A Residence Permit (Aufenthaltstitel) expires 6 months after the departure from Germany. It means that if you hold a temporary German Residence Permit (Aufenthaltstitel) then you can stay outside Germany for not more than 6 months. You have to come back to Germany before the expiration of six months.
If it is necessary for you to stay outside Germany for more than 6 months then you must take special permission from the Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde) before leaving Germany. You cannot re-enter in Germany after the expiration of this 6 month period. Therefore it’s better to take permission from the local Immigration Office before leaving Germany.
Who can stay outside Germany for more than 6 months?
Only some special persons are allowed to stay outside Germany for more than 6 months. These special persons are:
- A student at a German university who wants to study one or two semesters in a foreign university.
- A social worker.
- A family member of a German diplomat.
- An employee of a company that has headquartered outside Germany and wants to go there on a special visit.
Rules for holders of Blue Card and Permanent Residence:
A person who carries a permanent residence permit can stay abroad for a maximum of 6 months. It is necessary for this person to fly back before the expiration of the 6-month duration. A holder of Blue Card can stay outside Germany for a maximum of one year. All these rules are also the same for the family members of Blue Card and Aufenthaltstitel holders.
Conclusion: The holders of temporary and permanent residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel) must fly back to Germany before the expiration of six months. A holder of Blue Card and his family members must flyback before the expiration of 12 months. You can stay abroad for longer than 6 months if you have special permission from Ausländerbehörde.
What should I do if I stay out of Germany for more than 6 months?
If you lived outside Germany for more than 6 months then first, it would be better to contact with German embassy and take guidance from them. Alternatively, you can write to your Ausländerbehörde, with all your visa details, situation (why you stayed longer), and request for ‘Fiktionsbescheinigung’ so you can travel back without problems.
Once you contact Ausländerbehörde then they will send Fiktionsbescheinigung directly to the German Embassy present in your country and inform you about this. You can pick it from the German Embassy and use it while traveling back to Germany.
(These are just recommendations according to best of my knowledge, you can get more accurate information from the German embassy.)