Family Reunification in Germany

German Immigration Lawyers

Family Reunification in Germany

German Immigration Lawyers

Settling into a new country is much easier when people have their families with them. Family reunification allows people living and working in Germany to share their experiences with their loved ones. However, just as there are many ways by which a person can live and work in Germany, there are also many ways by which family reunification can occur. The requirements necessary will also depend on the situation in question.

Family reunification is an area of immigration law in which we specialise here at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte. If you require legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our team directly using the contact form below.

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Requirements for Family Reunification

Third-country nationals who want to act as sponsors for a spouse or registered partner, a child, a parent or another family member will usually need to be in possession of the following:

In addition, there must be sufficient living space for the sponsor and the family member joining them (§ 29 (1) 2 German Residence Act), and the requirements of § 5(1) of the German Residence Act have to be met:

  • sponsors will usually have to prove that they can provide for themselves and the family member joining them,
  • verification of the identity and nationality of the persons,
  • the passport obligation must be met,
  • the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany must not be compromised or jeopardized,
  • there must be no grounds for expulsion.

A more detailed description of some of these requirements and the exemptions for specific groups can be found under the Requirements for exercising the right to family reunification.

The sponsor and, in some cases, the immigrating family members will need to meet additional requirements before foreign spouses, or registered partners, children, parents, and other family members can enter Germany.
However, several groups of persons can benefit from preferential treatment and may be partially or fully exempt from the requirements for family reunification set out below.

Family Reunification of Spouses and Registered Partners

In case of family reunification of a spouse or registered partner with a third-country national in Germany, besides the above-mentioned regulations and requirements, § 30(1) German Residence Act imposes additional requirements:

  • both spouses or partners need to be at least 18 years of age
  • the immigrating spouse or registered partner “can communicate in the German language at least on a basic level” (level A1 CEFR)
  • the spouse or registered partner already residing in Germany must either possess
    • a permanent residence permit
    • an EU long-term residence permit
    • an EU blue card
    • a residence permit for research reasons
    • a residence permit for third-country nationals being granted the right to asylum, as a recognized refugee or a beneficiary of subsidiary protection, or
      • has held a residence permit for two years and the residence permit is not subject to a subsidiary provision according to § 8(2) German Residence Act, or the subsequent issuance of a settlement permit has not been ruled out under the rule of law, or
      • is in possession of a residence permit if the marriage or civil partnership existed at the time of said permit being granted and the duration of the third-country national’s stay in the federal territory is expected to exceed one year, or
      • possesses a residence permit under § 38a German Residence Act, and the marriage or civil partnership already existed in the Member State of the European Union in which the third-country national has the status of a long-term resident

The age requirement, the language requirement as well as further requirements may be waived for some of the mentioned status groups under specific conditions (Section 30 (1) and (2) German Residence Act, see section “Integration Measures: Language Skills”). However, a reunification of spouses and registered partners may also be denied (see section: “Exclusion from the right to family reunification”).

Family Reunification of Minors (Extended to Adopted, Foster and Stepchildren)

§ 32 of the German Residence Act sets out the following additional requirements: