02 Apr Not without My Family: Guide to Family Reunion for Nurses in Germany
In Germany, the constitutional law (Grundgesetz) grants special protection of marriage and the family. For this reason, it is generally possible that family members of foreign workers who are living in Germany can immigrate to Germany to join their family member—of course, under certain conditions. We have summarized the most important facts about family reunion for you. Nevertheless, the Care With Care team absolutely recommends that everyone considering family reunion should obtain detailed and professional advice. The team will be happy to assist in finding respective counseling centers across Germany.
Main facts on family reunion
The term ‘family reunion’ refers to the immigration of family members of a person who is already living (and working) in the destination country. The purpose is to facilitate family reunification. Under certain conditions, foreign citizens may obtain a residence permit for Germany if close family members already hold a residence permit for Germany or even have German citizenship. Family reunion typically involves bringing the person’s spouse and/or minor children to join them in Germany. In very exceptional cases, approval is granted to bring other relatives, such as (grand)parents and grandchildren.
The legal framework for family reunion is built by the German Residence Act (Sections 27-36 AufenthG), the Asylum Act (Section 26 AsylG), and the Act on the General Freedom of Movement for EU citizens (Section 5 para. 2). Approval for immigration of family members is granted by the immigration authorities in liaison with the relevant German diplomatic mission abroad. However, the approval of family reunion is handled differently in the German Federal States, the legal conditions in the states also differ. For this reason, an individual consultation at your place of residence is imperative.
Conditions for family reunion
To be permitted to join a close family member who is already living in Germany, the following conditions must normally be fulfilled:
- The identity of the immigrating person must be clear and verified.
- The family member who is already resident in Germany must have a residence or settlement permit or must be a German citizen.
- For subsequently immigrating partners: If the marriage did not already exist in the country of origin, the partner who is already resident in Germany must have had a residence permit for at least two years—only then can the other partner immigrate.
- The family member who is resident in Germany must provide sufficient accommodation space for all immigrating persons.
- The family member who is resident in Germany must have sufficient income to be able to provide for the immigrating person(s). The family must not be dependent on social welfare benefits.
- There must be no serious public interest in expelling the person who is immigrating: The person who is immigrating must not have committed any offences and must not pose a risk to public safety in Germany.
- To enter Germany, all immigrating family members require a Family Reunion Visa to Join a Relative or Partner in Germany. To remain in Germany in the longer term, they will then require a residence permit.
- Family reunion is generally restricted to the spouse or registered partner and to minor children and, in the case of minor residents in Germany, family reunion is limited to their parents. Please note: Children over the age of 16 may only immigrate in exceptional cases.
- The immigrating spouses or partners must prove that they have at least a basic knowledge of German—typically by the German language certificate A1 (European Language Certificate).
All documents need to be brought as originals, plus 2 copies of each document (except for application & explanation forms). All documents need to be submitted in either German or English or via a notarial certified translation.
At the moment, the issuance of a German family reunion visa in the Philippines costs € 75 for adults and € 30 for minors.
Required documents to obtain the Family Reunion Visa
For family reunion, the immigrating family member must apply for a visa for the purposes of family reunification to the German diplomatic mission in the country in which he or she is normally resident or in which he or she has been permitted to reside for at least six months. To receive the visa, the person needs to submit several documents to the embassy or consulate closest to his or her residence home.
Documents generally required for a German visa are:
- 2 application forms, duly completed with correct information & signed
- 2 completed & signed explanation forms
- 3 recent biometric photos (according to ICAO standards)
- Valid passport
- Birth certificate
- Copies of the identification card or passport & certificate of registration of the person already residing in Germany
- Copy of residence or settlement permit of the person already residing in Germany
- Invitation letter by the family member residing in Germany, confirming he or she wants the relative to move to Germany for family reunion reasons
Additional documents specifically required for the German Family Reunion visa are:
- Proof of accommodation to verify sufficient space for the applicant at the resident’s home
- Proof of financial means of the person residing in Germany, proving he or she can financially support the immigrating family member(s)
- Proof of German language skills of the applicant, if min. 18 years old (min. level A1 of European Language Certificate)
- For spouses or registered partners: Registration or marriage certificate translated into German & certified by the Germany embassy
- For children: Birth certificate & proof of kid’s nationality, plus proof of right of care and custody of the parent residing in Germany
- For Filipino residents: PSA Index Certificate > CRS FORM No. 4 (CENOMAR) or PSA CRS Form No. 5 Advisory on Marriages
- Proof of German health & travel insurance
In 5 easy steps to your family visa for Germany
If you follow all the rules and collect all necessary documents, you will quickly receive your family reunion visa for Germany:
1. Thoroughly prepare your visa application
Carefully collect, complete, print and sign all required documents before applying. Note that you will need two copies of each document and handwritten forms will not be accepted.
2. Make an appointment for submitting your application
It’s mandatory to book an appointment with the German embassy or consulate closest to you to submit all your visa application documents. So please reserve one in advance.
3. Personally submit your visa application
Be on time for your visa application appointment! And remember that you need to go there in person to submit all your documents. If the application is complete your passport, application form and documents will be held temporarily by the embassy or consulate.
4. Wait for application & biometric data collection
All your application form data will be entered into the online system of the German embassy or consulate. You will normally receive a printed copy of your application. Please check all the details on it and verify by signature that all the data is correct. After paying your visa, you will get a receipt to later collect your visa and passport—carefully keep it. Your biometrics will also be collected as well as a 10-digit fingerprint scan.
5. Collect your visa & passport
Congrats! You have completed the visa application process. Your application will be examined and approved by the German embassy or consulate and the German immigration authorities. Make sure you keep your payment receipt to collect your visa and passport after confirmation.
Advice centers across Germany
In Germany, depending on the Federal State, there are different contact points where the person already resident in Germany can obtain advice on the topic of family reunion. These include cities and municipalities, welcome centers, refugee advice centers, charities and other organizations. The Care With Care team will be happy to help you find an advice center near where you live.
Finally, we like to recommend you a video of GerMangyan, which summarizes her experience with family reunion.a
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