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Let's talk about the SONDERAUSWEIS

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Hello, all. I could not find any thread on the forum dedicated to the 'Sonderausweis' (special permit) – in fact, the internet is more generally stumped when it comes to it, too – so I thought about creating one here. Feel free to add other talking points concerning it here.

 

Some context: I am a non-EU citizen, and will graduate from a German university soon. As such, I have access to the German job market and will be able to apply for permanent residency (in Germany) after two years of full-time employment (compared to other non-EU citizens who did not study in Germany, and can only apply after five years).

 

I was recently offered a position at an intergovernmental organization in Germany, but was notified that the 'Auswaertiges Amt' (Federal Foreign Office) in Germany will issue both me and my spouse a 'Sonderausweis', which allows us to stay and work in Germany, as well as travel in the Schengen area.

 

I have many questions about the 'Sonderausweis', but I have failed to find concrete answers. Can anyone help?

 

  1. How long does it take to get the 'Sonderausweis'? / What is the processing time?
  2. If I get the 'Sonderausweis', can I still apply for permanent residency in Germany after two years?
  3. Is it possible to refuse a 'Sonderausweis' and to merely apply for and work with a 'normal' German work permit at the intergovernmental organization (which is in Germany)? 
  4. Spouses and other family members also (automatically) get the 'Sonderausweis'. Can they apply for any job in Germany, or are they only allowed to work at intergovernmental or supranational organizations?
  5. My contract is only for a year. Thereafter, will I still be able to apply for the (18-month) job seeking visa, for example, or a work permit, if I find another job?
  6. Are there any other benefits to a 'Sonderausweis' that I have not addressed (work and stay in Germany, travel in the Schengen area)?

 

Thank you for reading this far. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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It could be that the term Sonderausweis is being used in this case to describe a type of combined internal pass and travel permit, which other governmental entities would more commonly refer to as a Dienstausweis and is the required ID needed to carry out everyday simple functions like accessing entire buildings or certain limited access parts of public bulidings. 

 

Historically Sonderausweise were issued during the 1933 - 1945 period as permits to people whose right to travel or hold a regular German Ausweis or Reisepass was limited by legislation (e.g.; Jews, Sinti, Roma, etc.) and then, from 1945 - 1990, for German citizens authorized to transit certain sensitive zone boundary areas by each of the 4 military goverments of the allied occupying powers.

 

Between 1949 and 1990 there were also numerous examples of Sonderausweis being issued to both German and non-German citizens by entities of the East German government. Again these were mainly used as ID documents enabling the holder to travel into, through or beyond the perimeters of the then GDR.

 

However, depending on the sensitivity of either the work you may be considering taking up or the specific governmental departments concerned, the ability to qualify for the issue of a Sonderausweis may be an essential condition of employment.

 

4 hours ago, slabzaier said:
  1. How long does it take to get the 'Sonderausweis'? / What is the processing time?
  2. If I get the 'Sonderausweis', can I still apply for permanent residency in Germany after two years?
  3. Is it possible to refuse a 'Sonderausweis' and to merely apply for and work with a 'normal' German work permit at the intergovernmental organization (which is in Germany)? 
  4. Spouses and other family members also (automatically) get the 'Sonderausweis'. Can they apply for any job in Germany, or are they only allowed to work at intergovernmental or supranational organizations?
  5. My contract is only for a year. Thereafter, will I still be able to apply for the (18-month) job seeking visa, for example, or a work permit, if I find another job?
  6. Are there any other benefits to a 'Sonderausweis' that I have not addressed (work and stay in Germany, travel in the Schengen area)?

 

1) Nobody here can say for sure. If it involves having to first pass a security check (Sicherheitsprüfung) then that would depend on the step (Stufe) number of that check. The simplest cases at the lowest step may be cleared in 6 - 12 weeks, whereas the next higher step may take as many months and more complex cases could stretch beyond that.

 

2) It should have no effect on whatever rights are granted under your existing residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) unless you were to give that residence permit up or apply for a different type in which case that choice may well cause changes to the qualifying periods.

 

3) If it functions primarily as an internally required ID without which you could not access either the buildings, offices or perhaps the libraries or databanks then I would say probably not.


4) You should ask the AA these questions. I would imagine it would, outside Germany, have no more effectivity than that of a transit visa travel document and, even inside Germany, I would certainly not assume it would automatically add to or remove any existing limitations or enablements such individuals already enjoyed.

 

NB: Employees of the German AA abroad are notorious for making statements to applicants for visas concerning their potential entitlements and issuing supposedly reliable information which, once the applicant is in Germany, proves not capable of being relied upon in practice.

 

5) No. The one-time option of obtaining an 18 month job-seeking visa expires with the first issue of a visa with a permit to work. If you find another job you may apply for a new visa with permission to work or, if not, a 6 month job seeking visa.

 

6) It probably gets you access to some well-subsidized restaurant, canteen, gym, golf, tennis, squash or other sports club facilities and may possibly even include the entitlement to make tax-free purchases in person outside Germany (or perhaps outside the EU) under certain circumstances as well.

 

2B

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Thanks so much for taking the time to reply, @2B_orNot2B. There's some wonderful insight in what you wrote. Yes, you're right: The AA have (or should have) the answers – but it's been quite hard to get someone to actually talk to there; people have bounced me around quite often, and the Auslaenderbehoerde seem not to be involved (or care *cough) about the matter. I wish I had the financial means to consult with a lawyer, but unfortunately I don't at the moment.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, slabzaier said:

I wish I had the financial means to consult with a lawyer, but unfortunately I don't at the moment.

 

You may be able to obtain a Beratungsschein from the Amtsgericht in Leipzig which would enable you to have an advisory consultation with a lawyer for which your contribution would be limited to 15€. Please read very carefully through the applicable pinned topic in the Legal forum for details.

 

How to get legal advice or representation in court if you have limited means or a low income.

 

When using the search tool mentioned in that post you should look not only for a Rechtsanwalt who claims to have the ability to consult in your chosen Fremdsprache but is also a Fachanwalt für Migrationsrecht.

 

Good luck!

 

2B

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Sorry for brining it up after a while, actually very interesting topic

@slabzaier did you manage to clarify any of those points in AA after? I'm in exactly the same situation and 2,3 points are particularly relevant to my case.

 

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I am also in the same circumstances. Points 2 and 3 are also applicable to me. Seems that not many people have the answers. Let us know how it turned out, or what the answers are.

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