Family Reunion

Family Reunion is provided in the immigration rules to enable the spouses* (and civil partners and unmarried partners) and children of Refugees to be reunited.

This applies only to spouses* and children that were part of the family unit before the Refugee fled their country of origin (pre-flight). There is no provision within the immigration rules for Family Reunion to apply to other family members than pre-flight spouses and children.

Should someone with Refugee Status marry after being granted status (or form a civil partnership or establish an unmarried partnership) their spouse* will be ‘post-flight’ and will have to seek entry to the United Kingdom under the immigration rules as a Spouse.

Importantly, when making an application under Family Reunion it is not necessary to meet the maintenance and accommodation requirements as with other family applications. The main emphasis is on providing evidence of marriage/parentage.

The immigration rules as they apply to pre-flight spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners are as follows:

 

Spouses

352A. The requirements to be met by a person seeking leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom as the spouse civil partner of a refugee are that:

(i) the applicant is married to or the civil partner of a person who is currently a refugee granted status as such under the immigration rules in the United Kingdom ; and

(ii) the marriage or civil partnership did not take place after the person granted asylum left the country of his former habitual residence in order to seek asylum; an

(iii) the applicant would not be excluded from protection by virtue of article 1F of the United Nations Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees if he were to seek asylum in his own right; and

(iv) each of the parties intends to live permanently with the other as his or her spouse civil partner and the marriage is subsisting; and

(v) if seeking leave to enter, the applicant holds a valid United Kingdom entry clearance for entry in this capacity.

 

Civil Partners/Unmarried Partners

352AA. The requirements to be met by a person seeking leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom as the unmarried or the same-sex partner of a refugee are that:

(i) the applicant is the unmarried or same-sex partner of a person who is currently a refugee granted status as such under the immigration rules in the United Kingdom and was granted that status in the UK on or after 9th October 2006; and

(ii) the parties have been living together in a relationship akin to either a marriage or a civil partnership which has subsisted for two years or more; and

(iii) the relationship existed before the person granted asylum left the country of his former habitual residence in order to seek asylum; and

(iv) the applicant would not be excluded from protection by virtue of paragraph 334(iii) or

(v) of these Rules or article 1F of the Geneva Convention if he were to seek asylum in his own right; and

(vi) each of the parties intends to live permanently with the other as his or her unmarried or same-sex partner and the relationship is subsisting; and

(vii) if seeking leave to enter, the applicant holds a valid United Kingdom entry clearance for entry in this capacity.

(viii) the parties are not involved in a consanguineous relationship with one another; and

 

Children

The immigration rules as they apply for children are as follows:

352D. The requirements to be met by a person seeking leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom in order to join or remain with the parent who is currently a refugee granted status as such under the immigration rules in the United Kingdom are that the applicant:

(i) is the child of a parent who is currently a refugee granted status as such under the immigration rules in the United Kingdom; and

(ii) is under the age of 18, and

(iii) is not leading an independent life, is unmarried and is not a civil partner, and has not formed an independent family unit; and

(iv) was part of the family unit of the person granted asylum at the time that the person granted asylum left the country of his habitual residence in order to seek asylum; and

(v) would not be excluded from protection by virtue of article 1F of the United Nations Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees if he were to seek asylum in his own right; and

(vi) if seeking leave to enter, holds a valid United Kingdom entry clearance for entry in this capacity.

 

Making the Application

Applications for entry clearance for family reunion should be made at the nearest British Embassy or High Commission. Where it is not possible for the applicant to present a national passport an application may still be made so long as evidence of identity is provided.

For spouses and civil partners you will need to provide evidence of marriage. For unmarried partners you will need to provide evidence of being in a relationship akin to marriage for a period of at least two years.

For children you will need to provide evidence of relationship, such as birth certificates. Where these are not available or there is a dispute over the relationship, the Embassy/High Commission will sometimes request DNA tests to be carried out.

Applications for all family reunion requests are free of charge – never attempt to pay for them. Confusingly there is no separate form for family reunion – you have to use the one reserved for settlement of relatives – VAF4. You simply have to complete as much of the form as possible and explain on it that a request is being made for family reunion and so some sections (particularly those relating to maintenance and accommodation) do not apply. Each family member requesting entry clearance is required to submit their own separate application form.

 

Possible Outcomes

If the application is granted it may be that the applicant is issued with Indefinite Leave to Enter (ILE), or entry clearance valid up until the date of expiry of their passport, or up until the expiry date of the Refugees grant of Refugee Status.

Family members granted leave under family reunion should themselves be able to apply for Convention Travel Documents.

When the sponsor comes to apply for Permanent Residence as a Refugee the family members who entered under family reunion can be joined on the application as dependents and be granted leave in line.

If the application is refused the applicant will have the right to appeal against the decision to the Immigration and Asylum Chamber. The deadline to lodge an appeal is 28 days from the date of decision.

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2 Responses to Family Reunion

  1. Sayed Sardheye says:

    Hi

    I have a client who brought his wife as a family reunion and she has been given a 2yrs visa. i was just wondering when she can apply for a Indifinate Leave to Remain now instead of waiting for her visa to expire.

    • IA says:

      Hi Sayed, normally if you are granted Family Reunion you are granted indefinite leave to enter and so should not need to apply for ILR, or otherwise she could join her husband on his settlement (SET PR) application when his 5 years Refugee Status is coming to an end. Not sure why she was granted 2 years – you sure this was not a spouse visa? I think maybe she should seek direct legal advice.
      Best wishes, IA