Germany Residence Permit for Family Reunion

German residence titles in this category are given for the purpose of a family reunion.

Eligible persons for residence titles for such purpose are:

  • Foreign spouses
  • Minor unmarried children aged 16 or over,
  • The parent of a German minor child (the child who has no one else to take care of them),
  • In some cases, distant family members of either German nationals or foreign persons living in Germany.

For the purpose of family reunion, a temporary residence permit is given to the foreigners wishing to join their family members living in Germany along with a residence permit to the foreigner already in Germany seeking to protect marriage and the family.

There are different rules for cases involving foreign families joining a German citizen family member and for those involving families joining a foreign family member living in Germany.

It should be noted that the rules for a family reunion in Germany are complex and will vary depending on your situation. When moving from the theory of family reunion to your real situation you should consider expert legal counsel from a reliable source. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, their dedicated team of immigration lawyers advise on all family reunion matters under German law. Contact them today to find out more about their services.

Foreign Family Members Joining a German Citizen or a Resident in Germany

Under this category, the foreigner joining a German citizen in Germany can be a spouse, a minor unmarried child, or a parent of a minor unmarried German child living in Germany who needs care and custody.

The residence permit for family reasons in this situation is usually issued for up to one initial year, with a possibility to be extended for all the time needed while the family keeps living together.

Requirements for a residence permit for family reasons (in this case):

  • The German family member has lived mostly in Germany
  • The German family member has the necessary money to cover their own living costs and their joined family members
  • There are no reasons for the candidate’s visa removal.
  • The candidate has a nationality and an identity already.
  • The candidate does not need to exit Germany or to return to a foreign country (due to criminal reasons).
  • The candidate does not have any residence permit, and their stay in Germany does not represent any risk to the public interests of the country.
  • The candidate has a recognized passport or another valid travel document.

The settlement permit for family purposes (of this case) is given only if:

  • After three years of living in Germany with a residence permit, the family remains together.
  • The candidate has fulfiled the requirement for the necessary knowledge of the German language.
  • There is no reason for residence title cancellation.

Family Members Joining a Foreign National Living in Germany

In this case, the family member to be joined (Person A) must have a German settlement permit, an EU long-term residence permit, EU Blue Card, or a residence permit.

Generally, with some exceptions, Person A must have the required finances to support themselves and their dependent family member(s).

The residence permit for family purposes of this case is issued up to the validity of the residence title of Person A, but it can also be issued for one initial year.

Specifically, Person A must have been issued with a settlement permit that was not in conflict with the law. Examples of such residence permits include:

  • A residence permit according to their marriage which has been recognized in an EU member state and Person A now has an EU long-term residence permit,
  • A residence permit which allows them to stay more than one year in Germany, and the marriage happened before they were granted that residence title,
  • A German residence permit as a researcher engaged in a research project, or because they are under humanitarian protection,
  • A settlement permit or permanent residence permit,
  • An EU Blue Card,
  • An EU long-term residence permit,
  • Has now or had a residence permit for two years.

There are exceptions from such rules for:

  • Highly qualified foreigners who were married when they had their residence title in Germany,
  • Foreign spouses having physical, mental or psychological disorders or disabilities.

If you are unsure of how your current situation fits into the legal requirements listed here, then please consider consulting with a professional. We recommend the services of Schlun & Elseven who will answer all of your German immigration law concerns.

Residence Permit for Family Members of a German Citizen or of Foreigners Living in Germany

This residence permit is for foreign family members of German citizens, or of foreigners living in Germany with a valid residence title.

Such a residence permit is given to candidates whose foreign family members already living in Germany, are there with a residence title for studies or for educational reasons generally, for the recognition of their professional qualifications, to work as a visiting scholar or academic staff, or to work as a teacher.

The fee for this residence permit for the initial application is between 56 – 100 Euro for adults and between 28 – 50 Euro for minors. For an extension of this residence permit, the fee is between 49 – 96 Euro for adults and between 24.5 – 48 Euro for minors. For Turkish citizens of all ages and application types is reduced up to 28.8 Euro. Furthermore, it is free to foreigners applying as persons in receipt of benefits from SGB II, XII, or for those applying as asylum seekers.

Candidates eligible to take this residence permit are the following: foreign spouses/ same-sex partners, foreign minor, unmarried children of a German citizen and of a non-German living in Germany with a valid residence title, foreign parents of a German citizen, foreign parent(s) of a foreign child in Germany with a temporary valid residence title as resettled refugees, as an asylum seeker who is allowed to work, as a refugee, or as one of the aforementioned persons with a permanent settlement permit, and (only if in Germany does not live any parent who can offer care for the child); foreign parent(s) of a foreign child with settlement permit (section 26, paragraph 4 of the Residence act) with no parent present in Germany to take care of them.

