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Subsequent entry of family members (other relatives) - applying for a residence permit

Other family members of German nationals may obtain a residence permit for subsequent entry in cases of exceptional hardship.

The same applies to other family members of foreign nationals living in Germany and holding a valid residency title.

Other relatives include for example

  • aunts and uncles
  • nieces and nephews
  • cousins
  • Children or siblings of legal age.

Related forms and processes


The prerequisites for obtaining the residence permit are:

  • You satisfy the passport and visa obligation. You are deemed to satisfy the passport obligation if you present an alternative form of identification.
  • You have sufficient income to subsist without drawing on state funds. Your income is deemed sufficient if you earn
    • an amount equivalent to the standard rate of social assistance plus
    • enough to cover accommodation, heating and
    • any health insurance contributions.
  • There are no grounds for you being expelled from the country.
  • Your stay does not endanger or influence the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • When rejoining German nationals: the person whom you are rejoining is a German national and normally resides in Germany.
  • When rejoining foreign nationals: Your family member already living in Germany has a
    • Niederlassungserlaubnis
    • permit allowing him/her to reside permanently in the EU,
    • EU Blue Card
    • Aufenthaltserlaubnis
    • ICT card or
    • mobile ICT card
    • adequate living space.
  • Your case involves exceptional hardship, e.g. because relatives living here are dependent on your help and nursing.
  • Being joined by family members is necessary in order to avoid severe hardship.

You must also fulfil other requirements. These depend in part on the status of the family member already living in Germany. Please request further information directly from the competent authority.

Note: Citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and the United States of America can travel to Germany without a visa and apply for a residency permit. Citizens of Andorra, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Monaco and San Marino can also travel without a visa for family reasons and apply for a residency permit.

Attention: You will not receive a residence permit for the subsequent entry of family members if

  • the relationship was enforced or
  • you only entered into it for the purpose of coming to Germany.

Responsible department

  • for issuing a national visa before entering German territory: the German diplomatic mission abroad (embassy, consulate)
  • following arrival: the foreigners' authority. The foreigners' authority is
    • if you live in an urban district or large district capital: the city council (Stadtverwaltung)
    • if you live in a rural district: the rural district office (Landratsamt)

Tip: The Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) provides a Verzeichnis der Vertretungen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland im Ausland (list of addresses of German diplomatic missions abroad) on its website.


You must apply for a national visa in your own country before coming to Germany.

After entering Germany, you must send a written residence permit application to the authority for foreign nationals before your visa expires.

You will then receive either a residence permit or a notice of rejection.

The residence permit is valid for a limited period. depending on the term of the residence permit held by the family member already living in Germany.

You may request an extension. Please contact the competent authority in plenty of time.

Required documents

  • Evidence that you satisfy the passport and visa requirements
  • Evidence of sufficient income
  • Evidence that there are no grounds for your expulsion
  • Evidence that you do not endanger or influence the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany
  • When rejoining German nationals: Evidence that the person already living in Germany is a German national who ordinarily resides in Germany
  • When rejoining foreign nationals:
    • Evidence of the residence permit held by the family member already living in Germany
    • Evidence of adequate living space
  • Evidence that the case involves exceptional hardship

Note: The competent authority may request additional documents depending on the other requirements you have to satisfy.


  • First issue: EUR 100.00
  • Extension by up to three months: EUR 96.00
  • Extension by more than three months: EUR 93.00

Note: The competent authority can only waive the fees in exceptional cases.

Processing time

usually four to six weeks


You will receive the residence permit in the format of a bank card incorporating additional electronic functions. You will find further information at “Application for electronic residence permit (eAT)".

Young citizens of other countries: can also obtain a settlement permit under less stringent requirements if they

  • grew up in Germany or
  • immigrated to Germany as children.

Family members of citizens of EU/EEA countries who are themselves also citizens of an EU/EEA country: you are

  • free to enter the country,
  • do not require a residence permit and
  • are permitted to work in Germany.

Family members of citizens of EU/EEA countries who are not citizens of an EU/EEA country: You may

  • enter Germany and
  • stay there.

Please take note of the entry requirements.

Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Innenministerium released it on 16.11.2020. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.