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Home / City Hall / Local public services / Immigration / Joining family already living in Heidelberg

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Central Administration Office
(B├╝rgeramt Mitte)
Bergheimer Str. 69
69115 Heidelberg
Phone +49 6221 58-47980
Fax +49 6221 58-49150

Lunch in the Wilckens School in Bergheim (Photo: Rothe)

Joining family already living in Germany

Marriage & family

Spouses and unmarried children aged under 18, of foreign nationals living in Germany and holding a residence title, and of German nationals, may be able to move to Germany to live with their relatives. When a residence permit is issued or extended for this reason, the aim is to enable the family to live together in Germany in such a way as to uphold the notions of marriage and family enshrined in Article 6 of the German Basic Law.

Spouses joining foreign nationals already living in Germany

A residence permit will be issued to the spouse of a foreign national already living in Germany, provided that: 

  • both spouses have reached the age of 18, and
  • the spouse moving to Germany can demonstrate at least a basic knowledge of German, and
  • the spouse living in Germany:
1.
holds a right to reside, or
2.
holds a permanent EC residence permit, or
3.
holds a residence permit according to section 20 of the Residence Act or Section 25, Para. 1 or 2 of the Residence Act, or 
4.
has for two years held a residence permit that can be extended, and that does not exclude the possibility of the holder being issued a right to reside, or
5.
holds a residence permit, the marriage already existed at the time the residence permit was issued, and the stay in Germany is likely to last for more than one year, or
6.
holds a residence permit according to Section 38a of the Residence Act and the marriage already existed in the EU member state in which the foreign national held long-term resident status, or  
7.
holds an EU Blue Card.

Typically the general conditions of issue must be fulfilled.
  
Evidence must additionally be provided that the marriage is legally valid, including in Germany.


Spouses joining German nationals

A residence permit will be issued to the spouse of a German national provided that the German national’s main place of residence is in Germany.

Typically the general conditions of issue must be met, except for the requirement for the applicants to show that they can provide for themselves. The spouse moving to Germany must also be able to show that they have at least a basic knowledge of German.


Children joining their parents

An unmarried child, aged under 18, of a foreign national is entitled to a residence permit to move to live with their family if one of their parents has been recognized as eligible for asylum, has been granted refugee status, or holds a right to reside for humanitarian reasons. The same applies if one parent holds an EU Blue Card or a right to reside for highly qualified persons, or both parents, or the parent with the sole right to care for the child, holds a residence permit, a right to reside, or a permanent EC residence permit, and the child moves to Germany together with their parents.
 
If the above criteria are not met, the child has a claim to a residence permit only up to the age of 16. A child between 16 and 18 can, however, still join their parents in Germany if the child is fluent in German or it seems certain – based on their previous schooling and life circumstances – that they can successfully integrate into life in Germany.
 
Typically the general conditions of issue must be fulfilled.