Subsequent entry of family members (to foreign nationals) - applying for a residence permit
Under certain circumstances, family members are permitted to join foreign nationals living in Germany.
The family members to whom this applies are your:
- wife or husband,
- civil partner under the German law relating to Civil Partnerships (Lebenspartnerschaftgesetz)
- partner in a civil partnership recognised by foreign law that is largely equivalent to a German registered partnership.
The following can also apply for a residency permit allowing the subsequent entry of family members:
- spouses and children of German nationals and parents who have custody of unmarried minor German nationals and
- other relatives in cases of special hardship.
- for issuing a national visa before entering German territory: the German diplomatic mission abroad (embassy, consulate)
- Following arrival: the Foreigners' Authority. The Foreigners' Authority is
- the city administration if you live in a city district or major city district
- the rural district office if you live in a rural district.
Tip: The Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) provides a Verzeichnis der Vertretungen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland im Ausland (list of addresses of German diplomatic missions abroad) on its website.
The prerequisites for obtaining the residence permit are:
- You satisfy the passport and visa obligation. You are deemed to satisfy the passport obligation if you present an alternative form of identification.
- You have sufficient income to subsist without drawing on state funds. Your income is deemed sufficient if you earn
- an amount equivalent to the standard rate of social assistance plus
- enough to cover accommodation, heating and
- any health insurance contributions.
- There are no grounds for you being expelled from the country.
- Your stay does not endanger or influence the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.
- Your family member already living in Germany has a
- settlement permit
- permit allowing him/her to reside permanently in the EU,
- residency permit
- EU Blue Card
- ICT card
- Mobile ICT card or
- is lawfully resident in Germany as a mobile researcher.
- You possess sufficient living accommodation
- If you are being joined by a spouse:
- minimum age of both spouses: 18 years
- The person coming to Germany must have a basic knowledge of German
- If being joined by children aged between 16 and 18:
- they must enter the country with their parents or
- have a good command of German or have a positive integration prognosis (e.g. because their parents speak German or they have been attending a school where German is spoken), or
- they have been suffering under special hardship
You may also have to fulfil other requirements. These will depend in part on the status of the family member already living in Germany. Please request further information directly from the competent authority.
Note: Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and the United States of America can travel to Germany without a visa and apply for a residency permit. Citizens of Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino can also travel without a visa for family reasons and apply for a residency permit.
Attention: You will not receive a residence permit for the subsequent entry of family members if
- the relationship was enforced or
- you only entered into it for the purpose of coming to Germany.
You must apply for a national visa in your own country before coming to Germany.
After entering Germany, you must send a written residence permit application to the authority for foreign nationals before your visa expires.
You will then receive either a residence permit or a notice of rejection.
The residency permit is valid for a limited period. It depends on the term of the residency permit held by the family member already living in Germany.
You must request an extension from the authority for foreign nationals in plenty of time before it expires.
- Evidence that you satisfy the passport and visa requirements
- Evidence of sufficient income
- Evidence that there are no grounds for your expulsion
- Evidence that you do not endanger or influence the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Evidence of the residence permit held by the family member already living in Germany
- Evidence of adequate living space
- Evidence of family relationship (e.g. birth and marriage certificates, certificate of registered civil partnership)
- If you are being rejoined by a spouse:
- Evidence that both spouses have reached the minimum age
- Evidence that the person rejoining you has a basic knowledge of German
- If being rejoined by children aged between 16 and 18:
- Evidence that they entered the country with their parents or
- Evidence of German language skills or a positive integration prognosis, or
- Evidence of special hardship
Note: The competent authority may request additional documents depending on the other requirements you have to satisfy.
- First issue: EUR 100.00
- Extension by up to three months: EUR 96.00
- Extension by more than three months: EUR 93.00
Note: The competent authority can only waive the fees in exceptional cases.
Generally four to six weeks
You will receive the residence permit in the format of a bank card incorporating additional electronic functions. You will find further information at “Application for electronic residence permit (eAT)".
Young citizens of other countries: can also obtain a settlement permit under less stringent requirements if they
- grew up in Germany or
- immigrated to Germany as children.
Family members of citizens of EU/EEA countries who are themselves also citizens of an EU/EEA country: you are
- free to enter the country,
- do not require a residence permit and
- are permitted to work in Germany.
Family members of citizens of EU/EEA countries who are not citizens of an EU/EEA country: You may
- enter Germany and
- stay there.
Please take note of the entry requirements.
- § 5 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Allgemeine Erteilungsvoraussetzungen)
- § 27 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Grundsatz des Familiennachzugs)
- § 29 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Familiennachzug zu Ausländern)
- § 30 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Ehegattennachzug)
- § 31 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Eigenständiges Aufenthaltsrecht der Ehegatten)
- § 32 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Kindernachzug)
- § 33 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Geburt eines Kindes im Bundesgebiet)
- § 35 Aufenthaltsgesetz (AufenthG) (Eigenständiges, unbefristetes Aufenthaltsrecht der Kinder)
- § 3 Freizügigkeitsgesetz (FreizügG/EU) (Familienangehörige von Unionsbürgern)
- § 45 Aufenthaltsverordnung (AufenthV) (Gebühren für die Aufenthaltserlaubnis)
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Innenministerium released it on 16.11.2020. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.