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Schengen Visa – Family Reunion

By Paul Aslett on August 25, 2014 in Schengen Visa Information

Schengen Visa – Family Reunion


On these pages you can find general information on what rules apply if you are a EU citizen already in an EU country and would like:

While immigration rules vary from country to country, these pages explain the general conditions and procedures which you can expect to find in most EU countries.

Applications for family reunification or long-term resident status must always be made to the authorities of the EU country you are already living in.

Schengen Visa – Family Reunion Bring Family Together

Would you like your family to join you in the EU country where you are living?

If you are a citizen of a country within the EU and you are legally resident in an EU country, you may be able to apply to have your family

come and live with you from a country outside the of the EU. This is called family reunification. If you apply for family reunification, you are called a “sponsor”.

This information applies in 24 of the 27 EU countries, excluding Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

For detailed information on the rules for family reunification in a particular country please contact us at Thai Visa Express for further information.
Who can apply for family reunification?
You can apply to have your family join you in the EU if you:

  • hold a residence permit issued for a period of at least one year by an EU country, and
  • have so called “reasonable prospects” of staying permanently in that country. “Reasonable prospects” are defined individually by each EU country. For information on what this means in your host EU country, use the search tool on the top left-hand-side of the page.

In some EU countries you can only apply for your family to join you after you have been living there legally for two (or in some cases three) years. If you require more details on the rules in your EU host country, select the country on this map or use the search tool.
Which family members can join me?

The following family members can join you on a schengen visa – Family reunion

  • Your husband or wife (including same-sex spouse, when same-sex marriage is recognised in the EU country where you reside). As polygamy is not recognised, you can only be joined by one spouse;
  • The minor children of you and your spouse;
  • When there are children from a previous relationship, the minor dependent children of you, or of your spouse, provided you/your spouse has custody.

‘Minor children’ are children who are not considered adults under the laws of the sponsor’s host EU country and who are unmarried. They include adopted children.

Depending on the EU country in which you live, some further restrictions may apply:

  • You and your spouse may have to be at least 21 years old ;
  • More restrictive rules may apply to children over the age of 12 who arrive independently of their families.

Depending on the rules in your host EU country, the following family members may also be able to join you:

  • Your unmarried partner;
  • Your registered partner;
  • Your parents or the parents of your spouse;
  • Your adult unmarried children, or those of your spouse, who are unable to look after themselves due to the state of their health.

For detailed information on the family members that can join you in a particular EU country, please contact us at Thai Visa Express for furher information.

Are there conditions to fulfill to have my family come live with me?

You may have to prove that you can provide:

  • Good accommodation;
  • Health insurance;
  • Sufficient and regular financial support.

Some EU countries may also require you and/or your family members to comply with integration measures such as tests for language or about the country you are moving to.

For detailed information on the conditions set by a particular EU country, select the country on this map or use the search tool on the top left-hand-side of the page.
My family members have been allowed to join me. What happens next? 

Your family members will be issued with residence permits in your host country, valid for at least one year and renewable. Your family members’ residence permits cannot last beyond the expiry date of your residence permit.

Do my family members need visas?

Your relatives may or may not need visas, depending on their nationalities and on the rules in the EU host country. For information on visa requirements in a particular EU country, please contact us at Thai Visa Express for further information.

Can a family member’s permit be refused or withdrawn?

Yes. In the following circumstances, a family member’s permit can be refused or withdrawn:

  • Failure to fulfil the required conditions;
  • Family ties come to end;
  • False information or documents;
  • Any threat to public security, public policy or public health.

Can I argue against a decision to refuse a family reunification application or to refuse or withdraw a relative’s residence permit?

Yes. You will have the right to legally challenge a decision to refuse your application for family reunification or a decision to refuse or withdraw a residence permit for your family member.

What entitlements do my family members have? 

Your family members will be entitled, in the same way as you, to the following:

  • Access to employment/self-employment (this may be limited for a maximum of one year);
  • Access to education;
  • Access to work-related training.

Can my family members eventually qualify for residence permits in their own right? 

Yes. Your spouse, unmarried partner and children who have reached adulthood will be allowed to get a residence permit in their own right after no less than five years.

This personal residence permit may be limited if the spousal/partner relationship has broken down. For other relatives, different rules apply depending on the EU host country concerned.

Family members may be issued with a personal permit before five years where:

  • Their sponsor has died;
  • They are separated or divorced from their sponsor;
  • They are faced with ‘particularly difficult circumstances’ such as domestic violence.

For detailed information on how to qualify for an autonomous residence permit in a particular EU country, please contact us at Thai Visa Express for furher information.

Further InformationMore on family reunification for relatives of non-EU citizens

Information on the different rules that apply to relatives of EU citizens

EU-wide laws on family reunification

Apply for a Schengen visa – family reunion by contacting Thai Visa Express.