Family Reunification

What is family reunification?

Family reunification is when dependent family members such as children, spouses, parents, etc. are brought together after a period of separation.  For asylum-seekers and refugees, this process can happen within a country of asylum, across borders, back to country of origin or to a third country.

I have a relative in a third country, do I qualify for family reunification?

It depends.  Family reunification programs in places like Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand generally require that your relative has legal status in that country, often refugee or another sort of protection status.  Depending on the country, other requirements may apply.  In general, family reunification is possible for child/parent and husband/wife relationships, but there are exceptions to this, and every country has different requirements.

How do I find out if I qualify for family reunification?

Your relative should be able to advise on your eligibility after speaking with a lawyer or social worker in the country where they live.  Most countries offer free legal services through NGOs.  You can also look up the requirements online for the specific country where your relative is located.  The process can be complex and confusing, so it is important to get information on eligibly and filing through trusted resources.  UNHCR can help to advise you on your eligibility as well.

I know I qualify for family reunification, but my relative and I do not know how to start the process. What do I do?

Depending on the country of intended destination, UNHCR may be able to help connect you to a lawyer through our network of offices abroad, or an ongoing project UNHCR is running with a legal partner.

How long will family reunification take?

Once you and your relative file for family reunification, there is no guarantee that your case will be approved.  The process can be long and there are usually a lot of documents to provide and interviews to attend.  In some cases, you may be required to give DNA.  UNHCR cannot advise on timelines for individual family reunification programs.  If you have a case in process, please bring it to UNHCR’s attention in the event we can possibly help.

How can I get in touch with UNHCR on my family reunification inquiries?

Please contact us on [email protected]

You can also visit our Frequently asked questions for quick information about UNHCR in Tunisiaaccommodationfinancial assistanceeducation and other helpful services. 

See also

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