Family Reunification (Refugees)

A person who has  received a  declaration of refugee status by the Minister for Justice and Equality, may apply to the Minister for permission to be granted to a member of his or her family to enter and to reside in the State.

These special rights of recognised refugees to family reunification are governed by Section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended).

Section 18 (3) provides that recognised refugees have a right to have following family members join him/her in the State:

  • His/her spouse (provided the marriage was subsisting on the date of the application for asylum);
  • Minor children who were under 18 years at the date of application for asylum and are unmarried;
  • The parents of a refugee where he or she was a minor on application for refugee status.

Section 18 (4) provides the Refugee may have a right to have other dependent members of the family join him/her in the State, including: any grandparent, parent, brother, sister, child, grandchild, ward or guardian of the refugee who is dependent on the refugee or is suffering from a mental or physical disability to such extent that it is not reasonable for him or her to maintain himself or herself fully.

The family reunification application must be submitted in writing to the Minister for Justice.  The Minister refers the application to the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner for investigation, where report is prepared for the Minister. The Minister then makes the final determination of the application.

The procedure and statutory framework for the assessment of applications for family reunification for recognised refugees is set to be overhauled by the commencement of the International Protection Act 2015.

We assist clients at all stages of the Family Reunification process and can also assist those who have been granted subsidiary protection in the State to make an application for family reunification.