Family Reunion Visa Germany

The Family Reunion visa is your opportunity to bring family members from outside the European Union to settle in Germany temporarily or permanently. They will also require a residence permit, which can be obtained once they are in the country.

To get help with Family Reunion visa applications, please contact Total Law at 0333 305 9375 or visit us online to find out more about the services we offer.

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    What is a German Family Reunion Visa?

    A German Family Reunion visa is designed to help the family of foreign nationals who are legally residing in Germany to become residents in the country. Meanwhile, if the family members are nationals of the European Union, European Economic Area, or European Free Trade Association, they will be able to come to Germany without needing a visa.

    A German Family Reunion visa will usually be valid for 90 days. After this period has elapsed, your family members will need to get residence permit if they wish to remain in the country.

    Please read the article below to discover the different types of Family Reunion visas, the application processes, and more.

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    Types of Family Reunion Visa


    There are three main types of Family Reunion visas which include visas for your:

    • Spouse or civil partner.
    • Children.
    • Parents and other family members.

    All of these visa types require you to fulfill the following eligibility criteria:

    • You are legally resident in Germany at the time of your family members’ applications. This can include you having an EU long-term residence permit, a standard German resident permit, or an EU Blue Card.
    • You are capable of financially supporting yourself and any family members joining you.
    • You are over 18 years old.
    • You have good German language skills.

    Each of the types of German visa detailed has further eligibility criteria, which are described in the section below:

    Family Reunion Visa for Spouses and Civil Partners

    In order to get a Spouse visa, you must be legally married to your partner and able to show a marriage certificate. This applies to mixed-sex and same-sex relationships. However, at the time of writing in December 2023, Germany does not recognise registered partnerships or civil unions between mixed-sex partners. These relationships require a marriage to be classed as familial under German law.

    Furthermore, Germany doesn’t currently recognise polygamous marriages. You can only bring one partner with you to Germany on the Spouse visa.

    Whatever relationship you have with your partner, there are two key requirements that they must fulfill, which include the following:

    • They are over 18 years old.
    • They have a basic knowledge of the German language.

    Family Reunion Visa for Children

    Children can be brought to Germany under the Family Reunion visa if one or both parents have legal residence in the country. The exact requirements will differ depending on how old your children are.

    For a minor child, both parents must be residing in Germany when the application was made. A single parent residing in Germany is only valid if that parent can prove sole custody over the child.

    Adult children can be brought over in cases where ‘unavoidable hardship’ would result if the adult children don’t come to Germany. Furthermore, they may not be married. In many cases, if you want your adult children to join you in Germany, it will be easier for them to find an alternative means to come to Germany.

    Family Reunion Visa for Parents and Other Family Members

    Parents can also sometimes use a Family Reunion visa to allow their children to legally reside in Germany. This applies if the child is a minor and the parent possesses custody of the child. On the other hand, adults can bring their parents to Germany on a Family Reunion visa if it will prevent a specific hardship.

    Finally, some other relations can come to the country on this type of German visa under limited circumstances where there may be extreme hardship otherwise. This applies to people with the following relationships to residents in Germany:

    • Siblings.
    • Uncles.
    • Aunts.
    • Nieces.
    • Nephews.
    • Grandparents.
    • Cousins.

    Applying for a German Family Reunion Visa


    To successfully obtain a Family Reunion visa, you will need to complete the application process described below:

    1. Complete the application form and compile your documentation. The documentation required is listed in the section below.
    2. Make an appointment to submit your application at your nearest German embassy or German mission.
    3. Attend the appointment, submit your documentation, and answer questions at the visa interview.

    While at the German embassy or German mission, your biometric data, such as your fingerprint, will be taken. Furthermore, your passport will be returned to you, but they will keep hold of your supporting documentation while your application is being processed.

    Required Documents

    To successfully complete the application, you must provide the following required documents listed below:

    • The applicant’s valid passport. This must be no older than ten years and be valid throughout their time in Germany.
    • Completed application forms.
    • Completed and signed notification or explanation forms.
    • Two recent passport-style photos that fit German standards.
    • Booked travel between their home country and Germany.
    • Travel health insurance valid throughout the applicant’s time in Germany and comprehensive throughout the country.
    • Proof that you have financial means to support the immigrating family member, such as your recent bank statements.
    • An invitation letter from the German resident to the family members joining them.
    • Proof that the German resident has sufficient space in their accommodation.
    • Proof that the family member has completed a German language course to an A1 standard (beginner) on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
    • Proof that you are legally resident in Germany, such as a valid residence permit.

    Please note that if you are applying for a spouse visa, you must show a valid marriage certificate attested by a foreign officer and translated into German.

    Meanwhile, if you are applying to bring your children to Germany, you will need to show their birth certificate, child’s nationality proof, and proof you have custody of the child.

    Application Fee and Processing Time

    Applications for this type of German visa are usually processed within three months. However, the factors listed below will sometimes increase the processing time:

    • The German embassy you apply to is experiencing a backlog of visa applications.
    • You have previously lived in Germany. Immigration authorities will need to run checks on this immigration history.
    • Approval from the Federal Employment Agency or a local immigration office is required.

