Many non-German residents in Germany tend to bring their families with them once they have settled, specifically spouses and children. The Immigration Authorities in Germany, support reunification of families as a necessary way of making family life possible, even when the resident does not hold a permanent residence permit, but rather a temporary long stay permit.
What is a Family Reunion Visa for Germany?
The German Family Reunion visa, as the name says, is a German long stay visa that is issued for the purpose of bringing family members of German residents to Germany.
Who Needs a Germany Family Reunion Visa?
Citizens of the European Union, European Economic Area, and the European Free Trade Association, do not need a residence permit to enter and work in Germany, and even bring their families with them. They only need to be able to support them financially and have enough room as judged by the German authorities. However, any family member who is not a citizen of the above mentioned countries will need to apply for a German Family Reunion Visa.
The Sponsor of Application for Family Reunification
A “sponsor” is called the person who legally resides in Germany and wishes to bring in his or her family members by offering them financial support and sufficient living space for himself or herself and the family member joining them.
Third-country nationals who want to act as sponsors for a spouse or registered partner, a child, a parent or another family member must have one of the following:
- Possession of a settlement permit,
- An EU long-term residence permit,
- A residence permit or
- An EU Blue Card.
This is the first vital requirement alongside with the financial capability of the sponsor to offer financial security and a safe living habitat to the family members he or she wants to bring in.
Who can benefit from the Family Reunion Visa?
Though all family members can apply for this type of visa, core family members are more privileged. Other family members shall be granted a visa in order to prevent particular hardship. The German Immigration Authorities ask for different requirements for every family member, and if the requirements are not met, the application is rejected.
Registered partner, spouse (husband / wife)
If a sponsor who is a third-world country national residing in Germany wants to bring his or her registered partner/ spouse, beside of the above mentioned requirements, they both must be older than 18. The immigrating spouse or registered partner must also have at least basic German language capability. However, sometimes even when these requirements are met the Immigration Authorities might reject your visa, because they might asses that the other requirements have not been met.
As for applicants in polygamous marriages, if the sponsor is already living in Germany with a spouse or registered partner, no other spouse or partner shall be granted a visa to join them.
If both parents or a sole parent wish to bring their children to live with them in Germany, the German Immigration Authorities will grant these children with visas as long as parents met the above mentioned requirements, and also:
- The ‘sponsor’ parent must have the sole right of care and custody of the child.
- If sole parent, then he or she must the have the sole right of care and custody of the child.
- When parents share the right of care and custody, the other partner must grant the right of custody to the ‘sponsor’ in order for the child to be eligible.
The procedures will go faster and the visa can be obtained easier if the child has at least basic German language ability, and can integrate into the way of life prevailing in the Federal Republic of Germany, as judged by the German authorities.
If one wishes to bring over his or her adult children in Germany, aside of the above mentioned conditions, the candidate also must not be married. Parents cannot bring their minor children in Germany too, for as long as they are married. However, this does not remove the possibility that the candidate gets another type of visa.
If a minor third-world country national is a resident in Germany, and no one who possesses the right of care and custody is a resident in Germany, then his biological and adoptive parents shall be given the residence permit to join the minor.
On the other hand, parents of adult children residing in Germany can only join them in order to prevent particular hardship.
Other family members
Other family members as siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews or cousins, may also be granted a residence permit for the purpose of subsequent immigration to join the foreigner in order to avoid particular hardship, i.e. when the immigrating family member needs family support which can only be provided by the family members living in Germany.
Germany Family Reunion Visa Document Requirements
In addition to the required documents for Germany visas, this is the following list of documents that you need to provide for the Germany family reunion visa application:
- Proof of German language skills at least level A1 of the applicant
- Proof of spouse / registered partner:
- a registration or marriage certificate attested by a foreign officer, translated into German and legalized by the Germany embassy
- if the spouse is of German nationality, then a copy of the German spouse’s passport and identity card must be submitted
- if the spouse is a non-German residing in Germany, proof of legal residence and their passport must be submitted
- Proof on children:
- birth certificate
- proof of child’s nationality
- proof of the right of care and custody of the parent residing in Germany
Note that all documents must be produced in German or English or together with a translation into German provided by a translator recognized by the embassy. All official documents must be provided in a translated, attested and legalized version.
Application Procedure for a German Family Reunion Visa
The application procedure for Long Term Family Reunion Visa is similar to every other German visa application procedure.
First of all take care to gather all of the necessary documents, including proof that the ‘sponsor’ has enough room for you and has enough financial means to support you and themselves.
Appoint an interview online through the website of the German mission in your country. On the day of the appointment, attend the interview on time with all the required documents. Do not forget to take with you any of the required documents.
If the interviewer asks you to gather extra documents do so. Keep in mind that your passport will be kept at the embassy or consulate until they issue or reject the visa, so do not appoint the interview if you know that you will have to travel abroad in the meantime, since if you withdraw your passport you will have to make a new visa application appointment.
You will have to pay a visa fee for the interview. Normally, German family reunion long-term visa (category D) costs 75,00 Euro for adults and for children up to 18 years 37,50 Euro.
German Family Reunion Visa Processing Time
The processing time for a German Family Reunion visa can take from several days or weeks up to several months, that depending on the number of applications made at the German mission in your home country.
What to do Upon Arrival in Germany?
Upon their arrival in Germany, all family members must get registered at the residence registration office and the Alien Authority. You must have with you your passport and other documents (birth certificates, a marriage certificate or civil partnership documentation, salary slips, tenancy agreements, tax certificates, etc.)
The sponsor should also make sure that the family members they have brought in Germany will have access to health care.
Often family members are condition to attend German language classes and then enter an extra exam to prove they have at least basic German language.
Partners and Relatives – Who Can Work?
Every adult that comes to Germany on a Family Reunion visa is allowed to work. The only condition is that the relative they are joining must meet one of the requirements as follows:
- The sponsor possesses a residence permit authorizing employment for themselves.
- The sponsor is an EU Blue Card holder.
- The sponsor is in Germany as a researcher or a highly skilled person.