Family Reunification

What is family reunification?

Family reunification is a way to maintain family unity in cases where the family of the refugee are living outside of Ireland.

If you are granted a declaration of refugee status or subsidiary protection you may apply, within 12 months of receiving that declaration, to the Minister of Justice and Equality (i.e. the Minister) for permission for certain members of your family to either enter and reside in Ireland with you, or if they are already in Ireland, to reside and remain with you here.

Following an investigation and decision by the Minister, a family member shall then be given permission to reside in Ireland for a specified period of not less than 1 year, and in the case of renewal, of not less than 2 years.

Who is defined as a family member for the purposes of family reunification?

If you are an adult applicant, your family members are defined as (i) your spouse or civil partner, providing the marriage or civil partnership was in force when you applied for international protection; (ii) your child, as long as they are under the age of 18 and unmarried at the time you applied for international protection.

I am an unaccompanied child. Who is defined as a family member for me for the purposes of family reunification?

Your parents and your brothers and sisters provided they are under the age of 18 and unmarried. Your family is defined as of the time you apply for family reunification.

How can I apply for family reunification?

You can apply for family reunification, once you have been granted a declaration of refugee status or subsidiary protection, in writing to the Family Reunification Unit, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

What is the application procedure for family reunification?

You must apply for family reunification within 12 months of receiving your refugee status or subsidiary protection declaration from the Minister. For example, if you were issued with a refugee status declaration on the 1st March 2017, you must apply for family reunification before the 1 March 2018.

You should apply in writing to the Family Reunification Unit, INIS and provide the following information:

  • Your name, your person ID number and address;
  • The date on which you were granted refugee status or subsidiary protection by the Minister;
  • For each family member: their name, relationship to you, their date of birth, nationality and current address.

It can be useful to also provide a copy of your refugee or subsidiary protection status declaration in the correspondence. Following this application you will receive a questionnaire to complete from the Family Reunification Unit. At this stage, you will also be requested to submit original documents concerning your family members such as their birth certificates, national identity cards and passports along with two recent signed colour passport photos. You may also have to provide your travel document and documentary evidence of your current address. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may also have to submit a marriage certificate if you are seeking family reunification with your husband or wife or other relevant information or documentary evidence.

Once you have completed and submitted your questionnaire, the Family Reunification Unit will investigate your application and you will receive a decision letter. If your family reunification is approved you will receive in the decision letter granting permission, a date by which your family member(s) must enter and/or reside in the State. It is important that you arrange their travel before that date as if your family member(s) does not enter Ireland before or on that date, then the family reunification permission ceases to be in force.

A person granted permission to remain does not have the right to family reunification under the International Protection Act. He/She may apply for family reunification through regular immigration procedures; however, different criteria and considerations will apply.

I am a family member who has recently received approval to join my family member in Ireland. What are my rights?

You have permission to enter and/or reside in Ireland for a period of not less than one year, and in the case of renewal, for not less than two years. As a family member, you have the same rights and entitlements as your sponsor, provided the sponsor’s international protection is in force and you are resident in the State.