Family Reunion Visa Germany

Foreign nationals wishing to join their family members lawfully residing in Germany, may need to apply for the Family Reunion visa.

The Family Reunion visa rules are complex, and the requirements vary depending on your relationship with the family member in Germany and their residence status in the country. Please consider consulting an immigration lawyer if you are planning to apply for a Family Reunion visa. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to receive bespoke immigration advice and support from our legal team.

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    Overview of Family Reunion Visa in Germany

    The Family Reunion visa in Germany, also referred to as the National Family Reunion visa, is a long stay visa, with the provision to extend it to a residence permit. It is based upon the legal framework established by Section 27 et seqq. of the Residence Act and Section 3 of the EU Freedom of Movement Act (FreizügG/EU).

    In essence, a Family Reunion visa is granted and extended to protect the institution of marriage and the family in accordance with Article 6 of the Basic Law.

    Foreign nationals from visa-required countries will need to apply for a Family Reunion visa to travel to Germany, for joining their family members residing lawfully in the country.

    The requirements for Family Reunion visa applicants will vary depending on the residence status of their family members in Germany, as well as the type of relationship that exists between them, e.g. spouse, child, parent, sibling etc.

    After arriving in Germany, they will need to apply for a residence permit. Such foreign national dependents are allowed to work in the country, provided they meet applicable conditions. However, they can only stay in Germany as long as their family member has permission to remain in the country.

    EEA or Swiss citizens do not need any visa or permit to join their family members living in Germany. Citizens from visa-exempt countries for Germany, e.g. the US or Australia, can travel to the country without a visa, and apply for a residence permit there to stay with their family members for more than 90 days.

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    Who is Eligible to Apply for a Family Reunion Visa in Germany?

    Family members eligible to apply for a Family Reunion visa in Germany include:

    • Spouse or civil partner, at least 18 years of age
    • Minor children
    • Parents
    • Other relatives whose cases might be considered for a Family Reunion visa only if there is enough evidence of unavoidable hardship if they cannot join their relative in Germany:
      • Adult, unmarried children
      • Parents
      • Grandparents
      • Siblings
      • Uncles and aunts
      • Nephews and nieces
      • Cousins etc.

    However, for any other family members except spouse/civil partner and minor children, a Family reunion visa is more difficult to obtain, and would be subject to a rigorous scrutiny by German immigration authorities.

    Who is Eligible to Sponsor a Family Reunion Visa in Germany?

    Overview

    Individuals belonging to any of the categories listed below can act as sponsors for their eligible family members seeking to join them in Germany:

    • A German national
    • An EEA or Swiss national
    • A third-country national residing lawfully in Germany holding any of the following:
    • A person with a recognised refugee status in Germany

    In addition, the sponsoring family member must have:

    • A place of residence in Germany, rented or owned, large enough to accommodate their migrating family members
    • Sufficient financial means to cover their family members’ expenses
    • Health insurance to cover the medical expenses of their family members

    Family members of a recognised refugee, a person entitled to asylum or a resettled refugee can immigrate to Germany even if the above conditions are not met, when such application for family reunification is submitted within three months after completion of the asylum process.

    Restrictions on Family Reunion Visa Based on Sponsor’s Status in Germany

    If your relative in Germany belongs to any of the following categories, you will be allowed to join them in Germany only in exceptional cases:

    • Holding a subsidiary protection status
    • People to whom a deportation ban applies
    • Minor children whose deportation has been suspended, and who have subsequently received a residence permit in Germany on account of their good integration or a residence title on account of their sustained integration into German society
    • People who have been granted a temporary residence permit for the purpose of admission from abroad for reasons of international law or on urgent humanitarian grounds
    • People who have received their residence title due to a ruling by supreme Land or Federal authorities in Germany

    When An Application for Family Reunion Visa Is Not Allowed

    Any opportunity of family reunification is ruled out as a matter of principle for individuals belonging to any of the following categories in Germany:

