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Family Reunification in Germany

Settling into a new country is much easier when a person has their family 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 end up living and working in Germany, there are also many manners 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 Attorneys. You will find a detailed breakdown of the law in Germany relating to this field on this page. However, as you can see from the detail involved here, this is a complicated legal area, and professional assistance can be a great aid throughout the process. Our legal team is experienced and knowledgeable in the field of family reunification and Germany and has worked with clients from all over the world. Using the contact form below, you can contact our experts for specialised counsel and support.

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Family reunification in Germany can lead to greater happiness and fulfilment

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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:

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 he or she can provide for him- or herself 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 certain groups can be found under Requirements for exercising the right to family reunification.

Both 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 a 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 “is able to 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 settlement 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 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 pursuant to § 8(2) German Residence Act or the subsequent issuance of a settlement permit has not been ruled out by virtue of a 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 on year, or
      • possesses a residence permit pursuant to § 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:

  • the child has to be an unmarried minor
  • the parents or the parents possessing the sole right of care and custody is in possession of:
    • a residence permit
    • an EU Blue Card
    • a settlement permit or
    • an EU long-term residence permit.

If the child is aged 16 or over and if