The family reunification process
What is it?
Do you wish to bring your family to France so that they can settle down and live with you? Have you obtained asylum in France (are you a statutory refugee, a beneficiary of subsidiary protection or a stateless person)?
If you are in one of these cases, you can then ask for "family reunification", a right granted to refugees to be joined by their immediate family who have stayed in another country, in order to guarantee their right to private and family life .
Good to know: this procedure is quite complicated to carry out, we advise you to get help from a social worker.
Who is it for?
What to do?
Is this for you?
Conditions to be fulfilled:
You have a refugee or stateless person status or you have been granted subsidiary protection in France.
You have a receipt of recognition of international protection or a residence permit.
Your family ties (marriage, PACS, common-law union...) existed prior to your asylum application.
You declared your family members to the Ofpra at the time of your asylum application.
Good to know: if you got married after you submitted your asylum application, you cannot apply for family reunification. However, you can apply for family reunification for non-European foreigners.
Which member of your family can join you?
Your husband, your wife, your PACS partner or the person with whom you are in a common-law relationship.
The unmarried children of your couple — up to 19 years old.
Your children under the age of 18 from previous unions who are entrusted to you by a foreign court decision.
The children under 18 years of age of your current husband or wife, PACS partner or the person with whom you are in a common-law union and who are entrusted to him or her by a foreign court decision.
Good to know: if you are a minor (under the age of 18), you can apply for family reunification for your father, mother and their dependent, unmarried, minor children.
Prepare the long-stay visa application file
Once you have checked that you are elligible, prepare a long-stay visa application file to be submitted by your family members to the French Consulate closest to their home in their country.
Each member of your family must enclose the following supporting documents with their long-stay visa application.
Documents concerning your family member :
- One long-stay visa application form per person.
- A passport or pass for those cases that justify it.
- 2 passport-size photographs in European format.
- A full copy of the birth certificate of the country of origin.
- A copy of the marriage certificate from the country of origin.
- Or any document that can prove the family link.
- The equivalent of 99€ per person in local currency.
Documents concerning you:
- A copy of OFPRA's positive decision for your protection.
- A copy of your birth and/or marriage certificate (from OFPRA).
Start your online application on France-Visas
Start your Visa application on France-Visas.gouv.fr. You will be able to build your file more easily then print it to submit it to the Consulate.
Good to know : Not all countries accept the online application yet. Check the correct procedure by choosing your country of origin on this page.
Your family submits the file to the Consulate
Your family members must submit their complete file to the French consulate closest to their home in their country of origin.
Examination of the application
You will receive an information form from the refugee families office to complete and return by post.
The processing time is long and depends on the country. It takes at least two months. The period may be extended if civil status records need to be verified (between 4 and 8 months).
If the decision is positive: the visa is granted
Before your family arrives in France
If the visa is granted to members of your family, then a visa sticker is affixed to their passport.
Good to know: when the passport is returned to your family, ask them to verify that the information on the visa is correct.
You have to check:
- The elements of civil status and the passport number .
- The validity date of the visa.
- The signature and stamp of the embassy .
Information that is false or missing will prevent your family from traveling. Your family will then need to apply for a new visa.
Good to know: your family is only allowed to travel to France during the validity of their visa, which is 3 months.
When your family arrives in France
You must quickly:
- Apply for a “refugee family member” residence permit from the prefecture where you live.
Or if your family needs protection :
- An asylum request from a first reception structure for asylum seekers (SPADA) .
If the decision is negative: the visa is refused
The consulate can 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 danger to public order,
- if you do not respect the essential principles of family life in France.
If the visa is refused, you can appeal within 2 months of notification .
Send your appeal to this address:
Appeals Committee against decisions to refuse entry visas to France
BP 83.609 - 44036 Nantes Cedex 1
Good to know: to help you make your appeal, you can get help from a specialised association or a legal advisor.