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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1 - Who can apply for Family Reunification under the Refugee Act, 1996?

Full information on who can apply can be found here.


Q2 - For whom can a refugee make a Family Reunification application under section 18 of the Refugee Act, 1996?
Full information on who you can apply for can be found here.


Q3 - How long does the Family Reunification Unit (ORAC) investigation take?
Applications referred to the Family Reunification Unit (ORAC) by the Family Reunification Unit (INIS) for investigation are dealt with, ordinarily, in chronological order (i.e. in order by the date they are received).

ORAC investigates, in writing, the relationship between the refugee and the person the subject of the application and the domestic circumstances of the person. ORAC may also investigate the nature of the relationship between a refugee and a dependent family member outlining the nature of the dependency having regard to the mental/physical incapacitation of the dependent family member, where applicable.

ORAC issues a questionnaire to the refugee for completion to assist in the investigation of the application. The refugee is allowed 10 working days to complete the questionnaire and return it to ORAC. ORAC may also issue written requests to the refugee for certain information and documentary evidence it considers necessary during the course of its investigation.

Applications are processed by ORAC, ordinarily, within 18-20 weeks of receipt of the application in ORAC, depending on the complexity of the application and the number of cases on hand at any one time. A refugee may write to ORAC to enquire about the progress of their application at any stage of its investigation. Written requests for information may be made to:

Family Reunification Unit,
Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC),
Timberlay House,
79-83 Lower Mount Street,
Dublin 2.

ORAC will issue a written response within 5 working days of receipt of the query.

Upon completion of its investigation, ORAC writes to the refugee informing them that the investigation is complete and provides a copy of the section 18 report detailing its investigation of the application. ORAC submits a section 18 report to the Minister for Justice and Equality for a decision. A final decision on the outcome of the family reunification application will issue, in writing, from the Family Reunification Section (INIS) in due course.


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Q4 - How do I request the return of original documentation?
Original documentation submitted by a refugee in support of an application for family reunification is generally retained until a final decision has been reached by the Minister for Justice and Equality. The Family Reunification Section (INIS) returns the original documentation to the refugee by registered post when a written decision on the application is issued to the refugee by that Office.

Where documents are required to be returned to the refugee during the course of the ORAC investigation, it is open to the refugee to make a written request to this Office at the following address.

Family Reunification Unit,
Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC),
Timberlay House,
79-83 Lower Mount Street,
Dublin 2.

The refugee should state their 69/ reference number and clearly state the reason for the request for the return of the documents. ORAC will respond to the request in writing within 5 working days of receipt of the request. Where ORAC agrees to the return of the documents, the documents will be sent by registered post to the refugee. The refugee will be requested to complete an acknowledgement slip and to return it to ORAC at the above address, without delay, confirming safe receipt of the document(s).

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Q5 - What can a refugee do if he or she receives a negative decision from Family Reunification Section (INIS)?
The refugee will receive written notification of the outcome of the application from Family Reunification Section (INIS) in due course. There is no provision under section 18 of the Refugee Act, 1996 to appeal family reunification decisions.

All queries relating to family reunification decisions should be made in writing to:

Family Reunification Section,
Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS),
Department of Justice and Equality,
13/14 Burgh Quay,
Dublin 2.

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Q6 - Where can I find the legislation governing Family Reunification?
Family Reunification for refugees can only be sought in cases where a person has been granted refugee status in Ireland, under section 18 of the Refugee Act, 1996.
  • Persons who have residency rights in this State on any other basis are not eligible to apply for family reunification under section 18 of the Refugee Act, 1996.
  • Persons who have been granted permission to enter and reside in this State under section 18 of the Refugee Act, 1996 are not eligible to apply for family reunification of their family members/dependent family members under the 1996 Act.


Click here to read the Act




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