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I am a Pakistani professional living and working in Germany under an "EU Blue Card" visa. I got married a little while back and to join me in Germany, my wife has applied for a Family Reunification Visa from Pakistan.

She was interviewed at the German embassy in Pakistan and submitted several documents (both of our birth certificates, marriage certificate, etc). To verify these documents, the embassy normally hires a contractor (usually a Pakistani lawyer) who visits spouses' homes and local government offices that have issued the documents.

Recently there have been several reports of these lawyers asking the spouses in Pakistan to show them their Whatsapp conversations (chats, not call logs) with their spouse in Germany. Then the lawyers scroll through and take pictures at several points as evidence.

My questions,

  1. Is is legal to do this under German law?
  2. What can one do to stop this (who should be informed about this)?
  3. If this is illegal but already happened to you, what can you do about it?
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  • There is a longer discussion about this in case of application for asylum. Recently there was a first court decision holding this praxis to be illegal in a certain constellation. lto.de/recht/nachrichten/n/… (in German) – K-HB yesterday
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What can one do to stop this?
Refuse, and accept a lower likelihood that the visa will be granted.

Visa officials, from Germany or otherwere, try to make sure that people applying for a visa meet the legal requirements. This includes ascertaining that marriages are actual marriages rather than a sham. One common procedure is to interview both spouses separately, at the same time, and to compare the answers to quite personal questions.
"Do you use the same brand of toothpaste? Yes or no? Same tube or different ones?"
"What did you/your spouse have for breakfast?"

That is obviously impossible when the spouses are separated, so other questions must be asked.

You can bring your own lawyer to the interview (Visumhandbuch p. 149). That lawyer might argue better than you do if a line of questioning is necessary.

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  • note that OP said, that the lawyers that do the interview are not members of the German embassy's staff. – Trish May 2 at 9:14
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    @Trish, they'd still be working for the consular section. That's quite common with visa affairs. – o.m. May 2 at 10:00
  • I do think it's more a question of you offering more support for your application. Are there a lot of messages in your WhatsApp history of you taking to your spouse? In which case that's a plus for your application. But if they found an agreement of you being paid to marry your spouse so they can get into Germany, they probably can't submit that evidence for your inevitable appeal, but they might not look so favourable upon it. – GeoffAtkins May 2 at 17:19
  • My first wife was American. When I was dealing with her immigration status to the UK, photos of our anniversary cards were accepted by the Home Office as strong evidence. – GeoffAtkins May 2 at 17:21
  • Thank you all for the answer and discussion. The reason it bothers me this much is because of the very intimate nature of the chats and pictures (sent in the chat). This seems a bit excessive considering the visiting lawyer already takes prints of wedding photographs, visits neighbours of the spouses in Pakistan, have addresses of the witnesses at the wedding and both spouses' siblings among other things. – Khan-2021 May 2 at 22:33

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