Introduction: Bringing Your Spouse To Germany
Most of the time, individuals who are the spouse of an EU or German national will need a visa to travel to Germany or join with their spouse. However, there are some instances in which the spouse of a German citizen may not need a visa. This can be the case in the following situations:
- The spouse is an EU or Schengen passport holder
- The spouse is an EU or Schengen residence permit holder
- The spouse holds a passport for one of the countries that have established a visa-free agreement with the Schengen states
- The spouse holds a valid Schengen visa
Despite being the spouse of a German citizen, a spouse will require a visa if they fit the following criteria:
- They hold the passport of a country that has not established a visa-free agreement with the Schengen States.
- They hold a passport of a country that does have a visa-free agreement with the Schengen states; however, they have been rejected from entering Germany previously on a visa-free basis.
Individuals need to understand when they do and when they do not need to have a visa to enter Germany, whether they are eligible or if they have visa-free travel. Should the spouse of a German citizen try to enter the country without a visa if they require one, they will be refused entry, and this could impact future attempts to apply for a visa.
Different circumstances will have different documents required, and there can be specific requirements that need to be met in certain situations. However, some basic criteria apply to all situations. These include the following:
- The non-German spouse must be at least 18 years of age.
- The non-German spouse must be able to provide a valid marriage certificate. This must be viewed as legally valid in both the country where it was issued and in Germany. The certificate must also be translated into German by an authorised translator and be legalised by a German consulate or embassy in the country that issued the certificate.
- The German or non-German spouse must be able to demonstrate financial stability to be able to support themselves and any of their family members during their stay in Germany. The minimum income requirements in this regard will depend on the number of family members who will be joining the German spouse. The non-German spouse is also required to show evidence of employment or other income sources.
- The non-German spouse must be able to show proof that they have health insurance coverage for their time in Germany. This coverage will need to meet minimum requirements as per government instruction. This can be done either via private health insurance or by enrolling in the statutory insurance scheme.
- The non-German spouse must be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the German language.
The requirements for a spouse visa in Germany will vary depending on whether or not the sponsoring spouse is a citizen of a non-EU country or an EU/EEA member state. Spouses who join citizens of non-EU countries will usually face requirements such as proof of marriage, valid passports, and basic German language skills.
Those who are citizens of EU/EEA member states will have different requirements; these requirements mainly differ in the need for proof of health insurance but less in the need for German language skills.
Family reunification visas should also be considered, as these are visas specific to spouses who wish to join their partner in Germany. It enables them to work and live in Germany for an extended period.
Requirements For Spouse Reunification In Germany
There are specific documents required for spouse reunification in Germany. It is critical that, when applying for spouse reunification, applicants prepare two complete sets of all the documents needed to be taken to the appointment. Documents must be complete, and all necessary documents must be provided for a successful application.
The requirements for spouse reunification will depend on the nationality of the non-German spouse; however, the spouse relocating to Germany will need to have the following for a family reunion visa to be valid:
- They must have a residence permit
- They must have valid health insurance
- They must be able to prove they are financially stable
- They must have sufficient space for their partner to stay
Income considered sufficient for this type of spouse visa will be calculated after accounting for loans or rent and must now be below the limit where the family would need to seek aid from state benefits.
Sufficient space means that each family member over six years of age must have at least 12 square metres of space available. Those under six years old must have 10 square metres of space available.
Some applicants may be void of having to meet age or language requirements in certain situations, such as:
- If the spouse is an EU Blue Card holder
- The spouse is self-employed
- The spouse has researcher status in Germany
- The spouse has a highly qualified status in Germany.
Requirements For Spouses Joining Citizens Of Non-EU Countries
Even if the non-German partner is a national of a non-EU country, it is still possible for the couple to live together in Germany. For the spouse to be able to join their German partner, they must meet certain requirements, such as:
- Right to reside: The German spouse has a residence permit, settlement permit, or an EU Blue Card for Germany proving their right to reside.
- Accommodation: The German partner has bought or rented accommodation in Germany that is large enough for their family.
- Health insurance and money: There are sufficient funds and health insurance coverage to take care of the family.
