Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2017, 11:48 GMT

Germany: Whether a Ukrainian citizen married to a German citizen has residency rights in Germany, and if so, the nature of these rights; steps the non-German citizen must take to obtain or implement this status in Germany

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa
Publication Date 5 April 2007
Citation / Document Symbol DEU102475.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Germany: Whether a Ukrainian citizen married to a German citizen has residency rights in Germany, and if so, the nature of these rights; steps the non-German citizen must take to obtain or implement this status in Germany, 5 April 2007, DEU102475.E, available at: [accessed 20 October 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Residence Act of Germany states that foreigners married to German citizens may be granted residence permits (30 June 2004). If the foreigner is a non-European Union citizen, an entry visa may be required (Germany n.d.a). Entry visas are mandatory for Ukrainian citizens (ibid. n.d.b).

In Germany, two kinds of residence permits exist: the temporary residence permit and the permanent settlement permit (ibid. n.d.c), which are also known as the limited settlement permit ("Aufenthaltserlaubnis") and the unlimited settlement permit ("Niederlassungserlaubnis") (ibid. n.d.d.). The temporary residence permit is awarded under various circumstances, including for employment, humanitarian, education or family reasons (ibid. n.d.c). The permanent settlement permit guarantees permanent residence in Germany (ibid. n.d.d). If a holder of either a temporary or permanent residence permit leaves Germany for more than six months, his or her permit is immediately withdrawn (ibid.).

With respect to employment rights, the holder of the temporary residence permit may engage in employment activities only if the permit has specifically allowed for this right (ibid.). Authorization to perform a certain job in Germany is subject to the Priority Principle – that is, a job is only given to a foreigner with a temporary residence permit if it cannot be awarded to a German, EU citizen or another employee (ibid.). The holder of the permanent settlement permit is entitled to seek employment in almost any profession (ibid.). Exceptions include working in some positions in the medical field and obtaining civil service standing (ibid.).

In order for the non-European Union national to live in Germany with his or her spouse, he or she must submit an application for a family reunification visa to the appropriate German authorities abroad (ibid. n.d.e). The application must include an authenticated marriage certificate and the German passport of the German spouse (ibid.). A visa will be granted upon approval of the application (ibid.). A [temporary] residence permit will be awarded upon the arrival of the non-German spouse in Germany (ibid.).

With few exceptions, the permanent settlement permit is granted only after an extended period of residence in Germany (ibid. n.d.d). Germany lists the following requirements for receiving a permanent settlement permit:

1. Possession of a [temporary] residence permit for at least five years.

2. Five years of employment, including payment of social insurance contributions.

3. Secure livelihood.

4. Sufficient accommodation for [one's] family.

5. Sufficient knowledge of German.

6. Basic knowledge of the German legal and social systems. (ibid.)

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Germany. 30 June 2004. Residence Act. [Accessed 12 Mar. 2007]
_____. N.d.a. "A Manual for Germany: Family Reunion." [Accessed 12 Mar. 2007]
_____. N.d.b. "Federal Foreign Office Visa Requirements." [Accessed 12 Mar. 2007]
_____. N.d.c. Federal Ministry of the Interior. "Glossary Immigration A – Z: Residence Permit." [Accessed 12 Mar. 2007]
_____. N.d.d. "A Manual for Germany: Information for Foreigners That Are Non-EU Citizens." [Accessed 12 Mar. 2007]
_____. N.d.e. "I Am Not a EU National and Want to Live in Germany With My German Spouse. What Do We Have to Do?" [Accessed 26 Mar. 2007]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: German Embassy London, German Embassy Ottawa, German Embassy Washington, DC.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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