    • People whose deportation has been suspended and who have received a residence permit for a temporary stay in Germany
    • Holding a residence title as a victim of a criminal offence according to the Act to Combat Clandestine Employment or the Act on Temporary Employment Businesses
    • People whose deportation has been suspended due to obstacles to departure, for which they are not responsible
    • People holding a residence permit as parents or family members of well-integrated juveniles
    • People who have received a residence permit on the basis of an arrangement on existing cases

    Need help applying for a family reunion visa? Reach out to us today. Contact Us

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      Document Requirements for a Family Reunion Visa in Germany

      Overview

      To apply for a Family Reunion visa in Germany, you will need to submit the following documents along with your visa application:

      • Your current passport issued in last 10 years, and valid for at least three months after the proposed period of stay
      • Two visa application forms, duly completed and signed
      • Two completed and signed notification/explanation forms
      • Two copies of recent photos
      • Travel ticket to Germany from your country of residence
      • Travel Health Insurance
      • Proof of financial means
      • Invitation letter from your family member in Germany
      • Proof of accommodation in Germany
      • Proof of German language skills at the CEFR Level A1 at least, where applicable
      • Marriage or civil union registration certificate for spouses or civil partners
      • For family members of a German national, copies of their passport and identity card
      • For family members of an EU national, a copy of their passport
      • For family members of a third-country national, copies of their passport and residency permit
      • For minor children:
        • Birth certificates
        • Proof of nationality
        • Proof of the right of care and custody of the parent residing in Germany
        • Proof of adoption, if applicable
        • Letter of consent from both parents
        • Custody decree in case parents are divorced
        • Death certificate of the parent who has passed away, if applicable

      In case your supporting documents are not in German nor in English, you will have to produce certified translated copies of the same, carried out by a translator recognised by your local German embassy or consulate where you are applying for your visa.

      Moreover, all official documents must be attested by relevant authorities in your country of residence, and legalised in case your home country is not a party to the 1961 Hague Apostille Convention.

      Exemptions to the Language Requirement for a Family Reunion Visa

      In certain cases, the Family Reunion visa applicant may be exempted from the German language requirement, such as:

      • The applicant has a university degree
      • Spouse/civil partner of a German national who:
        • Has tried to learn German for a year before moving to Germany but still lacks a basic command of the language, or
        • Does not have any German language courses available where they live, or such courses are too expensive, or they have been unable to attend such courses for any other reasons (e.g. physical disability etc.)
      • Spouse/civil partner of a German resident in any of the following categories:
        • An EU Blue Card holder
        • A self-employed individual
        • Has a researcher status in Germany
        • Has a highly qualified status in the country
      • Spouse/civil partner of an EU citizen or a long-term resident from another EU Member State
      • Spouse/civil partner of a recognised refugee, a resettled refugee, a person entitled to asylum or who has been granted subsidiary protection in Germany, only if they were married before the said refugee/asylum seeker/person with subsidiary protection moved to the country

      However, the migrating family members will be obliged to learn German after moving to the country.

      How to Apply for a Family Reunion Visa?

      To apply for a Family reunion visa, you will have to follow the same application procedure for every other type of German visa. It will start with arranging for all your necessary supporting documents, to be submitted along with your visa application form.

      It is advisable to get in touch with the local German embassy or consulate in your country of residence to get a full list of your required documents, since the list may slightly vary depending on your home country.

      If your country does not have a German embassy/consulate, you may be able to apply to the German embassy/consulate of a neighbouring country. Their respective websites will provide you with such information as well as the contact details.

      After gathering the supporting documents, you will need to book an appointment online with your local German embassy/consulate. You will have to attend an interview in person with a consular officer at the embassy/consulate on the day of your appointment.

      Please carry all your required documents with you to your appointment. If the consulate officer asks for additional documents, you will have to submit them within the deadline mentioned.

      The consular officer will thoroughly check your background, review your documents, and ask why you are travelling to Germany and any other pertinent questions relevant to your visa application. They will also collect the visa processing fee from you.

