Procedure descriptions


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.

Other relatives include for example

  • aunts and uncles
  • nieces and nephews
  • cousins.

Responsible authority

  • for issuing a national visa before entering German territory: the German diplomatic mission abroad (embassy, consulate)
  • after entry: the authority for foreign nationals in the district where you normally reside

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.


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 have 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 applicable regular rate of social assistance (e.g. 399 euros for singles) 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
    • settlement permit
    • permit allowing him/her to reside permanently in the EU,
    • EU Blue Card or
    • a residence permit and
    • adequate living space.
  • Your case involves exceptional hardship, e.g. because relatives living here are dependent on your help and nursing.

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.

N.B. 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.



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.

As a foreign national, you will usually receive a settlement permit when you have cohabited with a German national for three years or more.

Required documents

  • Evidence that you satisfy the passport and visa obligation
  • 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.


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.


  • Valid for up to one year: EUR 100.00
  • Valid for more than one year: EUR 110.00
  • Extension by up to three months: EUR 65.00
  • Extension by more than three months: EUR 80.00

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

Release note

The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Innenministerium released it on 10.12.2014. 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.