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I am an exchange student in Berlin. I am a British passport holder and entered Germany on 26 September 2023 with the visa-free 90/180 period that my passport allows. Later, I received a residence permit on 10 November 2023 valid until 31 March 2024. My studies end in July 2024 so I will need to extend my permit closer to the date of expiration. However, I would really like to travel around the same time that my residence permit expires (February to April 2024).

Ideally, I will try to extend my permit before leaving the country. By this point, I will also hopefully have an appointment (or at least have applied) to extend my permit if that would help at border control. However, if I am unable to do so, would I be able to re-enter Germany with an expired residence permit considering I have a pending renewal application?

I cannot find a straight answer anywhere so any help or information would be really appreciated.

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When you apply for renewal, you are given a paper (not sure its name in Germany, but in Austria it's called an Einreichsbestaetigung) which shows you have a pending residence permit application. This can be used to reenter Germany along with your old permit and passport.

As a Brit you can come in even without that paper. A stay in Germany with a residence permit does not count toward your visa free stay. The only risk with leaving while awaiting a permit renewal is that you may miss an important letter from the immigration authority. I would advise you ask a friend or roomie to notify you of any letter from the authority.

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