If you would like to know whether your case is applicable for family reunification under German law, then consult with an experienced professional. We strongly recommend the lawyers at Schlun & Elseven, whose expert advice can be relied upon for all matters relating to family reunification in Germany.

Requirements

  • A duly completed and signed residence permit application form “Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels” – only for the initial application.
  • A valid national passport.
  • One recent biometric photo.
  • Documents to show their residence in Germany.
  • Home registration certificate “Meldebestätigung” (received by the Residence Registration Office“Einwohnermeldeamt”).
  • Rent agreement + A confirmation letter of accommodation “Einzugsbestätigung” issued by the homeowner.
  • Covered health insurance (Persons who have statutory health insurance, different from private health insurance holders do not have to extend their health insurance periodically – not needed for family members or German citizens making the initial application).
  • ID card, or “Personalausweis” – Personal ID card (for a German citizen family member).
  • Child’s ID card “Kinderausweis” (for a German child).
  • A certificate of marriage, or certificate of a partnership (with an apostille – if the marriage/partnership was done out of Germany).
  • A certificate of birth of the foreign minor child – only for the initial application.
  • A certificate of custody (if the child’s parents are not married, and when the candidate is a foreign minor child, and their parents are also foreigners) – only for the initial application.
  • Documents showing the costs of the accommodation – for family members of German citizens making the initial application only.
  • Rent agreement + monthly rent expenses.
  • Purchase agreement on a residential property + monthly costs related to the homeownership.
  • Documents to confirm having enough money to live as a family sharing the same home (each contributing family member has to submit the needed documents to confirm the financial support offered in their shared home) – not required for family members of German citizens making the initial application.
  • Work contract + recent valid employment certificate + salary slips of latest six months + certificate for paying pension contribution (for extension only) – for an employed family member.
  • Filled and signed audit report “Prüfungsbericht” issued by a tax specialist, auditor or tax law attorney – for a self-employed family member.
  • A document showing that family member is in receipt of benefits (money and other) under German Social Code SGB II or XII, or as asylum seekers.
  • Certificates of enrolment as a school student (for minor children- under the age of 14).
  • Certificates to confirm participation in the integration course – only needed for an extension, not for the initial application.

Settlement permit for foreign family members of the German citizens

This settlement permit is for the foreign family members (spouse, same-sex partner, child, or parent) of the German citizens, having lived in Germany with a residence permit for a minimum of three years in the same home with their German citizen family member and still continue living together.

The period of three years also includes the period spent in Germany with a long-stay visa if since the entrance in Germany the candidate has been living with their German national relative.

They must also have the needed knowledge of the German language, of at least B1 level of the CEFR, as well as enough money to live and accommodate in Germany.

The fee for a settlement permit is 113 Euro; in case of rejection is 56.50 Euro, while, for those from Turkey, it is 28.8 Euro.

If you are looking for comprehensive advice on all matters concerning settlement permits and family reunification in Germany, consider the legal services of Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte. Their immigration law team is available to answer all your questions on German immigration law and can oversee your entire application. 

Requirements

General:

  • A duly completed and signed permanent residency permit application form “Antrag auf Erteilung der Niederlassungserlaubnis”,
  • A valid national passport and a residence permit,
  • One recent biometric photo,
  • Personal interview upon a preset appointment

The German family member should take part in the interview also, and usually, their mother must accompany the child.

  • Statutory health insurance

Persons who have the required statutory health insurance, different from private health insurance holders, do not have to extend their health insurance from time to time.

Documents to show their residence in Germany:

  • Home registration certificate “Meldebestätigung” (received by the Residence Registration Office “Einwohnermeldeamt”),
  • Rent agreement + A confirmation letter of accommodation “Einzugsbestätigung” issued by the homeowner,
  • Declaration of criminal record – showing no criminal history.

