Submit information on the issuance of a residence card for family members of Union citizens (except Germany) and the EEA
Third-country nationals Family members of an EU or EEA citizen need a residence card for further residence in Germany no later than three months after their entry
As a third-country national, you have the right to move freely with your reference person in the European Union, to enter and reside in any Member State if the requirements of EU law are met. This includes the free choice of residence in the Member States of the European Union.
Anyone who is not a national of an EU member state, the EEA or Switzerland is a third-country national.
"Family members" means the following persons:
- spouses, life partners and relatives in the straight descending line (e.B children) as well as their spouses/life partners, if they are not yet 21 years old, and
- Relatives of Union citizens entitled to freedom of movement in the straight ascending and direct descending lines (older children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents) or of their spouses or partners to whom Union citizens or their spouses or partners are dependent.
If the EU or EEA citizen studies in Germany, the circle of family members entitled to join him is limited to spouses and life partners as well as children who are granted maintenance.
If you are a third-country national family member, you will need a visa to enter Germany, unless entry can be visa-free.
During the first three months of your stay in Germany, your stay is only subject to the condition that there is a family relationship with the reference person entitled to freedom of movement, that you accompany this person and that you are in possession of a recognised or otherwise approved passport or passport replacement.
For a stay of more than three months, you need a residence card, which will be issued to you by the Foreigners' Registration Office ex officio and within six months.
In this case, the Foreigners' Registration Office checks the existence of the conditions for freedom of movement. Among other things, it may require proof of the family relationship with the reference person (e.B. by documentary evidence). In addition, you may be required to provide proof that the reference person has actually exercised his or her right to freedom of movement (e.B. by presenting a registration certificate). If the reference person you are accompanying or joining is not gainfully employed, you should also have sufficient resources and health insurance cover (this also applies to children who may accompany you). Proof of language skills is generally not required to obtain a residence card.
Until a decision has been made on the issuance of the residence card, your stay in Germany is considered lawful.
With the issuance of the residence card, the existence of the right of free movement is established. The residence card is usually issued for five years, unless a shorter period results from the stay of your reference person from whom you derive your right of residence.
If you have not yet reached the age of 18, a person entitled to your personal care must agree to your planned stay in Germany.
- Current biometric photo
- Consent of the person entitled to custody for the planned stay if you have not yet reached the age of 18
The Foreigners' Registration Office may require the submission of the following documents:
- Recognised or otherwise approved, valid passport or passport substitute
- Proof of the existence of the family relationship with the reference person (e.B. marriage, birth certificate)
- Proof that the reference person has exercised his or her right to freedom of movement (e.B. confirmation of registration, employment contract or assurance of employment, trade license or proof of self-employment)
In the case of your recent entry, the Foreigners' Registration Office may also require:
- Visa if required for entry
When joining a non-employed reference person, the Foreigners' Registration Office may also demand:
- Proof of sufficient resources
- Proof of sufficient health insurance coverage
When joining a reference person during your studies, the Foreigners' Registration Office may also demand:
- Admission of the university or certificate of enrolment of the reference person
- Proof of sufficient resources and health insurance
In individual cases, the Foreigners' Registration Office may request further documents.
- Online procedure occasionally possible
- Written form required: yes
- Personal appearance required: yes
- You are a family member of an EU or EEA citizen residing in Germany, but do not have any of these nationalities yourself.
- You have a recognized or otherwise approved, valid passport or passport replacement and if this was necessary for entry - a visa.
- If necessary, you can provide the evidence and documents mentioned under "Required documents"
Special features :
After the residence card has been issued, the existence or continued existence of the conditions under EU law may be checked on special grounds. If the requirements of the right of residence have ceased to apply within five years of the establishment of residence in the Federal territory or are no longer available, the residence card can be confiscated.
If you have resided legally in Germany for five years with your reference person, you can apply for a permanent residence card.
Note for Swiss nationals and their family members :
Because Switzerland is not a member of the EU or the EEA, a different regulation applies to the Swiss. Swiss citizens and their family members are obliged to report their stay in Germany for more than three months to the Immigration Office of their place of residence and then receive a "Swiss Residence Permit".
Note for British nationals and their family members (Brexit): :
On 1 February 2020, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union was completed. For British citizens and their family members entitled to freedom of movement, the right to freedom of movement will initially continue to apply until 31 December 2020.
The competent immigration authority provides information on which regulations will apply in individual cases from 1 January 2021 (grandfathering or application of the general right of residence, in particular the Residence Act).
§ 5 paragraph 1 Freedom of Movement Act/EU (FreizügG/EU)
§ 2 paragraph 2 number 6 FreizügG/EU
§ 3 FreizügG/EU
§ 4 FreizügG/EU
§ 5a paragraph 2 FreizügG/EU
§ 12 FreizügG/EU (EEA states)
§ 47 AufenthV (fees)
Before entering Germany, you usually have to apply for a visa for Germany in your home country. After your entry, you can initially stay in Germany for three months without any further requirements. For longer stays, you must apply for a residence card.
You can provide the necessary information to receive the residence card when you register at the registration office. From there, your details will then be forwarded to the Foreigners' Registration Office. In this case, you do not have to contact the Foreigners' Registration Office again. They will get back to you.
If you wish to receive the residence card at a later date (at the latest after three months), please contact the Foreigners' Registration Office. For this purpose, information must be submitted to the immigration authority responsible for your place of residence.
The procedure is as follows:
- Depending on the Foreigners' Registration Office, it may be possible to receive your information via the Internet. Find out whether your immigration office offers electronic acceptance.
In the event of an electronic submission, the Foreigners' Registration Office will contact you upon receipt of your details in order to request documents if necessary and to arrange an appointment with you at the Foreigners' Registration Office. During the appointment, your documents will be checked (bring them to the appointment in the original if you are asked to do so).
- If it is only possible to submit your information in person, make an appointment with the Foreigners' Registration Office. During the appointment, your details will be received and your proofs will be checked (bring them to the appointment in the original if you are asked to do so).
- Regardless of the examination result of the Foreigners' Registration Office, you will immediately receive a certificate that you have provided the necessary information for the issuance of the residence card in order to be able to prove a proper stay.
- After completion of the examination, you will be issued either a residence card or a rejection notice within six months.
- The residence card is usually issued for five years, unless a shorter period results from the stay of your reference person from whom it derives its right of residence.
- The residence card is issued in credit card format with additional electronic functions (eATKarte). Your fingerprints will be taken at the Foreigners' Registration Office for the production. You must also provide a signature.
- After about six to eight weeks, you can pick up the eAT Card at the Foreigners' Registration Office. In principle, the collection must be made in person.
Fees apply for the issuance of the residence card and the eAT card. The timing and form of payment vary depending on the authority
Responsible for the content
Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sport
Last update or date of publication