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Above all Children and Spouses: Record High for Family Reunification – Germany grants 130,000 Visas

In 2023, Germany reached a new peak in the reunification of foreigners with family members living in Germany. As reported by the “Welt”, approximately 130,000 visas were granted for family reunification. Most of the applications were approved for Syrian, Turkish, and Indian nationals.

Surpassing the Peak of 2017

According to the Foreign Office, a larger volume has never been recorded in the visa statistics, which have been in existence since 1996. The grants ranged between 40,000 and 85,000 visas per year after the introduction of this statistics. In 2016, the 100,000 mark was exceeded for the first time. In 2017, a provisional peak of 117,000 was reached, which has now been surpassed.

The “Welt” further reports that out of the 130,000 visas granted, approximately 47,000 pertained to the reunification of minor children with their parents. Another 5700 were destined for parents to reunite with their minor children, while 58,000 concerned the reunification of spouses of foreigners living in Germany. Additionally, another 18,000 visas were granted to spouses of German nationals.

Family Reunification to Germany: These Requirements Must Be Met

Family reunification enables foreign family members to reunite with a family member living in Germany. However, the specific requirements vary depending on the residency status of the inviting family member and the nationality of the applicant.

General requirements:

  • Stable livelihood: The inviting party must demonstrate the ability to support their own livelihood as well as that of the applicant.
  • Adequate living space: The residence must be sufficiently spacious to accommodate all family members adequately.
  • Valid passport: The applicant must possess a valid passport.
  • Evidence of family relationship: The family relationship must be evidenced by documents (e.g. marriage certificate, birth certificate).

Additional requirements for third-country nationals:

  • Language proficiency: The applicant must demonstrate proficiency in German at level A1.
  • Integration course: The applicant must participate in an integration course.

Special provisions for EU citizens:

  • EU citizens have freedom of movement within the EU. Their family members can reunite in Germany without a visa.

However, as noted by the “Welt,” these rules do not apply to asylum-seeking refugees who are threatened with persecution in their home country. They have the right to privileged family reunification, even if they cannot demonstrate sufficient living space and financial means.

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