Family Reunion

What steps do I have to take if I want to bring family members from abroad to Germany? How can my family move in together during the asylum procedure in Germany or afterwards?

Where can I find help in order to find family members who have gone missing?

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Family Reunion to Germany

If someone has fled to Germany, they can bring their family members to Germany under certain conditions. This is called “Familiennachzug” or “Familienzusammenführung”. However, this is only possible for your spouse and for your own children under the age of 18.

Before the end of the asylum procedure, there is no right to family reunion. Thus, you can only submit an application after you have received a positive asylum decision.

The right to family reunifion applies mostly to people who enjoy full protection as a refugee (“three years”).

But family reunion is also possible for people who only hold subsidiary protection (“one year”). However, this is limited to a maximum of 1,000 people per month throughout Germany. In this case, there is no legal entitlement to family reunion, and decisions are taken based on humanitarian reasons.

After you receive a positive asylum decision, you should submit a so-called “timely notification” (“fristwahrende Anzeige”) within three months. This makes it easier for your family to join you. You must also submit an application for family reunion to the relevant immigration authority.

In addition, your relatives abroad must apply for a visa at a German embassy or consulate. This can be done either in the country where your relatives live or in a neighboring country.

Please submit the “timely notification” on the website of the Federal Foreign Office. This website also contains further information on the subject. You will also find a form there for the shortened procedure for applicants from Syria:

The requirements for family reunion usually are:

  • independent securing of livelihood

  • sufficient space to live in together

  • basic German language skills

The required papers are diverse and can vary greatly depending on the individual situation.

Please find more information about all of this at your relevant immigration authority:

Family Reunion within Germany

Reunion during the Asylum Procedure

As long as your asylum procedure is ongoing, you are assigned to a specific city or district (“Landkreis”) and must live there at least until the decision about your asylum is taken.

If you still want to move to another place in Germany, for example because relatives live there, you must apply to the Government of Oberfranken for relocation.

However, this usually only works if your relatives also live in Bavaria. Thus, it is usually not possible to move to another federal state (“Bundesland”) before the end of your asylum procedure.

Please submit the application for relocation here:

Here you find the application for relocation within Bavaria:

Reunion after the Asylum Procedure

If you have been granted asylum and therefore hold a residence permit (“Aufenthaltserlaubnis”), this is often associated with a so-called “residence requirement” (“Wohnsitzauflage”). This means that you can only search for an apartment in a certain municipality.

If you still want to move to another place in Germany, for example because relatives live there, this must be approved by the local immigration office.

For this, you usually need a job (or a trainee position) and an apartment which you can pay for. So you first have to find a job (or such a position) and an apartment, and only then can you submit your application.

Tracing Service

People who have been separated from their families through armed conflict, catastrophes, flight, expulsion or migration can turn to the tracing service of the German Red Cross (DRK). It will help you to find relatives, get in contact with them and unite families:

The Red Cross also runs a website where people can post a search ad with a picture of themselves. Any personal data of these people is being protected: