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Important information

Target audience

AudienceStatutory refugees, Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, Stateless people


99€ only once


Be in possession of a residence permit or a receipt

Where is it?

The family reunification process

Updated on il y a 2 mois

What is it?

Family reunification” allows beneficiaries of international protection (refugees, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, stateless persons) to bring in members of their immediate family who have remained in another country.

This guarantees the right to a private and family life in France.

Family reunification only applies to families which already existed BEFORE the asylum request and which were declared to the OFPRA (marriage celebrated in another country or child born before having the positive response from the OFPRA or from the CNDA).

If you married AFTER your asylum application, family reunification is not possible, but you can request “family reunification”. Check if you can apply for family reunification on the OFII simulator.

The request for family reunification is long and complex. There are specific criteria and several steps to follow. Do not hesitate to ask for help from your social worker, if necessary.
> Read: the Réfugié sheet “Make an appointment with a social worker”

The family reunification procedure is explained in this video from the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).

How to do it?

To apply for family reunification, you must be in this situation:

  • You have refugee or stateless status or you have subsidiary protection in France
  • You have a residence permit or proof of application for a residence permit (a certificate of extension of instruction).
  • You were married , in a civil partnership or living as a couple before requesting asylum in France
  • You declared your family members to OFPRA at the time of your asylum application
There are no housing or resource conditions, you do not have to justify the place in your accommodation or your wages.

If you are in this situation, certain members of your family can join you as part of a family reunification:

  • Your husband, your wife, your PACS partner over 18 years old or the person with whom you lived as a couple in another country before arriving in France. Please note, you must be able to prove that you had a stable and continuous life together before requesting asylum in France.
  • Children of your couple under 19 years old and not married
  • Your children under the age of 18 born from previous unions of whom you have custody following a foreign judicial decision
  • Children under the age of 18 of your current husband or wife, PACS partner or the person with whom you were in a relationship, of whom he or she has custody following a foreign legal decision. Please note, you must be able to attach the official document of the judicial decision and an authorization from the other parent authorizing the minor child to come to France.
An unmarried minor, refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection can request family reunification for his father and mother, possibly accompanied by his unmarried minor brothers and sisters. Family reunification does not apply to brothers and sisters if both parents are already in France.

After verifying that family reunification is possible, you must prepare a long-stay visa application file.

This file will be to be submitted by members of your family to the French embassy or consulate closest to their home (in their country of origin or in their country of installation). -> See step 4.

You should not contact the authorities in your country of origin, neither in France nor in the country of origin. This would put you in danger. You just need to contact the French authorities.
If you do not know where your family is, you should ask for help from the RLF (Restoring Family Ties) service of the Red Cross.
> Read the Réfugié sheet “Finding your family with the international network Restoring family ties”

For the family reunification file, each member of your family must apply for a long-stay visa and add several documents.

Documents concerning your family member:

  • One long-stay visa application form per person
  • 2 identity photographs conforming to the European format (see the Réfugié sheet “Make an e-photo” )
  • The full copy of the birth certificate from the country of origin accompanied by the sworn translation (see the Réfugié sheet “Request the official translation of a document” )
  • Copy of the marriage certificate from the country of origin OR a document which proves the stability and continuity of the family bond
  • The equivalent of €99 per person in local currency (according to exchange rate in effect at the time of payment)
  • A passport or travel document that must still be valid for at least 3 months after the visa end date.
The absence of a passport does not prevent the submission of visa applications for family reunification, provided you explain why it is not possible to have a passport in a letter attached to your visa application.

Documents about you to add to the files of your family members:

  • The reference of your OFPRA file or failing that CNDA OR a copy of your residence permit with your status as refugee, stateless person or beneficiary of subsidiary protection
  • Your current postal address in France. Please note, if you change your postal address, do not forget to notify the Office for Refugee Families.
If you do not have official civil status documents, you and your family members must send “status possession elements” : unofficial proof, but which shows the family connection.
For example: photos, message conversations, screenshots of call histories, gift lists, videos of ceremonies, testimonials from loved ones, certificates of Western Union money sent (if they are not in the person's name, make a certificate on plain paper from the recipient, saying that they have received the money and explaining why they cannot collect it themselves (no identity document, unable to travel, etc.)).

