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Family reunification

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If you have completed your asylum procedure in Switzerland and would like to bring other family members to Switzerland, but the legal advice office for asylum seekers in your canton can not help you... We are here to advise you.

Prerequisites for family reunification

You must have completed your asylum procedure before you can apply for family reunification. There are different prerequisites for bringing family members to Switzerland, depending on the residence status of the person already here.

If you only became a family after you fled your country, the provisions for persons with a residence permit apply (see ‘Persons with temporary admission and ‘Persons with a residence permit’).

Which family members can come to Switzerland?

You can bring the following third-party state nationals to join you here. Third-party state nationals are people who are not citizens of Switzerland or an EU/EFTA country.

Family reunification is possible for:

  • underaged children

  • spouse

  • registered partner

If you would like to bring your underaged children to live with you here, you must apply for family reunification before their 18th birthday.

Other family members can only be brought to Switzerland under the family reunification rules under extremely exceptional circumstances, such as if they are very dependent on you.


What is the procedure if I want to apply for family reunification?


Beware of paid services

Be very careful of consultants that charge for their services or advice and promise fast or positive results. Family reunification is difficult and often takes a long time. First contact the competent authorities (see Step 2: Contacting the cantonal legal advice centresOpens a new window). If necessary, they can refer you to other institutions.

Family reunification step by step

What we do


We provide advice about family reunification in special or complex cases.

Special or complex cases

  • Reverse family reunification (children who bring their parents to Switzerland)

  • Family reunification involving siblings

  • Family reunification involving persons who do not fall within the strict definition of ‘nuclear family’ but for whom there is a special dependent relationship.

  • Subsequent family reunification (after the time limit has passed)

  • Family reunification involving ‘working poor’

  • Family reunification involving particular social benefit circumstances

In some cases we cannot help you

The Family Reunification Service is unable to help you with the following issues:

  • Travel costs

  • Lawyer’s fees

  • Family reunification for persons without legal residential status (sans-papiers)

  • Persons under the Dublin system or asylum procedure

  • Family reunification by people who have never undergone an asylum procedure, e.g. people with an EU/EFTA residence permit.


Background information, lobbying and advocacy

We are committed to improving how the current law is applied.

Our achievements in 2023


In 2023, the Family Reunification Service processed 1,719 requests for family reunification and humanitarian visas.


In 2023, we gave 167 families longer-term assistance in the family reunification process.

0people reunited with their families

Thanks to the support of the Family Reunification Service, 52 people were reunited with their families in 2023.

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