Stay for family reasons

In the area of residence for family reasons, reunification rights are granted for children and spouses to join Germans, foreigners and other family members, if this is necessary to avoid extraordinary hardship.

The family is a support or care community, which basically includes the spouse and unmarried minor children. Family reunification serves to maintain or restore this familial community. For the purpose of family reunification, a limited residence permit and later, under certain conditions, an unlimited settlement permit will be issued.

The residence permit entitles the holder to work as a family member living in the federal territory is permitted. In the area of family reunification, an independent right of residence is granted under certain conditions.

For reunification with same-sex partners, the regulations on spousal reunification with Germans or foreigners apply accordingly. However, it must be a registered civil partnership within the meaning of the German Civil Partnership Act or a civil partnership recognized by the state under foreign law, which essentially corresponds to the German civil partnership in terms of its structure.

  • Valid pass . A passport must be presented for each family member. For German spouses / civil partners, an identity card is also sufficient. A child ID must be presented for German children.
  • 1 recent biometric photo of each foreign family member . 35mm x 45mm, frontal shot with a neutral facial expression and closed mouth looking straight into the camera, light background.
  • Marriage certificate / partnership certificate with apostille if the marriage / civil partnership was concluded abroad; only to be submitted in the original and as a copy when applying for the first time.
  • Birth certificate for minor children ; only when applying for the first time in the original and as a copy.
  • Proof of custody . Proof of custody must always be submitted if either the foreign father is not married to the child's mother and applies for the residence permit for personal care or a minor foreign child applies for the residence permit and one of the parents does not live in Germany. Only when applying for the first time in the original and as a copy.
  • Rental agreement stating the current rental amount in original and copy (not required for spouses, parents or children of Germans when applying for a residence permit for the first time.)
  • Health insurance . Proof of a secure livelihood also includes adequate health insurance coverage. People with statutory health insurance are adequately insured. Those with private health insurance must pay attention to the type and scope of their health insurance. For more information, please read the information sheet (not required for spouses, parents or children of Germans when applying for a residence permit for the first time).


As a rule, the issue of a residence permit requires that
  • the passport and visa requirements are met,
  • livelihoods are secured without using public funds (livelihoods are considered secured if they earn income in the amount of the basic social assistance rate plus the costs for accommodation and heating as well as any health insurance contributions),
  • there is no reason for deportation,
  • the stay is not impaired or endangered for any other reason in the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.

For spouses to join, it is also fundamentally necessary that both spouses have reached the age of 18 and that the spouse joining the family can at least easily communicate in German.

With regard to the other requirements, a distinction must be made:

  • Family reunification with a German requires that he or she has his habitual residence in the federal territory. The necessity of securing the livelihood of the family member joining the family is not included.
  • In the case of family reunification with a foreigner, it is assumed that
    - he has a settlement permit, an EC long-term residence permit or a residence permit in the federal territory and
    - Sufficient living space is available.
    In addition, additional requirements specific to reunification must be met, some of which also depend on the status of the foreigner already living in Germany.


The residence permit is issued for a maximum of the same period as that of the family member who is already living in the federal territory.

Foreigners living in a family relationship with Germans are usually granted a settlement permit after 3 years. Young foreigners who grew up in Germany or who came to Germany as part of their children can also be granted a settlement permit under simplified conditions.

Section 36 Residence Act (AufenthG)

Related Links

  • Federal Employment Agency (Hamburg Employment Agency)
  • Foreigner matters
  • Leaflet overview on immigration matters (visa) of the Central Immigration Office, HTML
  • Law on the residence, employment and integration of foreigners in the federal territory
  • Online service: Hamburg residence permit

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