Family Reunification

If you were separated from your family before or during flight or after coming to Iran, you may be able to join them in the country where your family is residing.

What is refugee family reunification?

Family reunification brings together family members living in different countries. Refugee family reunification is where a family was separated and at least one member of the family was recognized as a refugee, or subsidiary/temporary protection holder, by the country he/she lives in.  This refugee can then apply for his/her family to join them in that country.

Who is managing family reunification programs?

Please note that family reunification programs, and who might qualify for them, are set and managed by individual countries.

Applications to access these programs are not submitted through UNHCR, but through the procedure established by the country where your family members live.

Can I apply for family reunification?

Once your family member in the third country receives refugee or temporary protection status, they can then apply for eligible family members to join them. They will then have the status of a “sponsor” or “petitioner” for you if you are an eligible family member.

Whether you are eligible for family reunification depends on the criteria put in place by the country in which your “sponsor” lives, including the type of legal status they are granted in the country of their residence (refugee, temporary protection status or other) and the nature of your relationship.

Most countries allow for spouses, parents of minor children and dependent children to reunify with their sponsor.  In some countries, other dependent family members can also apply. 

Be mindful that specific deadlines and procedures apply, depending on the country where the sponsor resides.

Which countries have family reunification programs for refugees?

Dedicated refugee family reunification procedures exist in most countries.

For more information on country-specific criteria and how to apply, please go to the UNHCR Help Pages and search for the ‘Family Reunification’-section of the destination country.

Some links to country Help Pages are listed here below:

United Kingdom

If you are seeking information about a family reunification program in a country that is not listed on the UNHCR’s Help Pages, please search for “family reunification” on the government website of the destination country.

Related information

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