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I have had several non-violent and non-drug related criminal charges in Canada and my mother, sister and step-father moved to Germany from Canada approximately 10 years ago. My step-father is employed on the NATO airbase. I was wondering about travel restrictions and possible immigration possibilities. Would I be able to travel there and I’m not sure yet, but I may eventually consider moving there to be with my family.

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I will assume two things here based on the fact that you lived for 10 years in Canada without your direct family: you are a Canadian citizen and you are not a minor.

I will also assume that your ciminal record is completed. All trials are over, you have paid whatever was due and served whatever sentence was given.

For travel and immigration, Germany only cares about criminal history of a kind, that indicates danger to the foundation of Germany itself. That is a bit vague, but basically means memberships in organisations actively (now or in the recent past) fighting Germany, so ISIS, the Taliban, Mali militias, that kind of thing. Terrorist groups of all kinds. Taking part in trying to overthrow an elected government, seditious conspiracy, treason. Really crass stuff. "Normal" everyday crime, that is investigated by normal police and tried in normal courts is not a problem for travel or immigration. It will pose a problem for permanent settlement, if you commit further crimes in Germany though. So make sure that record is the past.

You can travel to Germany any time you like. Canadian citizens do not need a visa for tourism of up to 90 days.

The fact that you have relatives in Germany does not gain you anything, since you are an adult and they are adults. The only way you would have a reason for a "family" visa would be if not being with your family would be an "undue hardship" for them. So maybe if you were the only child and your parents were old and could not support themselves any more. But with your sister there and your father being employed, that is clearly not the case.

So if you want to immigrate to Germany, you have to do that on your own. Certainly, having family here will help on a practical level, but not as far as laws and regulations are concerned.

Longer visa are given for people who study here or come here for work. Since you gave no details on your background, it's hard to say what applies to you.

As a Canadian, you are allowed to apply for one of the long term visas while you are in Germany on a tourist visa. That simplifies a lot of things in practice. But you don't have to, you can do it from Canada, too.

So to summarize:

  • Your criminal record should not be a problem
  • Travel to Germany for up to 90 days any time you want (to a maximum of 90 days out of 180)
  • Immigrate to Germany as any other Canadian citizen, for studies or a job

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