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Procedure descriptions

Joining for family reasons (additional family members) - apply for a residence permit

To avoid exceptional hardship, other foreign family members of Germans may be granted a residence permit for family reasons.

The same applies to other family members of foreign nationals who live in Germany and hold a valid residence title.

Other family members are, for example:

  • Parents of children of full age
  • Aunts and uncles
  • Nieces and nephews
  • Cousins
  • children of full age or siblings of full age

Responsible department

  • for the issuance of a national visa before entering the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany: the German mission abroad (embassy, consulate)
  • after entry: the foreigners authority
    Foreigners authority is
    • if you live in a city district or in a large district town: the city administration
    • if you live in a town or municipality belonging to a district: the district administration office (Landratsamt)

Tip: The Federal Foreign Office provides a list of the representations of the Federal Republic of Germany abroad on its website.



the requirements for the residence permit are:

  • You fulfil the passport and visa requirements.
    For the passport obligation, it is sufficient if you have a substitute identity card.
  • Your livelihood is secured without you having recourse to public funds.
    Your livelihood is considered secure if you
    • Income in the amount of the simple social welfare standard rate plus
    • Costs for accommodation and heating and
    • any health insurance contributions.
  • There is no interest in deportation against you.
  • Your stay does not endanger or impair the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • in case of reunification with Germans additionally: The person you are reunifying with has German citizenship and usually resides in Germany.
  • in the case of reunification with non-Germans additionally: Your family member who is already living in Germany has a
    • Settlement permit
    • Permit for permanent residence EU
    • EU Blue Card
    • Residence permit
    • ICT card or
    • Mobile ICT card and
    • sufficient living space available.
  • Family reunification is necessary to avoid exceptional hardship.
    The political or economic conditions in the home country do not constitute exceptional hardship.

In addition, you must fulfil further requirements. These partly depend on the status of the family member already living in Germany. Please enquire directly at the Foreigners' Registration Office or the competent German mission abroad.

Note: Nationals of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America may enter Germany without a visa and apply for a residence permit.

Nationals of Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino may also enter Germany visa-free for family reunification and apply for a residence permit.

Attention: You will not receive a residence permit for family reasons if you have forced the family relationship or if you have

  • forced the relationship or
  • you only entered into the relationship for the purpose of joining your family in Germany.


Before entering Germany, you must apply for a national visa in your home country.

After entering the country, you must apply for the residence title in writing to the competent office before your visa expires.

You will then either receive the residence permit or a rejection notice.

The residence permit is limited in time. It is based on the length of stay of your family member already living in Germany.

You can apply for an extension. Contact the competent office in good time.



Required documents

  • Proof of fulfilment of passport and visa requirements
  • Proof of secure means of subsistence
  • Proof that there is no interest in deportation against you
  • Proof that you do not endanger or prejudice the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • in case of joining Germans additionally: proof of German citizenship and habitual residence in Germany of the person you are joining
  • in case of joining non-Germans additionally:
    • Proof of residence title of your family member already living in Germany
    • Proof of sufficient living space
  • Proof that an exceptional case of hardship exists

Note: Depending on which other requirements you have to fulfil, the competent authority may require additional documents.


  • first-time issue: EUR 100.00
  • Extension up to three months: EUR 96.00
  • Extension by more than three months: EUR 93.00

Note: Only in exceptional cases can the competent authority exempt you from the fees.

Processing time

expected to take about five to six weeks


You will receive the residence title as a cheque card with additional electronic functions. You can find more information on this under"Apply for an electronic residence title (eAT)".

Young foreign nationals: You can obtain a settlement permit under simplified conditions if you have

  • have grown up in Germany or
  • have entered Germany within the framework of child reunification.

Family members of nationals of an EU or EEA state who themselves belong to an EU or EEA state: They can

  • enter Germany freely,
  • do not need a residence permit and
  • are allowed to work in Germany.

Family members of nationals of an EU or EEA state who do not belong to an EU or EEA state: They may

  • enter and
  • stay in Germany.

Please note the entry regulations.

Release note

31.03.2023; Justizministerium Baden-Württemberg


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