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Residence permit for family reasons Issue for family reunification of a foreign spouse to a German

As a spouse or partner of a German, you can obtain a residence permit for family reunification if you want to live together in Germany.

The residence permit is issued for a limited period of at least one year and entitles the holder 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 partner of a German citizen.
  • You and your spouse or partner have reached the age of 18.
  • Your German spouse or partner has his or her habitual residence in Germany (i.e. the centre of his or her life is not only temporarily in Germany).
  • Your marriage/civil partnership with the German citizen has been validly concluded and still exists.

Please note: The validity of the marriage depends on the form given at the place of marriage and the marriage requirements there. The marriage ceases to exist if it has been divorced, annulled or declared invalid by an unappealable decision of a competent authority.

  • You and your spouse/partner live in a family community (e.g. shared apartment). If there is no cohabitation in a shared apartment, the assumption of a family cohabitation can be considered 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 are unable to attend them for other reasons.

Please note: under certain circumstances, the Foreigners' Registration Office may oblige you to take part in an integration course. This will then be noted on your residence permit.

  • There is no interest in expulsion against you.

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

Which documents are required?

  • Recognised and valid identity document (e.g. passport or passport substitute)
  • Recent biometric photo in passport format (45 x 35 mm)
  • Visa, if required for entry
  • Proof of the existence of the marriage or civil partnership (e.g. marriage certificate)
  • Proof of knowledge of the German language at least at level A1 (e.g. language certificate, German school, training or university certificates, proof of successful participation in the integration course)

The documents and information must always be submitted in German. In individual cases, the Foreigners' Registration Office may require less or more 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 an electronic proof of identity.

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

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

Fee: 100,00 EUR
Payment in advance: No

Section 45 No. 1 of the Residence Ordinance (AufenthV)

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

About six to eight weeks

For more information on the 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 Federal Printing Office 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 secure a livelihood.
  • A residence permit is excluded if the marriage or civil partnership was forced or was entered into only for the purpose of subsequent immigration to Germany.
  • If polymarriage is permitted in the country of origin, only the spouse or partner of the first marriage is entitled to join the family.
  • The procedure at the Foreigners' Registration Office is usually conducted in German.
  • All information provided to the Foreigners' Registration Office should be correct and complete to the best of our knowledge and belief, so that the request can be processed without major delays.
  • Incorrect or incomplete information can slow down the process and be detrimental to those affected. In the event of an emergency, incorrect or incomplete information that is not completed or corrected in time to the Foreigners' Registration Office may result in the withdrawal of residence rights that have already been granted, a fine, imprisonment for 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)