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Spouses joining citizens of non-EU countries

Why not live together with your family in Germany? Find out what you need to know if your spouse from outside the EU wants to come and live with you.

Citizens of countries other than Switzerland, EU or EEA member states can bring their family members to Germany. The rules that apply depend on the nationality of the family members who wish to join you.

Your spouse is a citizen of Switzerland or an EU/EEA Member State

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

Your spouse is a not a citizen of Switzerland or an EU/EEA Member State

You can look forward to a future together in Germany, even if your partner comes from a third country. The following requirements must be met for a spouse to join their skilled worker from a third country:

  • Residence title: as an employee, you have a residence permit, a settlement permit or an EU Blue Card for Germany.
  • Health insurance & money: you have adequate health insurance coverage and resources to care for your family. If you are a citizen of another EU country with an EU Blue Card and would like to live in Germany with your family members on a long-term basis, you only need to provide proof of health insurance coverage for yourself and your family.
  • Legal age: your spouse is of legal age, i.e. at least 18 years old

No proof of German language skills is required for family members joining a skilled worker with a valid residence title in Germany. However, to ensure that they feel at home in Germany and are able to cope with everyday life, your family members should be able to communicate independently in German. To find out how this can be achieved, see our “Learning German” section.

Joining a registered civil partner

Unmarried partners can also benefit from family reunification if they meet the conditions for spousal reunification. It is important that the civil partnership entered into under foreign law essentially corresponds to the types of civil partnership that were possible in Germany until 2018. In principle, this means that:

  • the civil partnership must be registered in the respective country, i.e. the civil partnership declarations must be recorded in official files or registers
  • and the partnership must give rise to legal effects and obligations.

The same applies to civil partnerships between two people of the same sex or where at least one person is neither female nor male.

Did you know?

... that the following applies if you wish to bring your spouse to Germany?
If your spouse (registered partner) requires a visa to enter Germany, they must apply for it at the German embassy or consulate in their country of residence. You can find a list of all the diplomatic missions of the Federal Republic of Germany abroad on the “Advisory & contact services” world map.

To apply for a visa for the purpose of family reunification, you will generally need to produce a passport and a marriage certificate, civil partnership certificate or registered partnership certificate. Check with your local German embassy to find out what other documents are required. As the processing of your application may take some time, we recommend that you find out in advance what documents are required for your application and that you submit your application well in advance.

Once your family has arrived in Germany, you will need to register your family members with the Residents' Registration Office. Before the visa expires, you must apply for a residence permit from the local foreigners authority. Book well in advance as there are often long waiting lists for appointments. To apply for a residence permit, you will need to provide the relevant passports, birth and marriage certificates, pay slips or tax statements, rental evidence and any other documents that may be required depending on your family’s specific situation.
As soon as the residence permit is issued, your spouse (registered civil partner) is immediately entitled to take up employment in Germany without restriction.

Info box

If your visa or residence permit for gainful purposes was issued for the first time after 1 March 2024, you have the option of bringing your parents or parents-in-law to Germany. To find out what rules apply to parental reunification, contact the relevant German embassy or foreigners authority in Germany.
In addition to the option of parental reunification, your family members are permitted to enter Germany for temporary family visits. Information on visas for family visits can be found on the websites of the German embassies.

At a glance: Visa for family reunification joining foreign skilled workers

From the preparations to the application forms: This step-by-step guide shows you how to obtain a visa for family reunification.

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 bar below.

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