Family reunion visa for Germany in 2024

What is a family reunion visa?

A German family reunification visa is a type of national visa that allows family members of German citizens or residents to join them in Germany. Upon arrival in Germany, a family member can obtain a residence permit and stay in Germany for a long period of time, usually for several years. In addition, such a residence permit allows family members to work or study in Germany. The family reunion visa is usually used by spouses or children of citizens or residents of Germany.

Who is entitled to a family reunion in Germany?

Any German citizen, EU citizen or other foreigner can invite close relatives. If the inviting person is a foreigner, then a number of conditions must be met: the inviting person has an EU passport or a residence permit / permanent residence in Germany, sufficient living space for family members to live, income to provide for the family and some additional conditions, for example, elementary knowledge of the German language from the spouse . We'll talk more about the conditions below. To begin with, let's figure out which close relatives can be invited to live together in Germany.


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Who is a close relative in Germany?

A foreigner residing in Germany may invite the following relatives:
  • husband/wife or registered civil partner if he/she is over 18 years of age. If the marriage was concluded at the time when the inviter was already living in Germany, then for the spouse to move, it is necessary that the inviter has had a residence permit in Germany for at least 2 years.
  • Underage children
  • Other family members of a foreigner, but only in exceptional cases to prevent difficult life circumstances. For example, if your parent is seriously ill and there is no one to care for him at home.

How long does family reunification take in Germany?

Usually, an application for family reunification is considered from 1 to 3 months from the date of submission of documents to the German diplomatic mission. If the family reunification application occurs with the main applicant, then family members usually receive visas a few days or weeks later than the main applicant.

When can I apply for family reunification in Germany?

These rules apply to foreign citizens who wish to invite their spouse:
  • If you, as the inviter, have not yet applied for a visa yourself, then your family members can apply for a family reunification visa at the same time as you apply for a visa.
  • If you already live in Germany and:
    • your marriage was concluded before moving to Germany, then the spouse can submit documents at the German diplomatic mission at the address of residence
    • Your marriage was contracted after moving to Germany, then the spouse can apply for family reunification only if you, as the inviter, have had a residence permit in Germany for more than two years.

Where to apply for family reunification in Germany?

Usually, family members need to contact the German consulate or embassy in their place of residence and apply for a national visa for a family reunion. With such a visa, family members enter Germany and then apply to obtain a residence permit at the Office for Foreigners (Ausländerbehörde). If a family member already has a residence permit in Germany, such as a visa to attend a language course or study, then he or she does not need to leave Germany and can contact the Office for Foreigners (Ausländerbehörde).


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