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Family Reunification – Recognised Refugee

‘Family Reunification’ describes the process in which family members who are separated due to forced or voluntary migration come back together in a country other than their country of origin. According to the International Protection Act 2015, a person with refugee status or a subsidiary protection declaration can apply for permission to have a member of their family or civil partner enter and live in Ireland. This is called the ‘sponsor’. People with permission to remain do not have a right to family reunification. However, they may apply to have a member of their family join them in Ireland. The status of the sponsor and the nature of their relationship with their family member are relevant for the success of visa and residency applications. Immediate family members of sponsors will be given more favourable consideration than distant family members.

Who can be applied for?

  • Spouse or civil partner – if the marriage or civil partnership is in existence when the application for international protection is made.
  • Parent(s) – if the sponsor is aged under 18 and is not married.
  • Parents’ children (aged under 18 and not married) if the sponsor is aged under 18 and not married.
  • Child who is aged under 18 and not married on the date the application for family reunification is made.

When can family reunification be applied for? The sponsor must apply within 12 months of being granted a refugee or a subsidiary protection declaration or from the date of arrival in Ireland as a programme refugee.

How to apply?

A sponsor in Ireland who wishes to make an application to have a family member or civil partner join him/her must apply in writing to the Family Reunification Section of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) – see

The sponsor will receive a letter from INIS informing them whether the application was successful. Once the request for family reunification has been granted, the family member or civil partner living abroad should apply online for a visa for Ireland. The visa application should be submitted to the Irish Embassy or Consulate in or accredited to your family member’s country of residence. Details of all Irish Embassies can be found on

What documents need to be submitted?

Please note that originals must be submitted – copies will not be accepted.

Please provide your travel document and documentary evidence of your current address (for example, a current utility bill). The following documents are to be submitted for each person named in your application:

  • Birth certificate
  • National identity card
  • Passport
  • Two recent colour passport-sized photographs (Write the name, date of birth and date of photograph on the back of each photo).


If applying for a spouse or civil partner you will also need:

  • Marriage certificate stamped by the relevant authority – if you have been married more than once please provide both or all marriage certificates. Any other evidence, for example, dowry agreement.
  • Marriage Book, if you received one – If you have been married more than once please provide both or all marriage books.
  • Receipt for any registration fees paid for your marriage (if applicable).
  • Documentary evidence of shared resources (including joint bank accounts) if applicable
  • Documentary evidence, if any, of money transfers from you to your spouse.
  • Documentary evidence of your domicile at date of your marriage.
  • Documentary evidence of your spouse’s domicile at date of your marriage.

If relevant:

  • Your final decree of divorce or nullity
  • Your spouse’s final decree of divorce or nullity
  • Death certificate of your previous spouse(s)
  • Death certificate of your spouse’s previous spouse(s)
  • Original Statement of Parental Authorisation
  • Legal document for Ward/guardianship/Adoption
  • Evidence of Sponsor’s current address
  • Original Death Certificate.


If you are applying for your parent(s) you will also need to provide:

  • Your birth certificate.


*Applications for Family Reunification received by INIS before Friday 30th December 2016 included will be processed under the current legislation. Those received afterwards, will be processed under the new legislation.

Further Assistance
Further information can be found on INIS website here.
For further information or assistance with applying for Family Reunification, please contact Doras: Contact Us

Please note that the International Protection Act came into effect on 31st December 2016.
An overview of the key changes and the new process is available here: International Protection Act.
Full details on the new system are available here.

Who Can Apply?

  • Fully recognised refugees
  • Persons eligible for Subsidiary Protection
  • EEA nationals

Send your application to

Family Reunion Section
Dept. of Justice & Equality
Irish Naturalisation & Immigration Service
13-14 Burgh Quay
Dublin 2


Disclaimer: This information has been prepared by Doras for information purposes only, with no guarantee as to accuracy or applicability to a particular set of circumstances. The information may change from time-to-time and may be out of date.


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