Moving to Germany with a criminal record

I will be getting married to my German girlfriend in January. She is currently still living in Germany. I am an American Citizen. I would like to get married in Germany and move there. However, there is a problem that I have. I have 2 felony records. the first was 18 years ago, the second was 12 years ago. My first charge, i did not have to serve any time. I was given 5 years probation. I completed that with no problems. I then got another charge, which was my stupidity. I, stupidly, thought that once my probation was over, I could possess a firearm again. I just wanted to go hunting again with some friends. However, this was not the case. I was arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. this gave me a 4 year sentence which i served. I have been out for 7 years now and have not been in any more trouble. I know I cannot get any legal advise here, but want to get some general answers and responses. maybe if someone else has been in this situation.
I read that if you were convicted of a Public Order crime, drug charge or human trafficking, that you will be denied. But these are the only charges that I have read that could deny a residence permit. Is this true? Neither of my charges were Public order, drug or human trafficking.
Will I still be able to get a residence permit through Family Reunification being that I will be marrying a German Citizen?
I have read on these forums of similar questions on moving to Germany with a Criminal record, but all were saying that they cannot check criminal databases outside the EU or as long as your crime isn't in the INTERPOL or international database.
But my rebuttal to that is, that on EVERY Visa/Residence application, there is a field that asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime. This refers to ANY country. Even if they might not be able to see my charge if they run it through their systems, It could be likely that one day, they would be able to find out and that would make my answer on the application a lie and i would be deported and possibly banned from the EU all together.
So my question is if anyone has come across this situation or have heard of anyone coming across this situation and if I will be able to get a residence permit through marriage even with my criminal history?
should I just lie on the application?

You should not lie on the application. You will be found out. If so then you will be in deep trouble.

You have to report any record. To lie can have serious consequences. The thing is that laws differ in different countries. What might be a felony in one might be legal in another or not seen so seriously. That is what they want to know and decide depending on the details of the case.

I can't say for sure but to think that they can't find out seems naive. So it could be that if you give in the information it might still go well for you but having the same offense found out after you didn't report it can mean you will be denied entry. And Germany takes weapon offenses serious. That one violates such US laws which are known to be much laxer sounds very problematic.

For myself; I would not want to spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder. If you ever have a conflict with the law in Germany then you would be at risk of being discovered. Or say after some years you would normally be eligible for unlimited residency but a background check for a criminal record will be standard. So it s not like you will ever be truly safe from being discovered  if you lie about it.

I will relate a story although it had to do with US law rather than Germany. An English guy I personally know bought some land in Hawaii around 35 years and helped set up an artist's commune. A couple of years later he got caught with a single joint flying back to England. He was arrested but they dropped the charges so he had no conviction. But US immigration asks about not just convictions but about any arrests. He had been warned that the arrest itself having been for drugs would mean he would not be allowed to return. So he lied at immigration and denied ever being arrested, and in those days they didn't have the data to catch it.

But he could never get permanent residency in the States later because it would have meant a probe into his arrest record. As far as I know, he somehow he managed with continuous shorter term residency permits. And he was a socially involved citizen doing many great things for his community. He eventually married an American woman and took over the role of father to her multiple kids. 

Yet when Trump came in, the ICE officials in Hawaii got tough. They somehow found out about his arrest; well over 30 years before, in another country, no conviction –and now he is married to an American. They deported him! No mercy given. Maybe he should feel grateful for the time he spent in Hawaii or maybe he would have been better off elsewhere where he had a future without the risk of being discovered.

Some fundamental differences in the situations but enough parallels to make one think. I don't think I would go to the effort to create a life somewhere knowing it could be yanked away at any time…

I also think it is best to tell the truth in your application.
And since not doing so is illegal, and discussing illegal acts is not allowed on this forum, please stop mentioning it!

Also: Europe has (for very good reasons, in my opinion) much stricter weapons laws. So if you manage to move here, it is better to never touch a gun again!


Hi, l have similar concerns. Is there any update for your situation? Have you attempted and managed to get your Visa?

Hi, l have similar concerns. Is there any update for your situation? Have you attempted and managed to get your Visa?

The original post is over 2 1/2 years old and there has been no further posts from this person since. Unlikely you will get an answer. The other thing is that such situations vary greatly on the individual case. Someone else's situation might sound a bit similar but in the end result in completely differnt consequences. So really no point on relying on such antidotes. One should tell the truth and get a judgement on on's own case and go from there.

@TominStuttgart I assume you meant anecdotes, not antidotes (=medicine against snake bite)? 1f600.svg

Perhaps this website (link) may help.

@TominStuttgart Thanks for your reply. I know there is no point to rely on different narratives and distinct cases. I am aware of the fact that every case is unique and there is no posibility to see the outcome of the decision of the immigration authority previous to the application.l frankly did not make this inquiry to learn about "would you get your visa, if you do not disclose the facts about your criminal record" but "have you managed to get your Visa with the criminal record". The reason l have asked afterwards 2 years passed (over the post), sometimes Visa and immigration processes can take very long time and the person who made the post would be still active/online around here.

Thanks for your time and thank you for your reply again.