Residence Permit for Vocational Training (§16g Residence Act)

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Update 31.05.2024

A newly introduced alternative for "Ausbildungsduldung"

The Residence Permit for Vocational Training per § 16g Residence Act (“​​Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Berufsausbildung”) is an alternative to the tolerated stay permit for vocational training (“Ausbildungsduldung”) available for people who are required to leave the country from March 1, 2024. Both options enable the holder to remain in Germany to go through vocational training. You can still opt for “Ausbildungsduldung” if you so choose, but the residence permit for vocational training has some advantages. You can find out what requirements you have to meet and further information here.

What do I need to know?

What is a Residence Permit for Vocational Training or “​​Aufenthaltserlaubnis zur Berufsausbildung”?

A residence permit for vocational training is an option for people who have started vocational training during their asylum procedure and want to continue it after their asylum application has been rejected or those with a tolerated stay permit or “Duldung”. These individuals can, under certain conditions, take up qualified vocational training. The training must lead to a state-recognised professional qualification. The residence permit for vocational training is a so-called “entitlement standard”, meaning if you meet all the requirements, the Immigration Office must issue you this residence permit.

 

Please note: You can still opt for “Ausbildungsduldung” if you so choose. Whether you receive a residence permit for vocational training or an “Ausbildungsduldung” depends in particular on how you cover your living expenses during vocational training. You can also find more information in our chapter on “Ausbildungsduldung”.

  • Unlike “Ausbildungsduldung”, a residence permit for vocational training allows the holder to travel abroad.

Please note: You must comply with the passport requirements and visa regulations. Working abroad (in the EU) without a permit is also forbidden.

  • The residence permit for vocational training makes it easier for you to get exempt from the obligation to live in a specific city/federal state (“Wohnsitzauflage”)

Good to know: People in shared accommodation can move out if they obtain a residence permit for vocational training, but most people with an “Ausbildungsduldung” have to stay there. Immigration authorities rarely approve moving out of accommodation centres with a tolerated stay permit or “Duldung”.

  • The period you hold a residence permit for vocational training is counted towards the 5 years required for the permanent residence permit.
  • You will also be entitled to work for up to 20 hours per week.
  • If necessary, there is the possibility of switching to other residence permits.
Can I obtain a Residence Permit for Vocational Training?

You can obtain a residence permit for vocational training if you have been in Germany:

  • either for at least three months under Section 60a of the Residence Act
  • or are an asylum seeker, and your asylum application was rejected during your vocational training,

And also:

  • you started qualified vocational training in a state-recognised or similarly regulated vocational training, 

    or

  • you started training for an assistant or helper position (“Assistenz- oder Helfer*innenausbildung”) in a state-recognised or similarly regulated training programme and then started professional vocational training (“Berufsausbildung”).

Please note: the Federal Employment Agency must confirm that the vocational training programme in question is required (this happens if the programme is in a shortage occupation, i.e., for instance when there are not enough workers in the field). Your training place must also confirm that you are doing your training there.

The following is what you need to consider when it comes to securing your livelihood:

  • If you receive vocational training assistance (“Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe”) under SGB III, you will be issued a residence permit. The same is the case if you also need additional assistance to secure your livelihood.
  • If you do not receive vocational training assistance under SGB III, you must prove a certain level of net income each month:

If you do not live with your parents: You must have a monthly net income of €632. If you are already going through vocational training and attending a secondary school, it is €736. 

If you still live with your parents (or in a flat that belongs to your parents): A monthly income of €262 is sufficient. If you are already going through vocational training and attending a post-secondary school, you need an income of €474.

Good to know: There is currently no precise information on the language requirements for a residence permit for vocational training. In general, you need a language level of B1 (CEFR) for a residence permit for qualified vocational training (according to Section 16a of the Residence Act). Alternatively, the training company can confirm that the language level is sufficient. It may also be the case that the training company itself offers language learning support during the training. When it comes to nonqualified training, a language level of A2 (CEFR) may be sufficient in exceptional cases (Section 16a, Paragraph 3 of the Residence Act).

 

In which cases will I not receive a Residence permit?

Under certain circumstances, it may be possible that you will not be issued a residence permit. This is the case, for example, if:

  • there are obvious cases of misuse in relation to the residence permit,
  • you come from a safe country of origin, and your asylum application, which was submitted after August 31, 2015, was rejected or withdrawn,
  • you have not yet had a “Duldung” for at least 3 months when you submit your application,
  • your identity has not been clarified,
  • an expulsion order or a deportation order has been issued for you,
  • or some specific measures to end your stay in Germany have already been organised, for instance:

              a) a medical examination to determine your ability to travel has been organised,

              b) you have submitted an application for state aid for voluntary departure,

              c) the booking of means of transport for deportation has been initiated, etc.

 

Is there a deadline for having my identity verified?

The following rules and deadlines apply to clarifying your identity:

  • If you entered the country before December 31, 2016, your identity must be clarified by the time you submit your application.
  • If you entered the country between January 1, 2017 and January 2, 2020, you must have clarified your identity by the time you submit your application, but no later than June 30, 2020.
  • If you entered the country after December 31, 2019, you must have clarified your identity within the first 6 months of entry.

