Here, we will explain the residence permit rules for the family reunion of EU nationals and non-EU nationals in Germany, the eligibility criteria, and the application process. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers and solicitors in London.
Whether you are an EU national or non-EU national, if you have moved to Germany to live, work, or study, being reunited with your immediate family members in your newly adopted country is an important next step. Germany undoubtedly has a great deal to offer immigrants and their family members. Not only is it renowned for its historic towns and cities, a rich culture and heritage, beautiful and diverse scenery, and friendly people, but residents enjoy access to top universities, strong employment opportunities, and high rates of pay. To ensure that your family can be reunited with you in Germany, it is important to understand the immigration and residence system for family reunification. Here, we will explain the residence permit rules for the family reunion of EU nationals and non-EU nationals in Germany, the eligibility criteria, and the application process.
The rules on family reunification depend on whether the person living in Germany and their family members are from a country in the EU/EEA or not.
If the person currently living in Germany is an EU citizen, they are able to live, work, and study in Germany under the rules of EU ‘freedom of movement’ (Freizugigkeitsgesetz). In turn, the spouse and children of an EU citizen living in Germany can join their family members. Where the spouse/children are also EU citizens, they will also be able to benefit from freedom of movement and hence will not need to apply for a special residence permit.
If the person living in Germany is an EU national but their spouse and children are not (i.e. they are classed as third-country nationals), then they will need a visa and residence permit. On the other hand, if the family member already holds a residence permit for another EU country, they will not require a visa to enter Germany, but they will need a German residence permit.
If you are a non-EU/EEA national and you hold either a work permit, temporary residence, permanent residence, or an EU Blue Card for Germany, then your spouse and children will be able to join you. In order for your spouse and dependant children to join you, you will need to prove that you:
If you are unsure if your family members require a visa and/or residence permit for Germany, it is advisable to speak to your local immigration office or an immigration lawyer. They will be able to advise you of the options and rights available based on your circumstances and those of your spouse and/or children.
As outlined above, depending on the circumstances of the family members, a visa may not be required. If your family members require a visa, they will need to make an appointment with their nearest German embassy. The embassy will book a time and date for your family members to visit and explain the documents they will need to bring, including:
At the appointment, the applicant will need to submit the required documents and pay the EUR75.00 application fee (this is EUR37.50 for children). If approved, the German immigration authorities will grant the required visas, at which time you can make arrangements for your family members to travel to Germany to be with you.
Having arrived in Germany, your family members will then need to apply for a residence permit within three months with their local immigration office.
The steps involved in applying for a residence permit are as follows:
Once approved, residence permits will then be issued for each family member. Spouses with a temporary residence permit will be free to work for any employer in Germany while their permit remains valid.
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