International protection and family reunification
If you are granted international protection (refugee status or subsidiary protection) in Ireland, you can apply to the Minister for Justice for close family members to join you in Ireland. Your right to family reunification is set out in the International Protection Act 2015.
If you have another residence status, (for example, permission to remain) you do not have a right to family reunification. Your family can apply to join you in Ireland but must satisfy the criteria for a join family visa, which includes rules on how much income you must have to support them.
You apply for permission for your family member (s) either:
- To enter and reside in the State if they are living outside the State or
- To reside in the State if they are already in the State on the date of your application
Family reunification is only available for certain family members. You are “the sponsor” of the application:
- Spouse or civil partner – you must have been married or in the civil partnership when you applied for international protection
- Parent(s) – only applies if the sponsor is under 18 and is not married on the date the application for family reunification is made
- Brothers and sisters – only applies if the sponsor is aged under 18 and not married on the date the application for family reunification is made. Includes any child of your parents (for example, your half-brother).
- Child/children – they must be under 18 and not married on the date the application for family reunification is made
Time limit for application
You must apply within 12 months of the date of your declaration as a refugee or a person with subsidiary protection, or from the date of your arrival in Ireland as a programme refugee.
How to apply for family reunification
You must apply in writing to the Family Reunification Section of Immigration Services Delivery - see 'Where to apply' below. Write a letter that says you want to apply for family reunification and include:
- Your name, your Person ID number (from your Irish Residence Permit IRP or previous letters from ISD) and address.
- The full name, date of birth, nationality and address for each family member you want to apply for. You must also say what relationship they have to you.
ISD will then send you a questionnaire to complete. You must complete this within 28 days and return it with the documents listed on the questionnaire.
Decisions and next steps
When your application is processed, ISD will send you a decision. If your application is approved your family can make arrangements to join you in Ireland, or (if they are already in Ireland) they can register their permission and get an Irish Residence Permit.
The letter granting you permission will have information about what to do next. If your family member does not have a passport and is unable to get one, you may have to apply for a travel document for them. They will also need a visa to enter Ireland if they are from a visa required country.
Your family must join you before the date stated on the decision letter. If they have not joined you by that date, your application could be withdrawn and you would have to apply again
Your family’s residence in Ireland is based on your international protection status. If your international protection status is withdrawn or you no longer have permission to live in Ireland, your family’s permission may also be withdrawn.
If your application is refused
You can appeal a decision to refuse your application by applying for judicial review. You should get legal advice.