Family reunification

The protection of the family is an important human right. If you were separated from your family before or during your flight, they may join you in Germany under particular conditions. If your family members are still outside the EU, they may be able to join you if you have been granted protection, for instance, if you have been officially recognised as a refugee. Whether your family can join you ultimately depends on your residence status. The asylum applications of close family members should not be examined in different European member states. If members of your core family (spouse and underage children) are already staying within the European Union or in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland, a reunification with them is therefore already possible during the asylum seeking process

If you were officially recognised as a refugee

Your wife or husband, as well as your children can join you. Your children cannot be more than 18 years of age. If your children are already adults, they will only be allowed to join you in exceptional cases. If you yourself are under 18 years of age, your parents can join you in Germany. There is a separate process for family reunification: Your family will have to file an application at the German diplomatic mission in your country of origin or at another responsible embassy/consulate. It is important that you start this process within three months of being officially recognised as a refugee; in order to meet this deadline it is sufficient to file a corresponding application with the responsible Aliens Authority. There can be serious consequences if you do not meet this deadline. If you do not have an apartment that is large enough for all family members or cannot fund life for your family in Germany, the Aliens Authority is then no longer obligated to facilitate family reunification for you and your family in Germany.

Further information regarding applications can be found on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.

If your family requires help in filing the application, they can seek consultation from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Lebanon and Turkey. Here you can receive further information regarding Turkey and Lebanon.

If you were recognised as in need of subsidiary protection

Your family is currently not allowed to join you in Germany. For people with subsidiary protection, family reunification has been suspended until 16 March 2018. However, your family can already file an application at the responsible German diplomatic mission of the country you are currently in. In order to ensure that the right to family reunification still applies after 16 March 2018 – regardless of the available living space and your financial situation – the application for family reunification has to be filed until 15 June 2018 the latest. In order to claim the right to family reunification regardless of available living space and financial situation after 16 March 2018, people with subsidiary protection as well as to refugees need to file an application within three months.

If you entered the country through a resettlement programme

Your family can join you under certain conditions. Similar to refugees, you can apply for family reunification under facilitated requirements if you file the application within three months of issuance of your residence permit. For further information please read the previous section on family reunification for refugees. (Link to the point on refugees)

If you entered the country through a humanitarian admission programme

Your family is only allowed to join you for humanitarian reasons or for reasons of international law. Being related is not a sufficient reason, as it is for recognised refugees. The overall difficult situation in your country of origin would have to afflict your family more than others in order to be considered for family reunification.

If you require help with family reunification, you can seek consultation at an counselling centre. A list of counselling centres can be found on the website of the Asylum Information Network.

If you do not know where your family is or you cannot contact them, you can approach the DRK (German Red Cross) search service.