The visa application for family reunification can be submitted as soon as OFPRA has granted you protection.

You must first go to the website and create an account.

Choose the country in which the visa application will be submitted, the “long stay” visa, the “family or private installation” project, major or minor, the reason “child or spouse or partner, or father/mother of refugee, beneficiary of subsidiary protection or stateless person”.

Next, you must complete the contact details.

France Visas directs your family members to the nearest French consulate or embassy in their country of origin or a neighboring country.

To find out where your family can file, choose their country by clicking here.

Once the pre-application has been validated on the France Visas website, you will receive a receipt. To finalize your application, you must then make an appointment to give your fingerprints and pay for the visa.

The procedure is different depending on the country: the arrangements for making an appointment are indicated on the France visas website on the page of the country chosen to submit visa applications. You must appear in person at the French consular service with all supporting documents and the completed, printed and signed visa application form (1 form per applicant).

Once the visa application has been submitted by your family, the Refugee Families Office of the Visa Sub-Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior will send you a form concerning your marital and family situation to complete, sign and return by post to this address :

Ministère de l'Intérieur

Direction générale des étrangers en France

Sous-direction des visas

Bureau des familles de réfugiés

11 rue de la Maison Blanche

44036 Nantes Cedex 1

With this form, you must send several documents:

  • the double-sided copy of your residence permit or proof of application for a residence permit (or the certificate of extension of instruction)
  • proof of your current address
  • all “elements of state possession”. These are unofficial proofs, but which show the family link: photos, message conversations, call histories, gift lists, videos of ceremonies, certificates of sending Western Union money (if they are not in the name of the person, make a certificate on plain paper by the receiving person, saying that they have received the money and explaining why they cannot go and collect it themselves: not identity document, no possibility of traveling...).
You must carefully check that OFPRA has your exact address.
If you have moved, follow the steps in the Réfugié sheet “Informing OFPRA of a change of contact details”

If you have not received the form from the Office for Refugee Families, you must send them a letter (address above) with your correct address.

To follow the progress of the visa application, you can complete this form online:

It is essential to follow all the steps precisely and to verify the information you send, otherwise you run the risk of having a request refused.

The visa application depends on the country and can take a long time (minimum 2 months). The deadline can be extended if it is necessary to verify civil status documents (between 4 and 8 months).

What happens next?

Before your family arrives in France

If the visa is granted to your family members, then a visa sticker is stuck on their travel document.

You must buy plane tickets and arrive in France maximum 3 months after the long-stay visa is issued.

When your family arrives in France

Your family must then go to the prefecture maximum 2 months after arrival to be registered and request a residence permit.
> To read: the Réfugié sheet “Having a residence permit”

The consulate or embassy may refuse the visa application for several reasons:

  • if you or your family do not meet the conditions for family reunification
  • if the family link could not be proven
  • if the arrival of your family constitutes a threat to public order
  • if you do not respect the essential principles of family life in France (for example: ban on polygamy).

If the visa is refused:

  1. You can send an appeal within 1 month by post to this address:

    Commission de recours contre les décisions de refus de visa d’entrée en France
    BP 83.609 - 44036 Nantes Cedex 1
  2. If you do not have a response after 2 months, you can make a request to the Administrative Court of Nantes. You must send a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt to this address:

    Tribunal Administratif de Nantes
    6 allée de l’Île-Gloriette BP 24111
    44041 Nantes Cedex 01
To help you make your appeal, it is advisable to call a lawyer or ask for help from a specialized association or a legal advisor. If your resources are low, check if you can benefit from legal aid.
> Read: the Réfugié sheet “Having legal aid”
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