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Federal Constitutional Court Determines Correctness of Language Test for Subsequent Immigration of Spouses

Finding the dream of your life abroad and wanting to bring this person to Germany under the status of a spouse entails a complication: language test. The BVerfG decided on March 25, 2011(re 2 BvR 1413/10) whether the current legislation pursuant to §30 I 1 no. 2 AufenthG, that the spouse immigrating to a foreigner living in Germany, must be able to communicate at least in simple German.


Ayla wanted to follow Isman into Germany. Both are Turks. Her application for a visa to enter Germany based on family reunion of spouses was denied by the consulate because she was not able to show proof of sufficient command of German (§30 I 1 no. 2 AufenthG). All administrative courts denied her complaint. Ayla complained to the Federal Constitutional Court that her rights of constitutional protection of the family (art. 6 I, II GG) and equality before the law (art. 3 GG) as well as art. 8 ECHR. Her main arguments are: the demanded knowledge of German is unconstitutional; it is especially unreasonable because it neither helps the integration nor does it hinder forced marriages. The required German can be learned better inside Germany. Learning the language in Turkey hinders a quick integration in Germany.

BVerfG denied initiating a case because the decision has no fundamental importance and accepting the case would not assist in enforcing the constitutional rights. N.B. The Constitutional Court has the right to accept a complaint (and initiate a proceeding) or not. The court had previously decided that constitutional protection of marriage is not touch by this provision (BVerfGE 76, 1; 80, 81; BVerfGK 13, 26). The attacked decisions correctly substantiate the principles for proving knowledge of German pursuant to (§30 I 1 no. 2 AufenthG).

The Federal Constitutional Court emphasized that the rules and regulations for granting residence permits to subsequently joining spouses must do justice to the constitution and obey the principle of reasonability. Nevertheless, parliament has a wide range of leeway.

The Federal Administrative Court, and OVG Berlin Brandenburg, in a judgment discussed on LG2G, affirmed that parliament is pursuing a legitimate interest when demanding German prior to entry and to prevent forced marriages. It is recognizable that the chosen instruments are evidently incapable of achieving these goals. It is imaginable that in-laws might use force when matters among the married couple do not work as planned; such could be more easily prevented. Even only rudimentary command of German is a start for integration. Since learning some German can be accomplished in a reasonable period this demand is only an inferior obstacle that prevents cohabitation. Besides, it can be expected from the spouse living in Germany that he visits the newlywed abroad.