9. Your family

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[ Latest update : 11 January 2019 ]

On your Ofpra form, do not forget to state the names, dates and places of birth of your partner or spouse, the date of your marriage, even if it was a religious marriage. Also state the names, dates and places of birth of your children. If you are not sure about a date, state “approximate date” in parentheses.

If you are granted refugee status or subsidiary protection, some of your family members have rights (see below):

  • your spouse, civil partner (equivalent to a Pacs), or your common-law spouse;
  • your children and those of your spouse, civil union partner, or common-law spouse, under 19 years old and not married;
  • your mother and father, as well as your brothers and sisters, if you are a minor and not married.

Note: You can find information on the administrative procedures you need to undertake after obtaining refugee status ina guide produced by the Welcome Bordeaux association as well as on the Ofpra’s website (family reunification page).

A. You were married before your asylum request

The marriage (or civil union or Pacs), must have taken place before your asylum request. In the case of common-law marriage, you must have had a stable and continuous relationship with your spouse (actual cohabitation).

1. Your family is in France:

  • if you have refugee status, the members of your family have the right, under certain conditions, to a 10-year residence permit;
  • if you have subsidiary protection, they have the right, under certain conditions, to a 4-year residence permit, then a 10-year residence permit.

2. Your family is in another country:

You can request family reunification (“réunification familiale”): no conditions regarding income, housing, or ability to speak French or length of residence in France are required.

As soon as you have been granted protection, the members of your family must request a long-stay visa from the French consular authorities in their country of residence. They must provide their passports, visa request forms (cerfa no.14571*02), the document proving your protection granted by the Ofpra and any documents which prove their family link to you: birth certificates, wedding certificates, identity cards, school records, photographs, etc.

Other evidence may be requested regarding your family makeup. People who you know can attest to family links, by providing precise written witness statements, together with a copy of their identity documents. You can also provide detailed invoices of telephone calls, call logs for Skype and Viber, etc., letters, e-mails, receipts for money transfers, etc.

Warning: the members of your family must request the visa from the French consular authorities in the country in which they legally reside or from the country whose nationality they hold.
Note: if you make a trip to see your family in a country other than your country of origin, keep a copy of your travel documents with stamps on them, your plane tickets and your receipts. Take photos with your family, with the date on the photos.

B. You were married after your asylum request

If you are an asylum-seeker or refugee and you are living in France, you have the right to marry and to make a civil union (Pacs).

> for marriage see: Gisti, Le mariage des étrangers, coll. Les Cahiers juridiques, avril 2014.

> for civil unions see: Gisti, Pacs et concubinage : les droits des personnes étrangères, coll. Les Notes pratiques, novembre 2015

1. Your family is in France:

  • If you have refugee status, your family members have the right, under certain conditions, to a 10-year residence permit;
  • If you have subsidiary protection, your family members have the right, under certain conditions, to a 4-year residence permit.
Warning: your marriage or civil union must have taken place more than 1 year ago and you must have been cohabiting continuously ever since.

2. Your family is in another country:

You can request “family reunification” like other foreigners. The conditions are strict: stable income (minimum wage at least), housing of a certain size. This request is submitted to the Ofii, and the decision is made by the prefect.

Note: If you want to get married overseas, in order for your marriage to be recognized in France you have to publish the banns of marriage at the town hall of your place of residence and ask the French consulate of the country in which you were married for a certificate of legal capacity to marry (“certificat de capacité à marriage”). After the marriage you must request by registered letter that the Ofpra record it. Your marriage will not be recognized if you get married under a polygamous system.

C. You are an unmarried minor

1. Your parents are in France:

  • if you have refugee status, your parents can be granted, under certain conditions, a 10-year residence permit;
  • if you have subsidiary protection, they can be granted a 4-year multiyear residence permit.

2. Your parents are in another country:

You can request “family reunification” for your mother and father, as well as your minor unmarried brothers and sisters.

D. Appeals

In case of refusal of a visa for your family, you can make an appeal, first before the Commission for appealing visa refusals (CRRV), and then before the Nantes administrative court. Contact an association for more information, but be advised that the deadlines for appeal are very short.

E. Education

Whether you are an asylum-seeker or a refugee, your children have the right to be enrolled in the schools located in your place of residence.

F. Divorce

For persons who benefit from protection in France, divorce is subject to French law. If one of the two persons does not have protection, they may be subject to the law of their country. It is therefore recommended to contact the appropriate migrant protection associations or comptetant lawyers.

> Gisti, Mariage, divorce, filiation des personnes étrangères en France : quel juge saisir, quelle loi applicable ? coll. Les Cahiers juridiques, janvier 2018

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Latest update : Thursday 3 January 2019, 16:46
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