You decided to move to Germany but don’t want to leave your loved ones behind? Nobody likes long-term relationships and loneliness when relocating to a new country. Hence, moving to Germany with a boyfriend or girlfriend is a better plan. But how can unmarried couples do it, and isn’t it possible at all?
There are several ways you can move to Germany with your boyfriend or girlfriend. However, the ease of the process will depend on their nationality, education, and language knowledge. Citizens of non-EU countries can join their partners on a reunification visa only if they are married.
Getting married would be the most straightforward approach when moving to Germany. Yet, in this article, we will discuss all possible ways you can move to another country with an unmarried partner.
Your partner is a citizen of an EU/EEA country
Whether you are an EU/EEA or third-country national moving to Germany, your boyfriend or girlfriend with a European passport can join you without any requirements and limitations.
The freedom of movement gives him the right to travel and stay in all European countries without applying for a visa or work permit.
Your partner is a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country
If your boyfriend or girlfriend is a national of a non-EU country, they will need to put more work and effort into joining you in Germany. In this case, they will need to obtain a visa first to enter the country and after a residence permit.
Generally, citizens from outside Europe must apply for a German visa before entering Germany. Yet, there are some exceptions.
Citizens from certain countries have privileges – including the US, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and New Zealand – they don’t need a visa to enter Germany to stay for up to 3 months (90 days).
However, if they wish to stay longer or work, they will need to apply for a German residence permit within those three months in the Immigration office in Germany.
German visas and residence permits
1. Job Seeker Visa
The Job Seeker visa for Germany is a long-term residence permit, which allows you to stay in the country for six months and look for a job.
Therefore, if your partner wants to work in Germany but doesn’t have a job yet, they could apply for this visa and come with you.
Note that having a Job Seeker visa doesn’t entitle them to take full-time employment in Germany. Only up to 10 hours per week are allowed.
This option is available only for non-EU/EEA citizens. Your boyfriend or girlfriend will have the best chances of employment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-based (STEM) professions. After they find a suitable job, a visa can be exchanged for a working residence permit.
For example, last year, German companies could not fill 337,900 STEM vacancies and more than 1.2 million open vacancies in total.
Who is eligible for a Job Seeker Visa?
The main requirements for the Job Seeker visa are:
- To have at least a vocational qualification or bachelor’s degree
- To have sufficient funds in a bank account (5,000 EUR)
- To have health insurance
2. Work Residence Permit
After your partner has received a job contact, they can apply for a residence permit for work purposes.
The application could be made in the German embassy in his home country or Germany if they entered the country on a Job Seeker visa. There are some exceptions for residences of several countries such as the USA, Australia, South Korea, etc.
In most cases, the employer will be a sponsor, and the salary will be the financial proof that they can support himself in Germany.
The length of this permit usually aligns with the length of the contract. So, if their contract is for two years, the visa will also be for two years.
An employment residence permit can be extended if the working contract is also extended or by signing a new one. A foreigner can receive a Permanent Residence Permit after five years of living in Germany.
3. EU Blue Card
They can also apply for an EU Blue Card if fulfilling the requirements. EU Blue Card is a residence permit allowing highly skilled workers from non-EU/EEA counties to live and work in Europe for a duration of up to 4 years.
- A recognized in Germany university degree. Candidates can check the eligibility of their diplomas under “foreign university degrees” on this website.
- A job offer that matches qualifications, with an annual gross salary of at least 56,400 EUR (2022). Germany offers some special conditions for professionals in shortage occupations. For such specialists required salary is 43,900 EUR (STEM professions).
A foreigner can only apply for an EU Blue Card if they already have a job offer with a minimum required salary.
For this reason, your boyfriend or girlfriend must actively apply for jobs in their field and participate in as many interviews as possible.
The permit will allow foreign nationals to stay in Germany for up to 4 years. After just 33 months of working on the EU Blue Card, they can obtain a Permanent Residence Permit in Germany.
If a candidate proves sufficient German Language level (B1) – they can get permanent residency just after 21 months. Read here more about Permanent Residence Permit in Germany.
4. Student Visa
Another option is to move to Germany to study at university. It’s an excellent opportunity to receive a free bachelor’s or master’s degree. For this, candidates must have recognition in Germany’s Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB), meaning they are eligible for higher education.
Their previous education in the country of origin determines if they can enter German universities directly or need to pass additional exams & undergo preparational courses.
Another essential requirement is a blocked bank account with 10,236 EUR. So they can support themselves in Germany, otherwise, job agreement can be an alternative option.
When applying for study programs in the German language, proof of German (DSH, Goethe Institut Certification, TestDaF B2) is required. For English programs, candidates must show results of either IELTS minimum 6.0/TOEFL 80 tests.
In addition to free education, students receive work permission together with a student residence permit. It allows them to work part-time, but not more than 120 full days or 240 half days per year or 20 hours per week.
Students can expect an average hourly salary of between 9 EUR and 15 EUR per hour. However, he will need to pay tax after exceeding a 450 EUR per month tax-free amount.
Read more about studying in Germany.
5. Apprenticeship Residence Permit (Ausbildung)
And probably the last option is to apply for an Apprenticeship (Ausbildung) in Germany, more known as vocational training.
Apprenticeship (Ausbildung) is theoretical and practical training in the chosen occupation, where you go to school and work simultaneously. The program takes between 2 and 3 years.
The most common trade jobs are various handicrafts, electrician, nurse, plumber, mason, painter, hairdresser, salesperson, etc. But often, there is an Ausbildung profession in almost any field and industry.
The advantages of vocational training in Germany are obvious:
- no need to prove funds
- earning money
- getting high-quality qualification
Yet, there is no Ausbildung in English, and all candidates must have at least a B1 level of German.
The disadvantage of vocational training is a low salary during the program. It might not be enough to cover the rent and living expenses.
Can you bring your family to Germany?
Family reunification is possible in Germany! The Immigration Authorities in Germany have established a special visa for this purpose. Non-EU nationals can receive a family reunification visa to join their family members.
However, this visa doesn’t include unregistered partners such as a girlfriend/boyfriend. To be eligible, they must be a relative of a German visa holder.
Therefore, this residence permit/visa is only available for spouses, kids, and sometimes even parents. Additionally, the person who invites their relatives must speak German, and the coming partner must have at least some basic German knowledge!
However, there are several exceptions to German language requirements. Your spouse/family member doesn’t need any knowledge of German to obtain a visa or a residence permit if:
- You are an EU Blue Card holder.
- You work in Germany as a highly qualified worker or a research scientist.
- Your spouse has a university degree.
- You are (or your spouse is) a national of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, or the United States of America.
The inviting person in Germany must meet the following criteria:
- Have a temporary or permanent residence permit or an EU Blue Card for Germany.
- Accommodation: have an apartment or house in Germany which is large enough for the entire family.
- Health insurance and money: have sufficient health insurance coverage and funds to be able to care for the family.
- Legal age: spouse must have a legal age, i.e., at least 18 years old.
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