Family Reunification - Family Reunification in Europe

Family Reunification in Europe

A major part of immigrants to Europe do so through family reunification laws. Both Denmark and the Netherlands have passed laws in recent years to limit people's ability to do so.

  • Denmark - In case of marriage, Danish law requires both spouses to be at least 24 years old. This is known as the 24 year rule. Additionally, the couple's connection to Denmark must be stronger than to the country of origin, unless one spouse has lived in Denmark for more than 28 years.
  • The Netherlands - In case of Marriage, Dutch law requires the Dutch spouse to be at least 21 years old, and to earn a salary of at least 120% the minimum wage. The non-Dutch spouse is required to pass integration exams at the Dutch embassy in their home country, showing a basic mastery of Dutch. Where a law case would take years and thousands of euros, the EU-rules of free movement give right to family life immediately without costs more than that of a identity card. Therefore, some Dutch people move to Belgium or Germany for at least six months, in order to be governed by the EU family unification rules instead of the Dutch family unification rules. This has become known as the "Belgian Route" or "EU Route".
  • Germany - Since 2007, law requires each spouse to be at least 18 years old. The spouse living in Germany may not be dependant on social benefits and must possess adequate living space. The immigrating spouse needs to prove basic spoken and written knowledge of German language. The law applies to German and foreign citizens.

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