Family Reunification

German Visa / Residence Permit for Partner and Children

If your spouse is a citizen of Andorra, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Canada, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, USA, Japan, the Republic of South Korea, Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the application for a Residence permit after family reunification must be issued after entry. New partners have an obligation to register their place of residence with the residents’ registration office shortly after arriving in Germany.

Family members of non-EU/EEA citizens or Swiss citizens may be granted a residence permit in Germany if the foreign national holds a settlement permit or a residence permit and 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 three possible cases:

  • For a German national
  • For a foreigner who has a residence permit in Germany
  • For a foreigner who is a national of a member state of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland

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. The foreigner must have adequate health insurance coverage and the financial means to support the family. This will usually be an employment contract or a tax report as proof (Section 29 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 of knowledge of the German language at a basic A1 level should be provided by the family member joining you. However, no knowledge of German is required to join a skilled worker.
  • Copy of identity card
  • Certified and legalized translation of the marriage certificate
  • If a child joins you: certified and legalized birth 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:
    • When it comes to family reunification, the principle works similarly in terms of evidence and evidence if 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 granted.

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

We are a multilingual, international and interdisciplinary team. For questions or to set up an initial call, call us or send an email via our Contact form.