Spouse/Partner Visa Germany

A Family Reunion visa acts as a Spouse visa for Germany, allowing you to join your partner and family in the country. Successfully applying is a complex process, and you will benefit greatly from getting help from an immigration lawyer or advisor.

At Total Law, we have helped dozens of people get a German visa, including the Spouse visa. If you want our help, please contact us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or find out more about the services we offer online.

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    What is the German Family Reunion Visa for Spouses?

    Due to the Schengen Agreement, citizens of European Union nations will not need to get a visa, residence permit, or work permit in order to join their spouse or any other family members in Germany. However, this privilege is not extended to nations outside the European Union or former EU nations like the United Kingdom.

    If you have a spouse in Germany, you will need to get a Family Reunion Spouse visa. This will allow you to enter the country and will be valid for the first 90 days. To remain long-term, you will need to get a residence permit.

    Read on to discover more about the Family Reunion visa and how it can allow you to join your spouse in Germany.

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    Eligibility Criteria Spouse Visa

    To be able to get a German Family Reunion visa to join your spouse in Germany, there is a range of eligibility requirements that you and your spouse must fulfil. This includes the following:

    • You are married to your spouse. Exceptions apply for same-sex couples.
    • You are both over 18.

    You must also have a degree of German language capabilities. Usually, you will need to have completed a language class to prove you have German language skills of A1 standard or better according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This is the beginner level.

    Eligibility Criteria for Your Spouse to Sponsor You to Join Them in Germany

    In order to sponsor you, your spouse must fit with one of the following eligibility types:

    • They are a German national.
    • They hold EEA or Swiss citizenship.
    • They are third-country nationals who are legally resident in Germany.

    There are multiple types of legal residency that your spouse could hold, which include having a settlement permit, temporary resident permit, EU long-term residence permit, or an EU Blue Card. Alternatively, they can hold refugee status.

    On top of having one of these categories apply to them, they also need to fit with the following criteria:

    • German language skills.
    • Rented or owned accommodation that is large enough to house you both.
    • They are capable of supporting both of you.

    Required Documentation for Spouse Visa

    To prove that you fit the eligibility requirements for a Spouse visa, you will need to prepare the following pieces of documentation for your application:

    • A valid passport, issued in the last ten years, which will not run out while you are in Germany.
    • A copy of your spouse in Germany’s passport.
    • A completed application form.
    • A signed declaration of accuracy of information.
    • Passport-style photos that meet German standards and are no more than three months old.
    • Proof of address.
    • An original copy of your marriage certificate. Other types of Family Reunion visa require different proof of your relationship.
    • Proof of your German language skills, such as a certificate for a language course you have completed.
    • A copy of your spouse’s registration in Germany, known as a Meldebescheinigung.
    • Proof that you will have accommodation in Germany, such as your spouse’s rental agreement, along with an invitation letter.

    Please make sure that all of the documentation that you submit is up-to-date and legitimate. Any discrepancies or fraud will result in your application being rejected and may harm your future applications for Schengen area visas.

    Making Your Spouse Visa Application


    Now that you have gathered your documentation, you will be able to start the application process, which is very similar to the process for other types of German “National” visas. The standard process is described below:

    1. Obtain a document checklist from your nearest German embassy and make sure you have all the documents.
    2. Download, complete, print off, and sign the application forms.
    3. Make an appointment to apply for a visa at a German embassy, consulate, or application centre.
    4. Attend the interview, present your documents, and pay the application fee.

    Make sure that you prepare answers to common interview questions in advance. In this short conversation, you will usually be asked about your background, past travel into the Schengen Area, and your reason for travelling to Germany.

    Processing Time and Application Fees

    When you make your application, you will need to pay the standard fee for a category D “National” visa, which was 75 euros at the time of writing in November 2023. This fee will not be reimbursed even if you withdraw your application or it is refused. However, there is no fee for the visa to be issued if you have a successful application.

    There are also 17 nations that are subject to a reduced fee because they are part of European Union visa facilitation agreements that aim to make immigration to Germany more accessible. This includes the following nations:

    • Albania
    • Armenia
    • Azerbaijan
    • Belarus
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • Cape Verde
    • North Macedonia
    • Georgia
    • Moldova
    • Montenegro
    • Serbia
    • Ukraine

    Like all “National” visas, the expected processing time varies greatly from a few weeks to multiple months. Each embassy will process visas at a different speed, depending on how many caseworkers they have. Please note that your application will be processed faster if you submit it without errors or mistakes.

    Enjoy the benefits of years of shared immigration law experience, when you enlist us to apply for your German spouse visa. Contact Us

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      What to Do If My Application is Rejected

      Each year, 8,000-10,000 Reunification visas for spouses are rejected by the immigration authorities in Germany. If this happens, you will get a decision letter that will explain why the authorities have decided to reject your application. This will leave you with a few options:

      • Complete a new application and pay the fee again. Ensure you comprehensively deal with any issues brought up in your rejection letter so you aren’t disappointed.
      • Request the German embassy reassess your visa as part of the remonstration process. This is free of charge.
      • File a lawsuit with the administrative court in Berlin if you believe the immigration authorities have acted outside the law.