      The German embassy/consulate will keep your original passport with them while processing your visa application. So, please plan accordingly while booking your appointment if you are to travel abroad around that time. If you withdraw your passport while your application is being processed, your application will be cancelled, and you will have to start the process afresh.

      It is advisable to seek legal help before initiating your Family Reunion visa application process. It can prove to be a challenging task for some applicants to meet the visa requirements, given their personal immigration situations.

      A legal professional with expertise in the area of German immigration laws, policies and procedures will be of utmost value to you while navigating through the application and supporting document collection process. Dial +44 (0)333 305 9375 to speak with one of our expert immigration lawyers.

      We can assist with all areas of the family reunion visa application process. Contact Us

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        Processing Time for Family Reunion Visa

        The processing time of your Family Reunion visa may vary from a few weeks to months, depending on various factors such as the volume of visa applications being handled by your local embassy/consulate at that time, the time of the year, your particular immigration circumstances etc.

        It is of utmost importance to ensure you are submitting all relevant supporting documents during your visa interview. If the consular officer asks you to submit more documentary evidence, the processing time may increase.

        Germany Family Reunification Application Fees

        You will have to pay a visa processing fee of €75 per adult applicant and €37.50 for every child applicant up to 18 years of age.

        In some cases, you may have to pay a lower fee or no fee at all. Please check with your local German embassy/consulate if you can be exempted from paying a visa processing fee.

        This visa processing fee is not refundable. If you withdraw your visa application or your application gets rejected, you will not get a refund of this fee.

        You will have to again pay the visa processing fee if you decide to make a fresh application for a Family Reunion visa, or any other type of German visa.

        What Happens After I Arrive in Germany on a Family Reunion Visa?

        After arriving in Germany on a Family Reunion visa, you must register at your local registration office within two weeks by submitting your proof of address in the country, e.g. a rental agreement or utility bills in the name of your sponsoring family member etc.

        After registering your proof of address, please apply for your German residence permit on the basis of family reunification. You will have to book an appointment with German immigration authorities to submit your relevant supporting documents along with your residence permit application.

        You may also have to join a German language class and then take a language test to prove that you have at least a basic understanding of the language.

        What If My Family Reunion Visa Application Has Been Rejected?

        If your Family Reunion visa application has been rejected, you will receive a decision letter with reason(s) behind such refusal. You may then:

        • Make a fresh application. Be sure to address the previous refusal reasons before you apply again
        • Request your local German embassy/consulate for a reassessment of your visa application, which is also known as remonstration process and is free of charge
        • File a lawsuit against the refusal. The administrative court in Berlin will reassess your visa application in such a scenario

        To ensure your application has been filled in properly, along with the submission of necessary documents, speak with our immigration lawyers today. Contact Us

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          How Can Total Law Help?

          Family reunification is subject to stringent checks by German consular authorities to rule out immigration abuse. For example, a marriage of convenience, where a marriage is entered into for the predominant purpose of obtaining an immigration advantage for one of the parties involved.

          German authorities will thoroughly check the immigration history of the applicant. Both you and your sponsor in Germany will be liable to prove the genuineness of your family relationship to the immigration authorities beyond any reasonable doubt.

          So, even if you meet all eligibility requirements, you must pay due diligence while filling up the relevant form(s) as well as arranging for supporting documentation, for your Family Reunion visa application to be successful.

          Speak to Total Law. Our team of immigration advisers have the required expertise and empathy to understand your case and assist you, regardless of the complexity of your situation.

          If you are seeking overall advice with your visa application or you would like an immigration lawyer to oversee your application, we are here for you. We also offer document and application checking services if you just need a final check to confirm that your documents and application adhere to German visa guidelines.

          To know more about the bespoke services we provide and how we can help you, please call us on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online today, to speak to our team of immigration experts.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    Yes, both your biological and adopted children under 18 are eligible to apply for a Family Reunion visa in Germany.

                    Yes. Foreign nationals holding a student visa/residence permit in Germany are eligible to bring their spouses, minor children and parents to the country, provided the Family Reunion visa requirements are met.