How to obtain a visa for family reunification in Germany

Residents of Germany, including citizens and foreigners living legally in the country, can invite their relatives to visit or relocate them permanently.

For this purpose, German immigration authorities have established a special visa for family reunification in Germany. This document and the nuances of obtaining it will be discussed in the article.

Earlier we wrote about the digital nomad visa.


It is a document, a subtype of the national visa, by which the immediate family members of a person with German citizenship/residency visit or move into the country. The arriving family member has the opportunity to apply for a German residence permit, get a job or attend an educational institution in Germany, and acquire citizenship in the future.

Family reunification in Germany (Familie Zusammen Fuehrung) is relevant for spouses, and children under 18 years old. The rest: brothers, sisters, etc. (even elderly parents) can apply in extremely rare cases.

Non-EU citizens can legally reunite with their spouse if certain conditions are met. To be able to apply for a spousal visa, a German resident must:

  • be of legal age;
  • speak German;
  • earn or have enough money in their account to support their partner/spouse;
  • have a living space owned/rented by the host party, which must be sufficient to live together;
  • possess one of the documents granting the right of permanent residence in the European Union, the residence permit or the EU, or Blaue Karte.

In turn, an immigrant wishing to enter Germany by family reunification must:

  • be of legal age,
  • have a basic knowledge of German (level A1).

If the couple married before the host party moved to Germany, the spouse can apply for a visa immediately, if after — the host party must prove that he/she has already lived in the country for at least 2 years on a residence permit.

Can I work?

German law allows every adult settled in Germany to work, albeit with certain restrictions. The following requirements are imposed on the receiving party (reuniting family member):

  • A residence permit allowing employment,
  • or an EU Blaue Karte,
  • or employment as a researcher or highly qualified specialist in Germany.

Reunification visa for other German family members

Child visa

The parent (or both) residing in Germany has the option of taking the children with them. The requirements for a child visa vary by age.


Either a married couple or a single parent with sole custody of a minor can relocate a child under 18 years of age.

In the case of separate custody, the parent remaining in a third country must transfer custody to the parent living in Germany and sign a consent for the child to travel abroad.

Adult children

An adult child can only obtain a visa if it prevents a critical situation. For example, a parent living in Germany needs care due to a serious illness. Or, conversely, an adult child needs care for health reasons.

However, it is easier for adult children to come on another visa: tourist, student or even work visa.

Other relatives

You can apply for reunification if you have brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, grandparents or cousins in Germany. Such visas are more difficult to obtain, and they are only issued when it is really necessary (again, to care for a relative, etc.).

It is much more difficult to move parents to Germany, but there are successful cases. The main point is that such decisions are at the discretion of the relevant authorities.

Foreigners who have managed to relocate their elderly parents note in their feedback that the case often ended up in court making the final decision on the permission for reunification.

They also note that both agencies and courts bring to the table documentation of not only the physical condition of the reunited relative, but also their mental health.

For example, there are cases where the court agreed that living alone without close relatives would negatively affect the elderly parent’s mental health and allowed reunification. And sometimes applicants have been able to prove that it is extremely important for children living in Germany to be in constant contact with their grandparents, which was also the basis for a positive decision.

Documents required for family reunification

To apply for a Familie Zusammen Fuehrung visa, the applicant must submit a package of papers to the German embassy or consulate:

  • Passport. Valid for at least 3 months after the requested period of stay.
  • Two correctly filled in application forms, the information provided must be truthful.
  • Proof of income. It is the task of the host to provide for a visiting relative, however, if the family member has the means to support himself/herself, it is possible to present these documents as well.
  • Two recent photographs according to ICAO standards.
  • A booked or purchased ticket to Germany.
  • A health insurance document for the duration of the stay.
  • Invitation from the family member.

Additional documents for family reunification in Germany:

  • Proof that the place of accommodation has enough space for another family member to live comfortably.
  • Certificate of German language proficiency at A1 level (ALTEs are accepted).
  • Certificate of registration or marriage, translated into German + notarized and certified by the German Embassy.
  • Copy of the passport/ID of the German spouse (with citizenship).
  • Copy of passport and proof of legal residence of the German spouse (without citizenship).

For children:

  • Birth certificate.
  • Proof of citizenship.
  • Proof of custody of the parent entering Germany and the parent residing in Germany (if available).
  • If the child is traveling with one parent, the consent of the other guardian to travel abroad.

Remember that all documents must be translated into German or English and notarized.

You will also need to pay a visa fee to process the application. A long-term visa for family reunification (category D) costs €75 for adults and €37.5 for minor children. If you decide to withdraw your application or get a refusal, there is no refund. Resubmission of the application also requires payment of a fee.


The application is made at the German consulate or embassy nearest to the place of residence. There, the candidate can also request a checklist of documents on paper or by e-mail.

Carefully collect the entire package. After that, you need to make an appointment for an interview at the German consulate or embassy.

Visit the responsible authority on time on the appointed day. Pay the visa fee and have an interview with an employee.

After the document is issued, the relative will cross the German border, where he or she will apply to the department for foreign citizens (Ausländerbehörde) to obtain a German residence permit. If the relative already has his/her own residence permit, they do not have to leave the country, it is enough to apply to the department.

Documents are processed within 1 to 3 months from the date of submission. It largely depends on the current number of applications.

Family reunification is a complicated bureaucratic procedure that requires not only time but also money. You can send the necessary amount of money to your relatives for processing of paperwork or visa fees in the Korona app.

In addition, the Korona app can to some extent help in preparing documents for reunification. For example, by using receipts of regular remittances to prove that a relative is financially dependent on family members living in Germany. Sometimes such evidence may be accepted along with other documents.

Available for download in the App Store and Google Play.

In our blog, we write a lot about living and studying in Europe. If you are interested in this topic, read more articles here.