Stay of family members

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Stay of family members

Example case
comes from Spain. She has been in Germany for two months and has a part-time employment contract. She earns 600 Euro a month. Her husband, who stayed in Spain, has Colombian nationality and an EU long-term residence permit in Spain. Alba wants him to come to her in Germany to build a new life here together. Alba’s husband already has a job offer from Germany. The employer wants to hire him immediately and is now asking for his residence and work permit. Alba called the local Foreigners authority. She was told there that she needed sufficient income and a large apartment so that her husband could come to Germany. He should apply for the residence permit from Spain. The employer who wants to employ her husband puts pressure on: If her husband does not start the job within the next few weeks, he will have to hire someone else. Alba is overwhelmed and wonders whether her husband should start working without papers.

1. Legal Advice centre

As an EU citizen with the right to free movement, Alba has the same rights as German citizens. This also includes the right to live with their family.

In order to get accurate and reliable information about their status, Alba can contact an Advice centre that advises on the subject of residence law. The advice is free of charge. In order to find a native-speaking Advice centre in her area, Alba researched here:

If Alba’s husband moves with her, as a family member of an EU citizen he has the same rights as his wife: He is allowed to stay and work in Germany without the need for a further permit. Contrary to the information given by the local Foreigners authority over the phone, Alba’s income and the size of her apartment are irrelevant.

Family members who are entitled to free movement and who are not EU citizens receive a certificate of residence permit upon request (Residence card). Alba’s husband can, however, start his work before the residence card from is issued. The right to work arises from the law and the residence card only has a “declaratory” character, i.e. only certifies the existing right of residence. So Alba’s husband has nothing to fear and should ask for an employment contract in the regular way.

2. Entry

Since Alba’s husband has the permanent residence card from Spain, he does not need a visa to enter Germany. A valid passport is sufficient.

If he did not have this residence document, he would generally have to present an entry visa when entering the country. What would happen if he showed up at the border without an entry visa? In this case, the entry visa could also be issued by the border authorities if he can prove that he is married to an EU citizen who is already in Germany. As proof he has to present a marriage certificate, which was either issued in a European country or recognised and authenticated.

3. Residents registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt)

Alba’s husband is obliged to register his place of residence with the Registration office within two weeks of moving into the new apartment If her husband has kept his address in Spain, this period does not start until three months after he has moved into the apartment in Germany.

Any difficulties with registering the place of residence do not affect his ability to take up a job (see here in Chapter 1: Working without a registration address).

4. Health insurance

If Alba’s husband starts work immediately, he will usually be insured by the employer. He only has to inform the employer with which health insurance company he wants to be insured.

If he does not start work immediately, he should be included in the family insurance through Alba in order to avoid staying in Germany without health insurance.

5. Foreigners authority

In order to get the residence card, Alba’s husband has to contact the Foreigners authority.

Alba and her husband need their marriage certificate for the Foreigners authority. Alba may have to prove her right to freedom of movement. She can do this in the form of a written confirmation of employment from the employer for example. The Foreigners authority issues the residence card for Alba’s husband. It is valid for 5 years.

The example of an EU residence card can be found in the Annex under Annex XIX PDF, 3 MB, not barrier-free

The residence card is issued within six months after the required information has been provided to the foreigners authority. During this time it can be difficult for Alba’s husband to prove his rights (e.g. starting a job).

He should therefore go to the local Foreigners authority immediately after entering the country and registering with the Population registration office. There he immediately receives a certificate that confirms his application for the residence card. The certificate also contains the information that Alba’s husband is entitled to take up a job. He can show this certificate to his employer for example.

6. Office for the Equal Treatment of EU Workers

When Alba and her husband have difficulties with the enforcement of their rights while completing the formalities, they can find information in their national language on the website of the Office for the Equal Treatment of EU Workers and look specifically for a suitable Advice centre in their area:

The Equal Treatment Office has the task of supporting workers from the EU in exercising their rights to which they are entitled based on the free movement of workers in Germany. As part of its mandate, it offers EU workers and their family members independent legal or other support through advice and referral advice.

The process can be reported using the following online form:


Alba and her husband may experience difficulties with an authority (e.g. with the Foreigners authority or the health insurance company) and/or feel discriminated Then they can also contact SOLVIT using the following form: complaint-form/home?languageCode=de&origin=solvit-web

SOLVIT is a European network of national Advice centres that has set itself the task of solving cross-border problems within the EU with authorities as quickly as possible (within ten weeks).