Family reunification

“Family reunification”is the European regulation that gives the opportunity to one or more members of a family staying in Greece to “reunite” with their family living in another state of the European Union (third country) - certain requirements apply. In order for this to take place, the applicant who is in Greece, must file a request to be transferred to that European state (third country) and to have his/her asylum application examined there.

Family reunification applies to E.U countries where the “Dublin III” regulation is applicable. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Switzerland, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The State (country) responsible to determine whether the requirements for someone to be included in the family reunification program are met, is the country the applicant currently resides. The competent body is the Asylum Service. The country responsible to decide if someone can join the family reunification program is the country where the family member/members the applicant wish to reunite with, legally reside.

Yes, if you are an adult wishing to reunite with your:

  1. husband/wife
  2. life partner
  3. minor unmarried children

If you are an unmarried minor wishing to reunite with:

  1. your father, mother, brother or sister, or

another adult responsible for you (e.g. uncle, aunt, grandfather, grandmother)

Yes, there are. The requirements are the following:

  1. These relationships should have already been formed in your country of origin.

However, if the family member being at another European country has been granted a residence permit, then the family member who is in Greece can request family reunification regardless if these family relationships were formed previously in the country of origin.

2.  The family member who is in another European country should have submitted an asylum application in that country.

3.  The family member in Greece and the family member in the other European country must both declare in writing their consent regarding their reunification in the Asylum Service of the country where each of them is located.

If the applicant in Greece is dependent on a child, brother/sister or parent who resides permanently in another European Country due to pregnancy, recent labour, serious disease, serious disability or advanced age, he/she can request a family reunification with him/her. The same applies if the child, brother/sister or parent of the applicant residing permanently in another European country depends on the applicant’s assistance for the same reasons (Article 16 Dublin III Regulation).

Yes. These are:

  1. family relationships should exist in the country of origin
  2. any family member or the applicant should be able to take care of the dependent
  3. any person concerned should express his/her wish in writing

The asylum applicant can request to reunite with any person being in another country of the European Union with whom he/she has a relationship based specifically on family or cultural criteria (humanitarian reasons). The Asylum Service can ask that country to take charge of the asylum applicant to reunite him/her with this person, even if the other member state is not responsible for the asylum application examination (Article 17 Dublin III Regulation).

The country asked to take charge, will proceed to any verification it deems necessary in order to examine the citing humanitarian reasons and replies to the country that has submitted the request within two (2) months. If the request is rejected, the reasons will be stated in the answer. Once the request is accepted, then the responsibility for examining the applicant’s asylum application is transferred to that country.

Yes, there are. These are the following:

  1. the concerned persons should state its consent in writing
  2. the request regarding the substance of the asylum application of the relative who is in the other European country, should be submitted before the first decision.

You apply for it verbally during the submission of your asylum application and not in a separate interview. It is better to do so during the pre- registration process. In any case it is necessary to apply during your full registration. At the time of the full registration process you should request to be reunited with your family member/members located in the specific country and to have your asylum application examined there. Also, you must state which this country is and to declare the members of your family located there.

You should submit:

  1. Any documents proving your relationship with your family member located in the other European Country (e.g. a family status document)
  2. Any documents proving that your family member located in the other European Country is an asylum applicant (e.g. asylum applicant’s card, residence permit etc.).
  3. In case of health issues, you must submit any relevant documents issued by a Greek public hospital to verify it.

The asylum applicant’s card is issued during the asylum application submission (full registration) regardless if it concerns family reunification or relocation.

If until the date indicated on you asylum applicant’s card as the date of your interview your family reunion application has been rejected, then your interview will take place as arranged and your asylum application in Greece will be examined.

Please keep in mind that you MUST renew your asylum applicant’s card until its expiry date.

In case there are serious reasons to speed up the family reunification procedure (e.g. in case the applicant, or a family member with him/her, or the person who is in the third country faces a serious health issue) you must mention it during your first registration or later and provide any relevant documents. The Greek Asylum Service examines the request and if deems the reason important then it speeds up the procedure.

If this serious health issue concerns a family member of the applicant or the applicant himself/herself who is in Greece, then the medical documents provided should be issued by a Greek public hospital.

Following the submission of the family reunification application, the Regional Asylum Office (RAO) addresses a question to the third country within three (3) months asking whether it accepts to be the member state responsible for the asylum application examination, i.e. if it accepts the reunification of the applicant with his/her family member/members. The third country is obliged to answer within two (2) months of the receipt of the request.

If the answer is positive, you will get informed by the Greek Asylum Service via the telephone and you will be asked to visit the Regional Asylum Office (RAO) in order to receive the relevant decision. This decision is an inadmissibility decision regarding your asylum application in Greece and it will state that you have to be transferred to the third country responsible for the asylum application examination. In the meantime, you have to sign a declaration of renunciation from any legal remedies against this decision.

If the answer from the European country where the reunification will take place is negative, then the Asylum Service (National Dublin Unit) - if it finds it necessary - may ask for clarifications regarding the rejection from that third country, or submit an application re-examination request. If again the answer is negative, then the asylum request is examined in Greece.

After a positive decision is issued, the Greek Asylum Service is responsible for your travel arrangements within six (6) months from the acceptance of the request. Your personal details will be forwarded to a specific travel agency which will issue your tickets.

  1. As an applicant you cannot choose the travel agency, the date, the flight or the air line that you will travel with, as these are arranged solely by the Greek Asylum Service.
  2. The Greek Asylum Service is responsible for issuing and paying for the air tickets,. However, you may choose to cover the travel expenses on your own, so that you can travel earlier; in this case you need to inform the Greek Asylum Service that you wish to do so.

After the air tickets have been issued, you must send two photographs of yours and of every family member that will travel with you, to the National Dublin Unit of the Regional Asylum Office of Attica, in order for the Greek Asylum Service to issue the necessary travel documents. These documents will be sent directly by the Greek Asylum Service to the Police unit located at the airport of your departure. You are advised to write your name and case number on the reverse side of the photographs.

Every person travelling is allowed to carry a suitcase up to 20 kilos and a hand-luggage up to 7 kilos. You cannot carry a suitcase of more than 20 kilos even if it is for two or three persons, otherwise you will be charged with an extra amount of money (for overweight). You may also ask for additional information at the travel agency that will issue your ticket.

On the day of your departure you must appear before the police officer on duty at the Airport of your departure at least two (2) hours before your flight. There, you will be asked to present your asylum applicant’s card. A police officer will escort you to the airplane and will pass your tickets and travel documents to the pilot. When you reach your destination, the pilot will then hand these documents to the police officer of the airport, who will take you (and the rest of the family members you escort). The authorities of the destination country are responsible for giving you directions on how to get to the city where your family member is and usually pays for your travel expenses.

For more information regarding the family reunification process, please check the

http://asylo.gov.gr/?page_id=113