Important: Within these deadlines, you must prove that you have done everything possible and reasonable to clarify your identity.

What is qualified vocational training?

Qualified vocational training is training in a state-recognised or similarly regulated training programme that lasts at least 2 years. A list of all qualified training occupations can be found at bibb.de.

Please note: You can also take up an assistant or helper training course (“Assistenz- oder Helfer*innenausbildung”) in a state-recognised or similarly regulated training programme and then start professional vocational training (“Berufsausbildung”).

Where can I find a training place?

Check out our chapters "Dual Vocational Training" and "School-based Vocational Training" for a detailed answer to this question. Our chapter "Vocational Training: Orientation for Refugees" also provides more information about the support available for vocational training.

How long is it going to take me to obtain a Residence Permit for Vocational Training?

You can apply for a residence permit at the earliest 7 months before the start of vocational training. The residence permit can be issued at the earliest 6 months before the start of vocational training.

Please note: You must arrange a training contract before you submit the application. It is also sufficient if you have the approval of a state or state-recognised educational institution for the training contract.

Sometimes the training contract is required to be entered into the register of vocational training connections (“Verzeichnis der Berufsausbildungsverhältnisse”) at the responsible authority. It is also sufficient if you can show that you have already applied for the entry.

How long is a residence permit for vocational training valid?

The residence permit is valid for as long as the vocational training lasts according to the contract.

What happens if I interrupt or quit the training programme early?

If you interrupt or quit the training programme early, the training provider must notify the responsible Immigration Office in writing or electronically within 2 weeks. The notification must state the reason for quitting and include the starting date of the training, your full name, and your nationality.

If the training relationship ends or is terminated earlier than planned, the residence permit can be extended once by 6 months so that you can look for another training place. During these 6 months, you do not have to prove that you can secure your livelihood (see Section 16 g Paragraph 10 Sentence 3 of the Residence Act).

What happens after I have completed my training?

Once you have completed your training, it is possible that you will be employed by your company. Then you can work where you completed your training. If this is not the case, for example, because the company does not have a vacancy, you must look for another job. In this case, your residence permit will be extended by 6 months to enable you to look for work. Keep in mind that another extension is not possible.

After successfully completing your vocational training, if you have found a job that matches your degree, you can get a residence permit for a period of 2 years. During these 2 years, you must do a job that corresponds to the qualifications you have acquired. But afterwards, you can also look for employment in other fields.

Can I lose my residence permit?

The Immigration Office can revoke your residence permit. Residence permits can be taken away if your employment contract is terminated and you are responsible for it. In such cases, contact a counselling centre in your area promptly. If you need help finding a counselling centre, you can contact our community managers and write to them on our community platform, “Together in Germany

Where and how do I apply for a Residence Permit for Vocational Training?

You can apply for a residence permit for vocational training at the proper Immigration Office. To do this, you must make an appointment at your Immigration Office and personally bring your documents proving the above requirements, as well as a completed form. For more information, contact your Immigration Office or a counselling centre in your area. Our community managers on “Together in Germany” will be happy to help you find a counselling centre.

My application was rejected - what can I do?

In this case, you can apply for an “Ausbildungsduldung”. As an alternative, “Ausbildungsduldung” can help you obtain a residence permit after completing your training. You can find further information on our chapter "Ausbildungsduldung."

Can I travel abroad with a residence permit for vocational training?

Unlike the “Ausbildungsduldung”, a residence permit for vocational training allows the holder to go on trips abroad.

Please note: You must comply with the passport requirements and visa regulations. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to work abroad (in the EU) without a permit.

Am I allowed to work in another job alongside my training?

Yes. You can take on another job for up to 20 hours a week independent of your training.

I have an “Ausbildungsduldung” and now want to apply for the new Residence Permit for Vocational Training. What do I need to do?

If you currently have an “Ausbildungsduldung” and now want to get this new residence permit for vocational training, consider the following:

Anyone who has an “Ausbildungsduldung” has already fulfilled many of the requirements relevant to the residence permit for vocational training. However, it is important to check whether you meet the requirements for securing a livelihood.

The minimum monthly fund requirement is explained in the section "Can I get a residence permit for vocational training?"

If you have enough income during your training and also meet this requirement, you can submit an informal application for a residence permit for vocational training to the responsible Immigration Office.

The Youth Migration Service can also help you with the application.

Where can I find advice & support?

If you have questions about your rights and options, contact a counselling centre in your area. You can find one, for instance, on the Pro Asyl website or the website of your refugee council. You can also find help at the Youth Migration Services or the Migration Counselling Centres for Adults. If you need help finding a counselling centre, you can write to our community managers on our community platform, "Together in Germany". You can also find lawyers who specialise in refugees and asylum seekers issued on our Local Information page. Simply enter the name of the city where you live and search for asylum, residence rights or legal counselling.

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