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Bringing your children to join you in Germany

You can, of course, also bring your children to Germany, because if you or your spouse are entitled to live in Germany, your children under the age of 18 are also entitled to a temporary or permanent residence permit.

Bringing your children to Germany

If your children are citizens of a member state of the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA), they do not require a visa to enter Germany and can live and work in Germany without restriction.

If your children are citizens of a country which is not in the EU or the EEA they will generally need a visa to enter Germany. If you and your spouse hold temporary resident permits for Germany, your children under 16 years of age will also receive a temporary resident permit to enable them to join you (Section 32 Residence Act (AufenthG)). If you are a single parent, you can also apply for a visa for your children. However, in this case you will need to obtain the consent of the other parent entitled to custody. 

To obtain a visa to join you, your children must also meet the following criteria:

  • They must not be married, divorced or widowed
  • They must be under 18 years of age.


Special requirements apply to children over the age of 16. Your local German Embassy will be able to inform you about these. If your child is already 18 years of age, they must generally apply for a separate resident permit of their own.

Birth of a child in Germany

What happens if a child is born in Germany? If at the time of the birth you hold a valid right of residence, your child will also be granted a residence permit. See Section 33 of the Residence Act (AufenthG).

German citizenship is based on the principle of parentage. This means that if either parent is a German citizen, the child automatically obtains German citizenship at birth. In special cases children can obtain German nationality at birth in addition to the nationality of their parents. You can find more information about the rules which apply in this case in the section on “Living permanently in Germany”.

Information on the internet

Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ)

Read more about family reunification for German nationals (German)

Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

Important information about family reunification (German, English)

A leaflet in different languages about the basic level of German required for family reunification(i. a. German, English)

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