family reunification 
for refugees 
in Europe 


How can I eat, how can I sleep when my daughter had no food and cannot sleep because she dreams she will be taken by Daesh?

- refugee in Ireland waiting for family reunification


Member states have a legal and moral obligation to ensure family reunification. International human rights standards require that people seeking protection can reunify with their families in an effective and timely manner. States must lift the many obstacles to family reunification and treat all people seeking protection equally.

- Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

What is family reunification?

A human rights obligation

A protection need

An integration resource

What should States do?

Ease family reunification procedures to ensure that they are flexible, prompt, effective and happen in a reasonable time

Broaden the definition of family members eligible for reunification

Pay particular attention to children’s needs

Avoid onerous evidential requirements, prohibitive financial costs and intrusive medical tests

Take into account the practical obstacles refugees and their families face in reunification procedures, including with regards to obtaining and presenting the necessary documentation

Read all 36 recommendations