Family Reunification

German Visa / Residence Permit for Partner and Children

Family members of foreign nationals may be granted permission to live in Germany if the foreigner possesses a settlement permit or a residence permit and if sufficient living space is available.

Spouses of foreign nationals can for instance claim a residence permit if the foreigner possesses a settlement permit or a residence permit for the purpose of self-employment. Additionally, the marriage must have already existed at the time the foreigner was granted the permit and the duration of the foreigner‘s stay is expected to exceed one year. If the foreigner possesses a residence permit for the purpose of economic activity (employed or self-employed), the spouse may take up work as well

If these requirements are not met, it is still possible for a residence permit to be granted on a discretionary basis.

Children (under 18 years of age) of a foreigner can claim a residence permit if both parents hold a residence permit or settlement permit, and if the children relocate to Germany with their parents.

Who can file a family reunion application?

A prerequisite for family reunification is that a family member has an appropriate residence permit.

Here are two possible cases:

  • For a German national
  • For a foreigner who has a residence permit in Germany

Depending on the above cases, different regulations may be applied:

1) The residence permit is to be issued to the

foreign spouse of a German,
minor unmarried child of a German,
Parent of a minor single German for the exercise of caring

if the German has his habitual residence in the Federal territory. (§ 28 Residence Act).

2) For family reunification to a foreigner:

  1. the foreigner must to have a settlement permit, EU permanent residence permit, residence permit or EU Blue Card, and
  2. adequate living space available. (§ 19 Residence Act).

For a successful family reunification, a visa for entry is required in advance.

This must be applied for at the foreign representation of Germany in country of origin or in German embassy in the home country of the family. The relevant authority will require a number of evidences before making a decision regarding the visa. Since original documents are often required, the German family member may also provide the appropriate evidence to the competent immigration office.

The following proof must be provided at least:

  • Proof that the newcomer has gained a basic knowledge of the German language. Required here is the level A1 of the Goethe-Institute
  • Copy of identity card
  • An informal invitation from the family member living in Germany
  • When a spouse joins: marriage certificate
  • Three passport photos of the applicant (family member)
  • As foreign authorities and embassies in connection with family reunification visa work hand in hand, the necessary documents may be submitted to both authorities.
  • Extra documents for joining to a non-German:
  • For family reunification, regarding the evidence and proof, the principle works similarly when family members want to join a non-German who has a residence permit in this country.
  • However, the regulations require much more evidence before a spouse or child visa is issued:
  • There must be enough living space for the whole family. Here you can, for example, submit a lease.

In addition, it must be ensured that the livelihood is secured for all. This usually will be a contract of employment or a tax report as proof.

Get in touch to find out everything you need to start your family reunification process.

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