Your family life in Schleswig-Holstein

Family reunification

German citizens and citizens from non-EU countries who are in possession of a residence or settlement permit have the right to bring their family members to Germany. This is known as "family reunification". Family members who wish to enter Germany require a visa, and a residence permit is required for the subsequent stay. Family reunification is limited to spouses (or registered partners) and joint minor children, or in the case of minors living in Germany, to their parents. 

What needs to be considered for family reunification?

As a rule, family reunification requires the family member coming from abroad to file a motion for a visa with the German diplomatic mission abroad (embassy/consulate) in the state where the person has their usual place of residence (where they have been legally residing for at least 6 months). It is important that the motion for the visa is filed for the actual intended purpose of the stay. 
The visa application is examined jointly by both the diplomatic mission abroad and the Foreigners' Authority at the place of residence of the partner already living in Germany. As a rule, certain general requirements must be met:  

  • The family member who wishes to move to Germany must present a valid passport.
  • The identity of the person must be clarified, usually by presenting the passport.
  • The partner already living in Germany must have sufficient income to support the newcomer without having to rely on social benefits.
  • There must be no so-called "interest in deportation", which means that the family member joining you must not have committed any criminal offences and must not endanger public safety and order in Germany. 
     Here you can find out more about your options for family reunification
Smiling parents with two children on the beach

Employable family members 

For couples, a job offer that involves moving abroad is a challenge for both. In order to create a real home in the new place, family reunification is an important step. But it is often difficult for the partner to settle in, especially if they may not be able to continue their career in the new place. That is why it is important for us to support the families of international skilled workers and labourers when it comes to working and living in Schleswig-Holstein. 
Does your partner already live and work in Schleswig-Holstein and you either would like to join them or are already here? Then this is your chance to realise your career aspirations. Find out more about the possibilities of working in Schleswig-Holstein. You may soon be able to combine your desire for family and career in the true North. 

Childcare and education in Schleswig-Holstein 

Parents in Schleswig-Holstein have the choice between various childcare options for their children up to the age of 5, be it a nursery, childminder or kindergarten. The wide range of childcare options promotes early childhood education and enables parents to better reconcile work and family life.

If you are looking for a daycare spot for your child, the Kita-Portal Schleswig-Holstein may be helpful for you. 

In Germany, school attendance is compulsory for children from the age of 6. Most schools are run by the state, which means that attendance is free of charge. The school career usually begins in primary school for six-year-olds and extends from Year 1 to Year 4. 
Depending on your child's academic performance and individual needs, the type of school your child should attend from Year 5 onwards is decided together with teachers after primary school. There is a choice: 

  • Community school (grades 5-10) 
  • Regional school (grades 5-9/10)
  • High school (grades 5-12/13) 

Young people who successfully complete the Gemeinschaftsschule or Regionalschule may start vocational training or transfer to a high school. Pupils who attend high school have the opportunity to obtain the Abitur or Fachabitur after passing their exams at the end of year 12 or 13. With this qualification, they may study at universities or universities of applied sciences. Alternatively, high school graduates have the opportunity to enter the workplace directly by starting a vocational training programme. The comprehensive school offers an alternative to the three-tier school system. 
For more information on the school system and educational opportunities in Germany, visit the "Make it in Germany" website.  

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