- Legal Age: The spouse must be of legal age, at 18 years old at least.
Requirements For Spouses Joining Citizens Of EU Or EEA Member States
Even if the German partner is technically a third-country national, if the spouse is a citizen of a member state of the EU or the EEA, then they are entitled to freedom of movement.
This means that they can live and work in Germany with no restrictions. All that is required of them will be a national ID card.
All applicants for a visa for the spouse of a German national will be required to submit certain documents as part of their application. These documents include the following:
- A visa application form, signed and dated by the applicant.
- A valid passport that complies with the Germany Visa Passport requirements.
- A biometric passport-sized photo The image must be taken following the German visa photo criteria.
- Photocopies of the personal data pages of the applicant’s passport.
- Photocopies of any previous Schengen visas, if required.
- Schengen travel visa insurance, which should be valid in all Schengen states for the whole period of stay.
- Flight itinerary that shows a round-trip ticket. This can be achieved through a visa consultation service.
- Proof of financial status means showing documents that prove the applicant has enough money to support themselves throughout their stay in Germany.
- Proof of accommodation showing where the applicant will stay during their time in Germany If you are staying with your spouse, this can be done through an invitation letter from your spouse.
- A copy of the German citizen’s passport.
- Proof of relationship with the German individual, such as a marriage certificate.
- If minors will be travelling with you on this trip, they will need documents including:
- Birth certificate.
- Proof of adoption, if required,
- Custody decree if the parents are divorced.
- Death certificate if one parent has passed away.
- Letter of consent from parents.
- Passport copies of the parents.
How To Apply For A Spouse Visa In Germany
To apply for a spouse visa in Germany, applicants should complete the following steps:
- Complete the VIDEX online application form. A single copy of the form should also be printed, including the page for the barcode, and then signed on pages 5 and 6. If you are bringing children with you, a separate application form is required for them.
- Collect your supporting documentation to take to your appointment. This should include:
- The printout of the online application form.
- A valid passport, signed by you. This passport must be issued within the previous 10 years and has to be valid for at least 6 months with 2 blank pages consecutively. Also, include one photocopy of the passport biodata page.
- A biometric passport-sized photograph per Germany’s photo visa criteria.
- Photocopies of any previous Schengen visas, if required.
- Schengen visa travel insurance.
- Travel itinerary.
- Proof of financial means to support yourself throughout your stay.
- Proof of accommodation (such as an invitation letter from your partner).
- Copy of your German partner’s passport.
- Proof of relationship, including a marriage certificate or birth certificate.
- Book an appointment to apply for a visa at your local visa application centre.
- Go to your appointment at the application centre.
- Submit your visa application. This should only take 10 minutes. All documents will be verified.
- Submit your biometric information using a fingerprint scan and photograph.
- Await a decision on your visa application.
Spouse Visa Application Fee
A German long-stay D-visa (spouse visa) will typically cost a fee of €75 to apply. However, be sure to include other fees, such as the finances needed to prove financial means, when preparing for your application.
Generally, German embassies will take around 10 days to process a visa application. However, the quickest that an application can be processed is 5 days. It can take up to 14 working days in some cases, however. Ensure your application is correct, true, and completed to the best of your ability to reduce the chances of any delays or issues with your application.
How Can Total Law Help?
If you wish to obtain a spouse visa in Germany to live with your partner, the application process is fairly simple. However, there is much that needs to be pre-arranged before applying. Applicants need to ensure they have all the relevant documentation and evidence to ensure the application is successful.
This is why it is advisable to speak to an immigration lawyer. Here at Total Law, our legal team can help you apply for a spouse visa and ensure all your documents are prepared. Give us a call at 0333 305 9375 or message us online today, to find out how we can help with your application.
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Regardless of the country of origin of your family, they can come to stay with you in Germany. The country of origin of your family will dictate whether or not they need a visa or residence permit to do so, however.
Applicants for a spouse visa are not always permitted to work in Germany, on some occasions, they may require a separate work permit to do so, depending on the specifics of their situation.
Spouses of German citizens will be eligible for naturalisation in Germany after 3 years of living in Germany legally. After this, the individual can apply for a German passport, once they are considered a German citizen.