‘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 person is called the ‘sponsor’.
People with permission to remain must apply for family reunification through the Long-Stay or “D” Visa application process. The status of the sponsor and the nature of their relationship with the family member are both relevant for the success of visa and residency applications.
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.
- Sibling(s) aged under 18 and not married, if the sponsor is also aged under 18 and not married.
- Children who are 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 them must apply in writing to the Family Reunification Section of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) – see inis.gov.ie. This initial letter should include the following information:
- Copy of Ministerial Decisions Unit letter granting Refugee Status or Subsidiary Protection;
- Copy of Irish Residence Permit;
- Names of all applicants and relationships to sponsor.
Once you have submitted this information, the Family Reunification Unit will post you the appropriate questionnaire which you must complete and return within 30 days.
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
- 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 address at date of your marriage.
- Documentary evidence of your spouse’s address at date of your marriage.
- 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);
- Legal document for Ward/guardianship/Adoption;
- Evidence of Sponsor’s current address;
- Original Death Certificate.
What happens if the application is approved?
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.
Who Can Apply?
- Fully recognised refugees
- Persons eligible for Subsidiary Protection
- EEA nationals