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Spouses joining citizens of non-EU countries

Live together with your family in Germany! Find out here what you need to bear in mind when your spouse joins you outside the EU.

Citizens of countries which are not member states of the European Union or the EEA can bring their dependants with them to Germany. Which regulations apply depends on the nationality of the dependants you want to join you.

If your spouse is a citizen of a member state of the EU or the EEA

Even if you are a third-country national, if your spouse is a citizen of a member state of the EU or EEA, they are entitled to freedom of movement and can therefore live and work in Germany without restrictions. All they need to enter the country is a national identity card.

If your spouse is a citizen of a non-EU country

Even if your partner is a national of a non-EU country, you can look forward to living together in Germany. For your spouse to be able to join you, the following requirements are to be met:

  • Right of residence: As an employee, you have a residence permit, a settlement permit, or an EU Blue Card for Germany.
  • Accommodation: You have rented or bought accommodation in Germany which is large enough for your family. You can find tips on finding accommodation in our section on Living in Germany
  • Health insurance and money: You have sufficient health insurance cover and funds to be able to care for your family.
  • Legal age: Your spouse is of legal age, i.e. at least 18 years old.

Your family will probably feel most at home in Germany if they all speak a little German. We explain how this can be achieved in our section on Learning German.

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Registered partners also can take advantage of Germany’s family reunification scheme if they meet the necessary requirements (Section 27 (2) Residence Act (AufenthG)).

Did you know?

... how to bring your family to Germany? 

If your spouse requires a visa to enter Germany, they must apply for it at the German Embassy or a German consulate in their country. Our world map lists the advisory and contact services of all German embassies and consulates.

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Family members of third-country nationals with an existing right of residence in Germany are allowed to enter the country for temporary family visits. You can find out which regulations apply to family visits from the responsible German embassy or from the local Foreigners’ Authority in Germany.

To apply for a visa for your spouse to join you, you will generally need to provide your passport and a wedding certificate or proof of a registered or civil partnership. Ask the local German Embassy what other documents need to be submitted. 

Since processing your application may take some time, we suggest you find out what documentation is necessary for the application well in advance and submit your application in good time.

Once your family has arrived in Germany, you must register them at the Residents' Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt). You must apply to the local immigration authority for a residence permit within three months. To do so, you must present your passports, birth and marriage certificates, pay slips or tax statements, proof that you are renting or bought accommodation and any other documents that may be needed, depending on the specific situation of your family.

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

Information on the web

  1. Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) Family portal
  2. Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) Important information about family reunification
  3. Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) ESF federal program "Stark im Beruf" supports mothers with a migration background in getting a job

Do you have any questions?

Let us advise you on your opportunities to work and live in Germany. Our experts will support you with questions regarding job search, visa, recognition and learning German. 

You can find out more about the various contact options by clicking on one of the icons in the top bar.

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