Specific:

  • Documents showing enough money to live and accommodate (of either German citizen or foreign spouse),
  • Work contract + recent valid employment certificate + salary slips of latest six months + pension insurance activity – for an employed candidate,
  • Filled and signed audit report form “Prüfungsbericht” completed by tax expert, CPAs or authorized persons+ documents required within such report (i.e., The extract of business registration) + last tax notice – for a self-employed or freelancer candidate,
  • Pension notice “Rentenbescheid” showing the type of pension, the start of pension, the amount of it and the duration of it (when relevant) – for a retired candidate,
  • The pension awarding document as a disabled person or as a person with reduced earning abilities, or A letter of judgment on persons from the Federal Employment Agency, or A medical certificate from a specialist doctor confirming candidate’s level of disability – for a fully-disabled or partly-disabled person,
  • Documents showing the costs of the accommodation,
  • Rent agreement + monthly rent expenses,
  • Purchase agreement on a residential property + monthly costs related to the homeownership,
  • Documents confirming their integration in German life (any of the following),
  • Integration Course Certificate – showing complete participation in the course organized by the BAMF,
  • Document showing results reached in final tests in the Integration Course,
  • Other documents/ways to show the level of understanding the German language of minimum level B1,
  • Document showing receipt of benefits,
  • Notification of particular benefit receipt, or other similar documents – for a candidate in receipt of child assistance, child allowance, parental allowance, childcare allowance, or other benefits,
  • Document showing education level of a foreign adult child of a German citizen, or of a foreign parent of an adult German,
  • The certificate showing successful participation at a school or in professional training (minimum requirement),
  • Declaration of criminal record – showing no criminal history. 

Foreign Spouses

Generally, husbands or wives of the foreign persons living in Germany with a residence title are likely to be given a residence title also.

Both spouses must be a minimum of 18 years old, and the joining spouse has to have a minimum basic level of German language knowledge.

There are cases when the spouse can autonomously (not for family reunion reasons) get a residence title extension or new residence title, as in the following cases:

  • If the marriage ends after spouses have lived together in Germany for a minimum of three years – the residence permit can be extended for one more one year,
  • If the foreign partner who held either a residence permit, settlement permit or EU long-term residence permit died, after a time period of both spouses living together in Germany – the residence permit can be extended for one more one year,
  • If the marriage ends after spouses have lived together in Germany and the spouse’s living costs are guaranteed by own funds of the foreigner – the settlement permit can be given to the spouse.

Foreign Minor Children

Foreign minor unmarried children aged 16 or older of the foreign persons living in Germany with a residence title generally are likely to be given a German residence title also.

Such children either can join their parents in Germany or be born there.

Children born out of a marriage are given the same rights as children born within a marriage.

A parent of a foreign minor child is given a residence permit in cases when their child is living alone in Germany lacking to get the needed care.

Residence Permit for a Foreign Child Born in Germany

This residence permit is for foreign persons born in Germany, and whose parent (s) lived in Germany with any valid residence title (residence permit, EU Blue Card, settlement permit, EU long-term residence permit, right of residence or permanent residence permit) at the time their child was born.

The period of stay given to the holder of this residence title does not exceed the allowed period of stay in Germany of their parent (s).

The fee to apply for this residence title is 28 Euros and is free for Turkish people, or for persons who get benefits (money and other) under German Social Code SGB II or XII, or as asylum seekers.

This residence title is in the form of a sticky label into the national passport of the holder and is usually issued on the day of application.

Requirements

  • One recent biometric photo.
  • Personal interview upon a preset appointment.
  • A valid national passport of their parent (s) showing their valid residence permit.
  • A valid national passport of the candidate (child), or a valid national passport of their parent in which the candidate is registered at.
  • Certificate of birth. 

Settlement permit for foreign children 16 and older

This permanent residence permit is for foreign children having lived in Germany for a minimum of five years with a residence permit, and they are of age between 16 and 18, either born in Germany or have joined their parents living there.

The candidate for this residence title must also have the needed German language skills and must either currently participating in studies to get either an educational, work-related, or university degree. If none of them applies, the candidate must have their living and accommodation covered – without needing to require support through the use of public benefits.

The fee to apply is 113 Euro (for adults), 55 Euro (for minors), meanwhile, is reduced up to 28.8 Euros for the Turkish people. 

Requirements

  • A duly completed and signed permanent residency permit application form “Antrag auf Erteilung der Niederlassungserlaubnis”,
  • A valid national passport and a residence permit,
  • One recent biometric photo,
  • Personal interview upon a preset appointment, accompanied by parents.

For divorced parents sharing custody of their child, both parents have to attend the interview with their child, and if one of the parents cannot attend the interview, they have to give written authorization for application, to the other parent.

  • Documents to show their residence in Germany,
  • Home registration certificate “Meldebestätigung” (received by the Residence Registration Office “Einwohnermeldeamt”),
  • Rent agreement + A confirmation letter of accommodation “Einzugsbestätigung” issued by the homeowner,
  • Statutory health insurance.

Persons who have the required statutory health insurance, different from private health insurance holders, they do not have to extend their health insurance over time.

  • Declaration of criminal record – showing no criminal history.

