Language requirement for 2nd residence permit?

6 posts in this topic

I'm a US citizen married to a German citizen. We lived in Germany from 2014 to 2017. In 2014, I got a 3-year residence permit easily with no language requirement. The person did say that if I were to renew it after the 3 years, I'd need to show some German (but I don't remember what they said specifically).

 

We've lived in the US since 2017, and we're now returning to Germany. I need to get a new residency permit. Not a renewal I guess since the old one is long expired. Does anyone know what the language requirement would be in this case? I'm currently halfway through A2. Looking through posts here and in other places, it's confusing because other advice refers to applying for initial permits or renewing initial permits (continuous residence), or not being a spouse, etc. So many variables.

 

Could anyone advise me on the specifics of my situation or refer me to something/someone who could? Thanks!

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It depends on exactly what permit you are trying to get, and to some extent the person handling your case on the day.

The relevant law is available on the internet here with a translation here.

My understanding is that to just come and live with your German husband, A1 (Basic knowledge) is probably enough (reference to relevant law here ...  English translation here)

Quote

"der Ehegatte sich zumindest auf einfache Art in deutscher Sprache verständigen kann"

 

If you want to work then you will probably need B1 and you may need an integration course first.
I'm not going to dig up references for that (too much effort) but if you know what permit will apply to you then you can look for yourself, or you can just ask.


The law uses terms like "Hinreichende deutsche Sprachkenntnisse" to define the required levels.
For the purpose of visas etc, the mapping between these and the qualifications in the EU common language framework (A1,B2, C2 etc) are defined at the start of the law I referenced above ( English translation here)

 

Summary as follows:-
"Basic knowledge of the German language"                 A1
"Elementary knowledge of the German language"       A2
"Sufficient command of the German language"            B1
"Good command of the German language"                  B2
"Advanced command of the German language"           C1


Note for all the references to various laws: The English translation has no official legal status and is offered as a convenience (if in doubt the German version is correct).


 

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This is from the Foreign Affairs office and it does not specify an exact level.

 

Does my foreign spouse have to provide proof of German language skills when applying for a visa (i.e. before arriving in Germany?)

Yes. Under the amended Immigration Act which entered into force on 28 August 2007, foreign spouses have to prove they have at least a basic knowledge of German. For detailed information on this, please click on the link below to the website of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. You can also request further information directly from the German diplomatic missions in the respective country.

 

https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/aamt/zugastimaa/buergerservice/faq/-/606848?openAccordionId=item-606682-21-panel

 

Permits aside, do yourself a huge favor and make learning German a priority.   

 

Good luck.

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I think you will find the answer is "it depends", and you will know the answer for your situation after your interview at the Ausländerbehörder.  I am an U.S. citizen, married to a German citizen who still works, and have been in Germany since 1997.  When I retired from the DOD in 2019, I applied for my Aufenthaltstitel, and my application package included my Anmeldung, proof of health insurance, financial account statements, transcripts for my college degrees, and marriage certificate.  We own our home without a mortgage and have no debt. 

 

At the second meeting, after reviewing my application, the agent told me she would process my application as soon as I provided a German language A1certificate.  At no time during the first interview, which was mostly in German, did she mention the language certificate.  I scheduled the test in Darmstadt, and after a long processing delay, received my A1 certificate.  When I delivered it to the same agent, she made a copy of it and told me I should have my three-year Aufenthaltstitel in four weeks.  Four weeks later, I received the notice from the Ausländerbehörder that my Aufenthaltstitel was ready. 

 

When I picked up the Aufenthaltstitel, the clerk at the main desk told me I would need a B1 certificate and a certificate for the Integration Course if I wanted a permanent Aufenthaltstitel when this permit expired.  Otherwise, I could apply for another three-year permit.  I asked why I needed these certificates, and he told me it was because I had not yet reached the German retirement age and I could still work.  I am working on my German language skills, but it is not a priority and has not hindered my ability to get around.  I think I am functionally at the A2 level, but will eventually take the B1 test.

 

A co-worker, who is the same age as me, retired at about the same time and lives in Bavaria with his German wife.  He has trouble with "Guten Tag" and relies on his wife for every translation, but received his initial Aufenthaltstitel without any proof of language proficiency.   As of the time when he received his initial Aufenthaltstitel, he will not need a language certificate when he receives his permanent Aufenthaltstitel.

 

The BAMF must have reorganized its website, because none of the links I bookmarked work.  The link Balticus provided has a BAMF link for more information, but this link returns a 404 page not found error.  Here is the current URL from the BAMF website that seems to be relevant; although, it has less information than I remember from the previous website:

 

https://www.bamf.de/EN/Themen/MigrationAufenthalt/ZuwandererDrittstaaten/Familie/NachzugZuDeutschen/nachzug-zu-deutschen-node.html

 

This page states "As a spouse or registered partner of a German national, you will generally be required to have a basic command of German."  I suspect the interpretation and enforcement of "generally be required" and "basic command" are up to the approving official.

 

 

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I applied for citizenship, was sent to just talk to someone for a few minutes, she certified my German as at least C1.

 

Moved home before the application was completed, the bureaucrat in the new Bundesland told me I had to do a full B1 test for a substantial fee.

No problem, got 100% in some sections and 96% overall. I think many of us are better at German than we realise.

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Thanks everyone for the replies, including the helpful research and the sharing your personal experiences. It sounds hopeful that A1 will be enough, and that I'd only need B1 if I went for permanent residence. I work in English so that's not an issue. I'll keep learning German though! I intend to get through B1, just not soon enough to apply for this permit, most likely.

 

 

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