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Residence permit for family reasons Issuance for family reunification of a foreign spouse with a German spouse

You can obtain a residence permit for family reunification as the spouse or life partner of a German if you wish to live together in Germany.

The residence permit is issued for a limited period of at least one year and entitles you to pursue gainful employment.

Process flow

The procedure is as follows:

  • Depending on the Foreigners' Registration Office and your concerns, it may be possible to apply via the Internet. Find out whether your Foreigners' Registration Office offers the electronic application for a residence permit.
  • If it is only possible to apply in person, please make an appointment with the Foreigners' Registration Office. During the appointment, your application will be accepted and your supporting documents will be checked (bring them with you to the appointment). Your fingerprints will be taken for the production of an electronic residence permit (eAT).
  • In the case of an electronic application, the Foreigners' Registration Office will contact you after receipt of your online application in order to make an appointment at the Foreigners' Registration Office if necessary. During the appointment, your certificates will be checked (bring them with you to the appointment) and your fingerprints will be taken for the production of the eAT.
  • If your application is granted, the Foreigners' Registration Office will arrange for the eAT to be issued.
  • After about six to eight weeks, you can pick up the eAT at the Foreigners' Registration Office.
  • The eAT must always be picked up in person.


  • You are a citizen of a country outside the EU or the EEA.
  • You are the spouse or life partner of a German citizen.
  • You and your spouse or life partner have reached the age of 18.
  • Your German spouse or life partner has his or her habitual residence in Germany (i.e. his or her center of life is not only temporarily in Germany).
  • Your marriage/life partnership with the German national is validly concluded and still exists.

Please note: For the validity of the marriage, the form specified at the place of marriage and the marriage requirements there are decisive. The marriage no longer exists if it has been divorced, annulled or declared invalid by an unappealable decision of a competent body.

  • You and your spouse/life partner live together in a family relationship (for example, you share a common home). If you do not live together in a shared apartment, you may be considered to be living together as a family if you maintain regular contact with each other that goes beyond mere visits.
  • You can communicate at least in a simple way in German (level A1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). This can be waived if there are no German courses offered in your country of origin, if they are too expensive or if you cannot attend them for other reasons.

Please note: under certain circumstances, the Aliens' Registration Office may require you to attend an integration course. This will then be noted on your residence permit.

  • There is no interest in deportation against you.

Your stay does not endanger or impair the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Which documents are required?

  • Recognized and valid identity document (for example passport or passport substitute)
  • Current biometric photo in passport format (45 x 35 mm)
  • Visa, if it was required for entry into the country
  • Proof of the existence of marriage or civil partnership (for example marriage certificate)
  • Proof of knowledge of the German language at least on level A1 (for example language certificate, German school, training or university certificates, proof of successful participation in integration course)

The documents and information must always be presented in German. In individual cases, the Aliens' Registration Office may require less or further proof.

What are the fees?

Issuance of residence permit: EUR 100.00

Under certain conditions, a fee reduction or fee exemption may be considered.


Additional fees may apply for the issuance of the residence permit in the form of the electronic residence permit (eAT card), which can also be used as electronic proof of identity.

The timing as well as the form of fee collection and payment vary depending on the authority.

In certain cases, fee reductions or exemptions may be considered (for example, for persons entitled to asylum or recognized refugees). Lower fees may apply for Turkish nationals.

Fee: 100,00 EUR
Payment in advance: No

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

  • The residence permit should be applied for no later than eight weeks before the expiry of your valid visa or current residence permit or – if you are legally staying in Germany without a visa – within 90 days of entry.
  • Deadline for filing an action: 1 month

Processing duration

Approximately six to eight weeks

For more information on processing time:

The processing time may vary depending on the workload of the Foreigners' Registration Office.

It takes about 4 to 6 weeks for the Bundesdruckerei to produce the electronic residence permit.

Applications / forms

Forms available: No

Written form required: No

Informal application possible: Yes

Personal appearance required: Yes


An appeal against a negative decision of the Foreigners' Registration Office can be brought before the competent administrative court.

A preliminary procedure (opposition) does not take place in Lower Saxony.

Detailed information can be found in the rejection notice.

What else should I know?

  • As a rule, family reunification with Germans does not require a guarantee of livelihood.
  • A residence permit is excluded if the marriage or civil partnership was forced or only entered into for the purpose of joining the family in Germany.
  • If multiple marriage is permitted in the country of origin, only the spouse or life partner of the first marriage is entitled to join the family.
  • The procedure at the Aliens' Registration Office is usually conducted in German.
  • All information given to the Aliens' Registration Office should be correct and complete to the best of your knowledge and belief, so that the request can be processed without major delays.
  • Incorrect or incomplete information can slow down the procedure and be disadvantageous for the person concerned. In a serious case, incorrect or incomplete information that is not completed or corrected in time vis-à-vis the Aliens Department may result in the revocation of residence rights already granted, a fine, a prison sentence of up to three years, or expulsion from the Federal territory.
  • Due to the complexity of the right of residence, this description is for information purposes only and is not legally binding.

Technically approved by

Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior and Sports


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)