Specific:

  • Documents showing enough money to live and accommodate,
  • Work contract + recent valid employment certificate + salary slips for the entire period spent with the last extension of the residence permit – for an employed candidate,
  • A duly completed and signed audit report form “Prüfungsbericht” completed by tax expert, CPAs or authorized persons+ documents required within such report (i.e. The extract of business registration) + last tax notice – for a self-employed,
  • Documents showing parent’s living costs – for a minor with no academic or professional education,
  • Documents showing education of the candidate,
  • Past and present school certificates – for school pupils,
  • Training agreement, past and present certificates of training – for candidates enrolled in professional (job-related) training courses,
  • Present enrolment certificate + documents confirming progress in studies (i.e., Transcript of grades, a document showing the list of the passed exams, or otherwise) – for candidates studying in university,
  • Documents showing the understanding of the German language,
  • A school-leaving certificate.

Residence Permit for Family Members of EU/EEA Citizens

Such a residence permit is also available for foreign family members (spouse, same-sex partner, parents, or unmarried, underage children) of EU and EEA citizens (excluding Germans) who wish to stay in Germany for family reasons.

The period of stay holders of this residence title get is not more than five years.

The fee to apply for this residence permit is 10 -28 Euro.

When a person gets this residence title, they will habitually get the same rights as their EU/EEA citizen family members (excluding the Germans) – such as the right to move, work, open/run a business, as well as to stay unemployed.

As an EU /EEA citizen, you may need advice from professionals with a deep understanding of German immigration law. The full-service approach of Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte means that not only will you get comprehensive guidance on all matters relating to German immigration law, but you can also avail of their German family law services. This way every legal concern you may have will be answered by experts in the field. 

Requirements

  • A valid national passport.
  • A duly completed and signed residence permit application form “Antrag auf Erteilung eines Aufenthaltstitels”.
  • One recent biometric photo.
  • Statutory health insurance.
  • Documents to confirm having enough money to live and accommodate in Germany.
  • Recent bank statements.
  • A letter of commitment from a sponsor in Germany.
  • Documents to show their residence in Germany.
  • Home registration certificate “Meldebestätigung” (received by the Residence Registration Office“Einwohnermeldeamt”).
  • Rent agreement + A confirmation letter of accommodation “Einzugsbestätigung” issued by the homeowner.
  • Personal interview upon a preset appointment.
  • Documents showing that the holder and their EU/EEA citizen (excluding Germans) live together in the same home.
  • Documents confirming relationship with the EU/EEA citizen (excluding the Germans).
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Certificate of a same-sex registered partnership.
  • Certificate of birth.
  • Documents confirming the right to free movement of EU/EEA citizens (excluding the Germans).
  • For an employed candidate– a letter from the employer (showing candidate’s part in the company as their employee, the type of job, and the work contract length).
  • For self-employed candidates– A business registration letter + tax assessment letter + tax number.
  • For unemployed candidates– documents confirming their ability to cover living and accommodation costs + their covered health insurance.

Settlement permit for foreign family members of EU/EEA citizens

This settlement permit is for foreign family members of the EU/EEA citizens (excluding the Germans) having lived continually in Germany at least over the five past years. During such period, they must have lived in the same home with their receiving EU/EEA family member, meanwhile chasing the same rights as their aforementioned family members, i.e. working in a job position, opening/running a business, or remaining unemployed.

The fee for this residence permit is 10 – 28 Euro, meanwhile, is reduced to 22.8 Euro for persons of age up to 24.

Requirements

  • A duly completed permanent residency permit application form “Antrag auf Ausstellung einer Daueraufenthaltskarte”.
  • A valid national passport and a residence card “Aufenthaltskarte”, or a valid residence permit.
  • One recent biometric photo.
  • Documents to confirm residence in Germany.
  • Home registration certificate “Meldebestätigung” (received by the Residence Registration Office “Einwohnermeldeamt”).
  • Rent agreement + A confirmation letter of accommodation “Einzugsbestätigung” issued by the homeowner.
  • Statutory health insurance.
  • Personal interview upon a preset appointment.
  • Declaration of criminal record – showing no criminal history.
  • Documents confirming the use of the right to free movement “Freizügigkeitsrecht” for the past five years, same as their EU/EEA family members (excluding the Germans).
  • For an employed candidate– a letter from the employer (showing candidate’s part in the company as their employee, the type of job, and the work contract length).
  • For self-employed candidates – A business registration letter + tax assessment letter + tax number.
  • For unemployed candidates– documents confirming their ability to cover living and accommodation costs + their covered health insurance.
  • A document showing information about the candidate by the registration authority.
  • Registration information report “Melderegisterauskunft” (application for the simple registration information report, and for the extended registration information report)