Family reunification is the immigration of close family members of a German or a foreigner citizen with a residence permit to Germany.

Family reunification is also referred to as "Familiennachzug". Read more in our chapter Family Reunification.


Temporary residence permit is, in fact, the extension of a previously held but expired residence permit for a short time.

Foreign citizens receive a "Fiktionsbescheinigung" if they are in Germany and have applied for a residence permit or a settlement permit to be issued or extended, but the Immigration Office cannot immediately decide whether the permit will be granted. With the help of a temporary residence permit, the person can stay in Germany until the decision of the immigration office. All rights and obligations of the previous residence status are retained. The validity duration of the temporary residence permit is taken into account when the right of residence or naturalisation is determined.


The airport procedure is a special asylum procedure in the transit area of​​an international airport.

It applies to refugees from safe countries of origin and people without a passport (or with a forged passport) who land at an airport in Germany. These individuals have to apply for asylum at the border authorities at the airport. When that is the case, the asylum procedure is carried out in the transit area of ​​the airport (i.e. before officially entering Germany), given it is possible to accommodate the asylum seeker there.

Freiwillige Rückkehr

In a voluntary return, asylum seekers* or persons obliged to leave Germany return to their home country voluntarily. A voluntary return is therefore an alternative to deportation. People who opt for a voluntary return are partially financially supported. You can find out more in our chapter "Voluntary return".