      If none of these options work, you will need to apply for a different visa to come to Germany. Alternatively, you may be ineligible to come to Germany because of your background, so you might have to choose a different country to live in together.

      Getting Citizenship in Germany

      A Family Reunion visa is the first step if you decide you want to get citizenship in Germany with your spouse. Unfortunately, citizenship by marriage has not existed in Germany since 1970, so you will need to get citizenship through naturalisation even if your spouse is a German citizen.

      The following requirements for citizenship through naturalisation apply:

      • You have been resident in Germany for eight years, reduced to seven if you go to an integration course
      • You have successfully completed a citizenship test
      • You will renounce your previous citizenship
      • You have been law-abiding as a German resident
      • You or your spouse can financially support you

      Getting a Residence Permit


      Your Family Reunion visa in Germany for your spouse will only be valid for 90 days and is not enough for you to start a life in the European Union together. Instead, you must get a residence permit, which will allow you to become a legally recognised resident of Germany.

      The residence permit comes with a further collection of eligibility criteria that you will need to fit with. This includes the following:

      • Your passport is valid
      • You don’t have a criminal record
      • Your German language is B1 level. This is the intermediate level and will mean you can participate in everyday conversations in German
      • You and your spouse are financially independent and require no state assistance.

      Application Process

      Your 90-day eligibility period for your Spouse visa is the time in which you must have obtained a residence permit, not the time within which you need to have submitted your application. Even though the processing time is usually a few weeks, you should start the application process as soon as possible so delays don’t force you to leave the country because of visa invalidity.

      When you apply, please follow the steps listed below:

      1. Register the address that you have with your spouse with the local authorities.
      2. Open a German bank account.
      3. Arrange comprehensive health insurance.
      4. Pick up the application forms from your nearest immigration office and complete them.
      5. Book and attend an interview at your nearest immigration office, bringing all forms required for your application.

      For the best chances of success with your immigration case, speak with our team today. Contact Us

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        How Can Total Law Help?

        Getting a Family Reunion visa to join your spouse in Germany is undeniably life-changing because it will allow you to start a new life together within one of the Schengen Area’s wealthiest nations. However, it comes with a long and challenging application process.

        However, you can get help making a successful application by hiring a Germany immigration lawyer or advisor. At Total Law, we can help you to successfully complete your application to a high standard. We then liaise with the German immigration authorities to keep you updated on any changes to your application.

        To find out more about how Total Law can help, please visit us online or get in touch at +44 (0)333 305 9375.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  German law recognises nearly all types of formal partnerships. This includes marriages for mixed-sex partnerships, and registered partnerships and civil unions for same-sex relationships.

                  However, German law does not currently recognise mixed-sex registered partnerships and civil unions for mixed-sex partnerships. At the time of writing in November 2023, marriage was the only way for mixed-sex partners to qualify for a Spouse visa.

                  Furthermore, Germany doesn’t recognise polygamous marriages, so each resident is only allowed to bring one spouse with them into the country.

                  While it shouldn’t be too difficult for applicants to reach the A1 certificate standard, some may not have time to complete the qualification before they need to join their spouse in Germany. There are a few circumstances where the requirement is waived, including the following:

                  • You can show strong German language skills when applying for your visa at the Germany embassy or consulate.
                  • You are seeking a Spouse visa and already have a German child.
                  • You are coming to Germany temporarily and can prove you have no intention of remaining long-term.
                  • You have a university degree.

                  Alternatively, the language requirements may be waived if your spouse in Germany fits one of the following categories:

                  • They hold an EU Blue Card.
                  • They are self-employed.
                  • They have researcher status in Germany.
                  • They are considered a highly qualified individual.
                  • They are an EU or German citizen.
                  • They are a refugee, have been granted subsidiary protection, or are entitled to asylum. You must have married them before they came to Germany.

                  When you first apply for a residence permit, you will need to get a temporary residence permit. This is valid for a year but can easily be extended so long as your reason for being in Germany does not change.

                  Once you have been in Germany on a temporary residence permit for multiple years, have held a job in the country for five years, and have paid all required taxes, you can apply for a permanent residence permit. Sometimes called a settlement permit, this document will give you the right to remain in Germany indefinitely.

                  If any of the following categories apply to your spouse, you will find it very difficult to get a Family Reunion visa, but it may be possible in some circumstances:

                  • They have a deportation ban.
                  • They are registered as a human trafficking victim.
                  • They have a temporary residence permit based on humanitarian grounds or international law.
                  • They have residence permits granted due to a ruling from the Land or Federal Authorities.

                  Alternatively, your spouse will be completely disqualified from sponsoring you should the following apply. In this case, you will need to find a different legal route to Germany:

                  • Their deportation was suspended, and they are currently in Germany on a temporary residence permit.
                  • They hold a residence permit for victims of a criminal offence under the Act to Combat Clandestine Employment or the Act on Temporary Employment Businesses.
                  • Obstacles to departure, for which your spouse is not responsible, have delayed their deportation.
                  • They have a resident permit as the parent or family member of a “well-integrated juvenile”.