Husband or wife in Germany = right to join them?

No. Anyone wanting to join their spouse in Germany must first meet certain requirements.

The initial step is to apply for a family reunification visa. To obtain this, the couple must present proof that they have are legally married and that the marriage is recognised in Germany. Both spouses must have reached the age of majority. Moreover, the couple must prove that they can support themselves. This means that they must be able to cover both partners’ living and health insurance costs without any support from the state. They must also show that the apartment in which the couple intends to live in Germany is large enough.

Spouses desiring to move to Germany must also meet several formal requirements. For example, he or she must present proof of identity. Additionally, a valid passport or a recognised replacement passport is required. The spouse who wishes to join his or her partner in Germany needs to be able to communicate in simple German and must hold a specific language certificate documenting this. The requirements specific to the country where the application will be processed can be found on the homepages of the German missions abroad.

These rules apply to couples in which neither partner has German or EU citizenship. If one partner is a German national, then, generally speaking, fewer requirements have to be met. The couple will usually not need to present proof that they can meet their living costs or that they have a sufficiently large apartment. If one of the spouses is an EU citizen, then the regulations of the EU Freedom of Movement Act apply.

If the spouse who lives in Germany is a refugee and a beneficiary of protection, and if a final decision has already been taken on his or her case, then different family reunification conditions apply. These depend, among other things, on the individual’s refugee status and on whether or not the application for family reunification was filed in due time.

A general overview of information on family reunification for refugees is available at

Detailed information on family reunification for refugees is available at

The websites of the embassies and consulates of the Federal Republic of Germany also provide detailed information on visas and family reunification requirements.

Last updated: 30.09.2020 Published: 01.03.2019