BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - Family reunification

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Family reunification

If you are a family member of a third country national, you can be issued with a residence title to establish or conserve the family community. This is contingent on

  • your family member (who is joined in family reunification, also referred to as the "principal" person entitled) having a residence title,
  • sufficient living area being available, and
  • your livelihood being secure.

Further information: see brochure entitled "Studying and Working in Germany", pages 28 et seqq.

What steps do you have to take to bring your family to Germany?

  1. Your spouse and children should apply in the German Embassy or Consulate in your home country for a residence title for the purpose of family reunification for Germany. Since this process can take some time, please familiarise yourself with the documents needed for the application in good time and make an early application.
  2. When your family has arrived in Germany, register your family members with the residence registration office and with the competent immigrant authority (Ausländerbehörde). In order to do so, you need to collect the passports, birth certificates and wedding certificates, salary or tax certificates as well as evidence of tenancy and possibly other documents, depending on your specific family circumstances.

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You will also find more information on the topic in the right-hand column on this page.

Gainful employment of your spouse

The residence titles of subsequently immigrating dependents also entitle them to engage in work (section 27 subs. 5 of the Residence Act).

Further information: see brochure entitled "Studying and Working in Germany", pages 28

Does my family have to speak German?

As a rule, spouses have to have a basic knowledge of German to be issued with a residence permit. There are however a number of exceptions to this principle. Your spouse does not need to know any German to obtain a residence permit if

  • you yourself have an EU Blue Card,
  • you yourself work in Germany as a highly-qualified person, a researcher or self-employed person and were already married when you moved to Germany,
  • it is obvious that there is little need for integration assistance (for instance as a rule if your partner is a graduate),
  • you are a national of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zeeland or the United States of America.

You and your family will certainly find it easier to settle in in Germany if everyone speaks a little German.

Date 1 January 2014