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I currently live in the US, but I have permanent residency in Germany. I'm neither a US or EU citizen. My partner is a US citizen.

I'd like to move back to Germany and bring my partner along. We're not married - but willing to get married before our move in case we need to.

My question is how can I, as a permanent resident holder in Germany, bring my partner along? Can I sponsor him for a visa? Will he be able to work? I've been scouring the immigration and consulates websites for Germany and all the information I can find is for EU or German citizens bringing partners into Germany - but I am neither.

My partner does not hold a job in one of the "required skills" type of industries, but he does speak some German. Ideally I'd like to get him a work visa, and then find him a job in his field once he arrives to Germany. We're not concerned with being able to find a job, but rather having a work visa before looking for one as his field is not one in which sponsorship happens.

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What you would be looking for is called “Familiennachzug” (“family reunification”). You can find a lot of information about it on the website of the federal agency for migration and refugees (same page in English).

Marrying would probably help and knowing (basic) German is also usually a requirement but special skills are not. Your own situation in Germany is however very important: You need to have a job or sufficient income to support your partner/family (Lebensunterhalt) and appropriate accommodation (Wohnraum) to qualify for “Familiennachzug”.

Your being currently in the US could therefore be a problem (incidentally, I don't know exactly what the rules are in Germany but I would be concerned about losing your permanent residency right if you stay too long in the US). I think the usual procedure would be for you to move to Germany first, find a job and accommodation and then apply for your partner to join you.

Particularly relevant to your question is this:

Der Aufenthaltstitel von nachziehenden Familienangehörigen berechtigt auch zur Ausübung einer Erwerbstätigkeit (§ 27 Abs. 5 AufenthG).

This means that if you sponsor your partner for this kind of visa/title, he will be allowed to work in Germany.

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