    Furthermore, issues with your application will also cause delays while authorities deal with the discrepancies. A well-completed application will take a substantially shorter amount of time.

    Meanwhile, the standard application fee is 75 euros for adults and 37.50 euros for children at the time of writing in December 2023. If you withdraw your application or it is refused, you will not get your application fee back.

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      Refusal of a German Family Reunion Visa


      There are two types of issues with your visa application that will prevent your family from joining you in Germany. These are issues with you as the sponsoring German resident and issues with the family member who will be joining you.

      If any of the issues described in the section below apply to your family’s case, you should consider alternative visa options that would allow your family to legally join you in Germany.

      Issues with the German Resident

      A range of issues will prevent you from sponsoring a family member to come to Germany, including the following:

      • You have a suspended deportation and are currently living in Germany on a temporary residence permit.
      • You have legal residence in Germany as a victim of a criminal offence under the Act to Combat Clandestine Employment or the Act on Temporary Employment Businesses.
      • Obstacles have delayed your deportation from Germany.
      • Your residence permit is based on being the parent or family member of a “well-integrated juvenile.

      Issues with the Visa Applicant

      Meanwhile, the application will also be refused if the following issues apply to your family member who is planning on joining you in Germany:

      • They have a deportation ban.
      • They have been or are currently a registered human trafficking victim.
      • They currently have a residence permit granted on humanitarian grounds, international law, or by a ruling from the Land or Federal Authorities.

      Dealing with a Family Reunion Visa Rejection

      Every year, the German immigration authorities reject 8,000-10,000 Spouse visas alone, and thousands more for the other types of Family Reunion visas. If your application is rejected, you will be given a decision letter which will detail the reasons the immigration authorities have refused your application. Having received the rejection, there are a few options to consider, detailed below:

      • Re-submit your application having dealt with the issues raised in your rejection letter. You will have to pay the application fee again.
      • Request a remonstration process with the German mission that assessed your application. They will reassess your visa application for free.
      • If you think that the immigration authorities have acted unlawfully in rejecting the visa application, you can file a lawsuit with the administrative court in Berlin.

      Should none of these options work, it is time to apply for a different visa to come to Germany or consider other countries where you could start a new life with your family.

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        Residence Permits

        In most cases, the Family Reunion visa is valid for 90 days. It is designed to allow your family members to travel to Germany and have time to get a residence permit to allow them to remain in Germany. Each family member you bring will require a separate residence permit.

        Eligibility Criteria for Residence Permits

        To be eligible for a residence permit, your family members must fit the following criteria, many of which are similar to the criteria for the visa:

        • They have a valid passport.
        • They have no criminal record in Germany.
        • They speak German to a B1 standard on the CEFR scale. This is the intermediate level.
        • You will be able to financially support them in Germany.

        Applying for a Residence Permit

        To apply for the residence permit, your family members will have to follow the application process described below:

        1. Register themselves at your address in Germany with the local authorities.
        2. Start a German bank account and arrange health insurance.
        3. Go to the nearest local immigration office to pick up the application forms and complete them.
        4. Book and attend an appointment at the local immigration office. Make sure they bring all their supporting documents and are prepared to answer interview questions.

        Your family members must have residence permits before their visa eligibility runs out. The application process usually takes a few weeks, so it is important to submit the application as soon as possible. Otherwise, your family may be forced to leave Germany before their application has been processed.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        The Germany family visa is an essential document allowing your family to join you as legal residents in Germany. It can be obtained by your spouse and children and more distant relatives in some cases. However, to obtain the family visa, they will need to meet stringent requirements and complete a challenging application. Once in Germany, they will need to successfully apply for a residence permit.

        Due to this process’s complexities, many applicants choose to work with immigration lawyers and advisors, like Total Law. Our experienced professionals have helped dozens of families to be reunited in Germany to start a new life together. We can help you to complete your application and liaise with the German authorities to keep you updated on its progress. We can also provide legal assistance if your application is denied.

        To get further advice, please get in touch with Total Law at 0333 305 9375 or visit us online to find out more about the services we offer.

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                  Related pages for your continued reading.


                  Working on a Family Reunion visa will depend entirely on the type of residence permit that your family member can obtain. To work, they will need to apply for a residence permit authorizing employment.

                  Luckily, the basic pre-requisite for a residence permit authorizing employment is that the applicant is in Germany on a long-stay visa. The Family Reunion visa is included in this category.

                  The European Union has signed visa facilitation agreements with a range of countries to secure lower visa fees. Each country has a different fee, so you will need to investigate your specific country. The following nations have visa facilitation agreements with the EU.

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

                  As a holder of a Family Reunion visa and residence permit, you will be able to get citizenship by naturalisation. You must fit the following criteria to apply for this form of citizenship:

                  • You have been a legal resident of Germany for the past eight years. The period is reduced to seven years for applicants who have completed a special integration course.
                  • You will often need to renounce your previous citizenship.
                  • You have obeyed the law and paid the proper taxes while in Germany.
                  • You will be able to financially support yourself once you are a citizen.
                  • You have passed a citizenship test.