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Visa for the Spouse of a Non-EU Citizen in Germany

A family reunion for spouses of non-EU citizens1 is possible, if the spouse, who is living in Germany, has a permanent residence permit. The prerequisites of §30 Residence Act have to be met.
The spouse receives a residence permit under the following conditions:
  • The marriage is valid: A marriage is valid, if both partners are married to each other and can prove this by a marriage certificate. It is also possible obtaining a visa for the purpose of contracting a marriage. Therefore the registry office in Germany has to confirm that the marriage in Germany will take place as soon as possible after the entry. For this the needed documents for marriage must be presented to the registry office in Germany.
  • Martial cohabitation is planned: Martial cohabitation needs to be the plan for the life in Germany. The visa center and the foreigners’ authority check if it is a matter of a marriage of convenience or even a forced marriage. Often the applicants for the visa and the spouse/fiancé are questioned simultaneously but separately, to prove, to what extent the fiancés/spouses know each other and if they do in fact have a relationship.
  • You can prove A1 German-language skills: You only receive a visa for family reunion, if you can prove basic German-language skills (level A1). You need to prove that you have passed a language test at Goethe-Institut, at Telc, at ÖSD or at TestDaF.
  • Assured Livelihood: For this kind of family reunion, the family has to make their own living - a certain income limit has to be reached. In order to meet this prerequisite, your spouse or / and you have to be employed. Child benefit and parental allowance are included in your income. The income must be higher than the welfare rates (Sozialhilfesätze) or the standard rates of the unemployment support Hartz IV (Hartz IV Regelsätze) plus rental costs. The migration advice centers in Germany can help to calculate your income and determine whether your reach the required limit.
  • Sufficient living space: Your apartment has to be big enough for you and your family. The requirement of the Foreigners Authority is usually 12 m² living space per person from the age of 2.
  • Valid passport: For issuing a visa or later on the residence permit in Germany, you will need a passport that is valid for at least one more year. However, applying for a passport that is valid for more than just one year will be more convenient.
  • No entry ban: If you have been to Germany or another Schengen state before (e.g. as a refugee) and your stay ended with an expulsion or a deportation, an entry ban has been imposed. Did you leave the country voluntarily, there should usually be no problem. But nevertheless an entry ban might be imposed due to not meeting the deadline for the departure. Refugees from so called "safe countries of origin" (West Balkans) are also imposed an entry ban (since 08/2015), if their application for asylum is rejected as "obviously unfounded (offensichtlich unbegründet). In each case you need to consider carefully, if there are existing entry bans and how you can annul them before you apply for your visa.
  • No reason for expulsion: There should not be any reasons for being expelled from the country (e.g. compromising public security because of a crime).
  • Compliance with the visa procedure: If you enter the country with a wrong visa or a tourist visa / "green passport", which allow you a stay of three months in Germany, you will not receive your residence permit. Even if all other conditions are complied.
    It is therefore recommended that our counseling centers get in contact with the relevant foreigners authority, before you apply for a visa.
1 Does not apply to family members of nationals of another Member State of the European Union, the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein) and Switzerland; the regulations of the right of free movement apply to them (which might be more convenient). Further information can be found under the point "Spouses of EU Citizens, EEA Citizens, and Swiss".