register at the local Bürgeramt within a week of your move.
2. This is up to you - no formal requirements.
3. I am not sure about the blue card, but for normal residence permits this is possible if you are leaving for a limited time (i.e. you need a clear plan when and how you will return). Ask your local Ausländerbehörde!

Thanks Beppi for reply.

Would the situation have been different if I had a Permanent Residence Permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis)? What happens if I leave Germany for extended period of time but for intentions to come back in 2-3 years after I have my Permanent Residence Permit?

That is exactly what I was referring to:
A Niederlassungserlaubnis (residence permit) expires when you leave Germany for "non-temporary" reasons. That is normally considered an absence of 6 months or longer - but a longer absence which is planned as temporary from the start (e.g. a one-year job placement abroad) can be accepted by prior arrangement with the Ausländerbehörde (foreigners office). You need to submit written proof and have a fixed end date to get their permission.

Thanks Beppi for reply.

Let's say I de-register and leave by end of this year and thus my Blue Card gets voided. When I'm back in the future, would this 1+ year of Blue Card residency be counted towards Permanent Residency requirement of 21 or 33 months or I will start from zero?

I know I will definitely be back in 2-3 years to permanently reside here. That's why I want to make sure by the time I leave, I have everything setup accordingly for a smoother return.

You need continuous residency to get get the permanent permit.
Thus you will start from zero when you return.

A bit of a side issue to the original question is the terminology of the word permanent say vs unlimited. It is often spoken of permanent residency but no such thing actually exists. One usually starts with a limited residency (Befristetesaufenhaltserlaubnis) and this will usually be annulled early if one leaves Germany for more than 6 months. The next level is the unlimited (Unbefristetesaufenhaltserlaubnis) which allows one to stay indefinitely but it will be annulled after 6 months out of Germany but one can usually get an extension to 12 months. The more permanent settlement permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis) can also be annulled if one leaves for more than 6 months if one has no intention to return – something that can be interpreted different ways. One can almost always get an extension to a minimum of 12 months, often longer,  if they support themselves, rather than live from social assistance, especially if one is spending the time out of Germany in another EU country. Other factors are if one has lived at least 15 years in Germany or is married to a German which can often mean an extension for some years; again depending on if one has ties to Germany, intends to return and doesn’t need assistance.

The upshot is that nothing short of getting citizenship is really permanent and answering how long one might be allowed to leave Germany with a settlement permit and return varies according to multiple factors.

To the original question I would add Beepi is correct that one would start from zero if returning with a new blue card in the scenario given. An exception is if one would say work 2 years in Germany with a blue card and then go to another EU country where they work with a blue card (one has to get a separate one for each country) for a year – and then return to Germany to again work with a blue card. In this case they would minus the year absent from the time previously spent and one would be left with a year towards the time needed to qualify for a settlement permit rather than zero. But the time out of Germany cannot be more than 2 years. This is just one example of how despite general rules there are often details or exceptions to the subject of immigration. Getting first hand advice from someone with a similar situation can be misleading however when some seemingly minor factors differ. Even the German immigration BAMF site often skips details and one needs to look at the actual underlying laws which are often, but not always, sourced with a link on the German version pages  but not the English ones.

Here is a link in German to the specific laws for the conditions on which one gets their residency permit annulled: … G001301310

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