The EU’s top court says it is wrong for Germany to impose a basic language requirement on Turks who want to join their spouses in Germany.
The German language test makes family reunification more difficult and is not compatible with an EU-Turkey agreement reached in 1970, the judges said.
Germany brought in the rule to boost integration and stop forced marriages.
About three million ethnic Turks live in Germany, and half of them are German citizens. Turkey is not yet in the EU.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling is specific to Turkish migrants to the EU.
However, it could influence court cases affecting similar language requirements in the EU. ECJ rulings are binding EU-wide.
Non-EU nationals applying to stay permanently in the UK have to demonstrate intermediate English language skills and pass a “Life in the UK” test.
EU nationals enjoy visa-free travel throughout the 28-nation EU and the residence rules are less strict for them.
Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) said the ECJ ruling only applied to Turks, and the language test would still be a requirement for immigrants’ spouses from other countries.