Family members often first need a valid visa to enter Germany. This is the case, for example, when applying for a long-term residence permit per § 5 (2) No. 1 German Residence Act. This must be a visa for the specific purpose of the stay, i.e. for a family reunion. A national visa is required for long-term stays exceeding 90 days.
In exceptional cases, e.g. if the requirements for a right to be granted a residence permit are met or if it is not reasonable to repeat the visa procedure due to special circumstances in the individual case, the entry with a visa may be waived. Besides, a visa may be waived if the family members are nationals of a state listed in Annex II of the EU Visa Regulation (1806/2018) (§ 39 S. 1 No. 3 AufenthV). These include Andorra, Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino and the United States of America. In this case, the entitlement requirements to the granting of a residence permit must have arisen after entry.
The visa must be applied for at the German mission abroad in the home country or in the country where the person joining the country has his or her habitual residence.