Unaccompanied children

Children and adolescents under 18 years of age are considered to be underage and cannot effectively undertake many legal actions themselves. The Youth Welfare Office takes care of them if they entered the country without their parents or other legal guardians. They are either accommodated by relatives, placed in a suitable foster home or an institution that is specialised in minors.

The juvenile court appoints a legal guardian for unaccompanied children. This person legally represents the child. Unaccompanied children cannot file an application for asylum on their own. Before they turn 18, the application for asylum can only be filed by the legal guardian or Youth Welfare Office. The legal guardian accompanies the child or adolescent to his/her personal interview at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

If an unaccompanied minor is recognised as a refugee, he/she can have his/her parents join him/her in Germany. A family reunification process then has to be carried out.