If you are an EU-citizen

If your spouse is an European Economic Area (EEA) citizen, they can join you without a visa nor any residence permit. If they are from another country, your spouse must apply for a visa for spouses joining their partners, except if they already possess a residence permit from another EU-state.

If you are not an EU-citizen

If your spouse is an EU-citizen, they can enter and work in Germany without any visa or residence permit. If not, your spouse can still join you to live in Germany. The process is similar with the one you followed to get your visa, but you must meet these requirements:

  • You have a valid residence title,
  • You rent an accommodation that is large enough for you and your family,
  • Your health insurance can care for your family,
  • Your spouse is more than 18 years old,
  • Your spouse has basic knowledge of German

There are a lot of exceptions to this last criterion: you are an EU Blue Card holder, you are working in Germany as a highly qualified worker or a research scientist, your spouse has a university degree or you (or your spouse) are a national of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand or the United States of America.

You will need to apply for one of the three residence permits for family reunification:

  • Section 29 Residence Act: Residence Permit for the Purpose of Family Reunification of Foreigners
  • Section 30 Residence Act: subsequent immigration of spouses

The basic documents you will be asked to provide are your passport and a wedding certificate or proof of a registered or civil partnership. The local German embassy or consulate will provide you with the entire list of documents you need.

If you have kids, now is the time you’ll want to deal with their documents. The good news is that it can be quite easy. Of course, if they are citizen of a EU country or EEA country, they don’t require anything to enter and live in Germany. If they are citizen of another country, they will need a visa to enter Germany.

If you and your spouse hold temporary resident permits for Germany, your children under 16 years of age will also receive a temporary resident permit to enable them to join you (Section 32 Residence Act). If you are a single parent, you can also apply for a visa for your children. However, in this case you will need to obtain the consent of the other parent entitled to custody.

Your children must meet two criteria to be granted a visa:

  • They must not be married, divorced or widowed
  • They must be under 18 years of age

Once your family has arrived in Germany, you must register [↙] them at the residents’ registration office of the city you live in. You have three months to apply for a residence permit, providing all the relevant documents regarding your situation (passports, birth and marriage certificates, pay slips…). Ask the foreign nationals registration authority for more information.

You will need to apply for one of the three residence permits for family reunification:

  • Section 29 Residence Act: Residence Permit for the Purpose of Family Reunification of Foreigners
  • Section 32 Residence Act: subsequent immigration of children

Once right of residence has been granted, your newly arrived spouse is immediately entitled to take up any kind of employment in Germany.

For more information, check Make it in Germany.

Here you find the most important information needed to answer your questions about Bringing your family with you. If you know other tips or want to share your experience, do not hesitate to contact us. You could even send your testimony which could be published on our website! Thanks for your contribution to the Leon community!