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.
It is useful to keep all the evidence of the relationship that you have maintained with your family since arriving in France: telephone calls (smartphone screenshots), money remittances (money orders or certificates from the people who bring money back to your country) and documents from your country (school certificates, health records, etc.).
It may also be useful to have pictures of yourself with your family, from before you left the country, or during travels with them.
If you are granted refugee status or subsidiary protection, some of your family members have rights, such as family regroupment or reunification, welfare benefits… These family members are:
- 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.
→ See : La réunification familiale pour les bénéficiaires d’une protection au titre de l’asile, Gisti-La Cimade, coll. Les Cahiers juridiques, november 2016.
A. You were married before your asylum request
Your 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 joint living or cohabitation).
1. Your family is in France:
According to, on the one hand, the principle of family unity and, on the other hand, article L. 531-23 / ex-L. 741-1 of the Ceseda:
- 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.
If your spouse, partner, or children, entered France without a visa, they can apply, if they are 18 years of age and older, for a “private and family life” card (art. L. 423-23 / ex-L. 313-11 7 ° of Ceseda), after having paid a regularization tax. After a first residence permit, they can apply for a 10-year residence permit if you are a refugee, or a multiannual residence card if you have subsidiary protection.
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.
Information on the procedure and the necessary documents can be found on this website.
Your family members must provide the document proving that your protection was granted to you by the Ofpra, as well as their passports, visa request forms (cerfa no.14571*02), and any documents which prove their family link to you: birth certificates, wedding certificates, identity cards, school records, photographs, etc.
In the event that your family members cannot obtain a passport, the French consulate may issue a “laissez-passer”, which serves as a visa.
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.
If you lived together before your marriage, if you had children, you can also apply for family reunification for your family. It is not necessary for you to have married after arriving in France, on the contrary, because that would then force you to apply for “family regroupment”, which has more demanding conditions than those for family reunification.
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 form a civil union (Pacs).
You must respect the French rules, and in particular, if you get married abroad, you have to provide a “certificate for the legal capacity to marry”.
> 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 marry a person from the same country as you, and if you are legally residing in France, the right to the respect for family life (art. 8 of the Convention European Union for Human Rights) implies that your spouse must be issued a residence permit: you have the right to live in France together because you cannot return to your country of origin.
If your spouse is in France with an irregular status, this residence permit will first be a “private and family life” card, then, depending on your situation, a 10-year residence card (if you are a refugee) or a multiannual residence permit (if you have subsidiary protection).
2. Your family is in another country:
If you want to get married overseas, you must ask the French consulate of the country in which you are getting married for a “certificate of legal capacity to marry” (“certificat de capacité à mariage”). After the marriage, you must request by registered letter that the Ofpra record it on your birth certificate.
You can request “family regroupment” like other foreigners. The conditions are strict : a stable income (minimum wage at least), and housing of a certain size. This request is submitted to the Ofii, and the decision is made by the prefect.
C. You are an unmarried minor
1. Your parents are in France:
If you obtained international protection as an unmarried minor, your parents and your under-18 brothers and sisters can come to France through the family reunification procedure (the visa application must take place in the country of residency). These family members can thus obtain a residence permit which will be, depending on your status, a 10-year resident card (if you are a refugee) or a multiannual card (if you have subsidiary protection).
If they are already in France when the unmarried minor obtains protection, the parents and under-18 brothers and sisters can also be regularized.
f your family’s visa applications are denied, 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.
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.
There is a special procedure for children who do not speak French.
→ See : La scolarisation et la formation des jeunes étrangers, Gisti-Romeurope, coll. Les Cahiers juridiques, janvier 2020.
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 competent lawyers.
Divorce by the sole will of one spouse (repudiation) is not recognized in France.
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