The EU created a set of rules, called the “Dublin Regulation,” to determine which country is responsible for examining your asylum request. The European countries that apply the Regulation are known as the “Dublin countries.”

If you are in Italy and you have an immediate family member that you would like to join living in a Dublin country, this set of rules also helps the national authorities to decide if you can get your asylum application examined in the same country of your family member. This is also valid if a family member in another Dublin country wants to join you in Italy.

This is possible only if you and your relatives are already in one of the Dublin countries, which don’t include Turkey, FYROM, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia or Bosnia.


You can use this article to learn more about:

  • Who can apply
  • How to apply
  • Duration of the procedure
  • Who can help

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Who can apply

Every person who claimed asylum and has immediate family members in a Dublin country can ask in writing to reunite with them. Your relatives too must have applied for asylum (have official asylum-seeker status) or have been granted international protection (refugee status or subsidiary protection).

According the Dublin Regulation, immediate family members are:

  • Your husband or wife – or life partner, in some Dublin countries only
  • Your children, if under 18 and not married

If you are under 18 and in Italy without your family, generally you can ask to join your:

  • Mother or father
  • Brother or sister
  • Uncle or aunt
  • Grandfather or grandmother

It’s very important that you speak about this with your legal guardian, who can help you with the procedure. If you have any questions, contact CIDAS here.

Sometimes, under rare circumstances people who don’t meet these criteria may still be able to join family members in other Dublin countries. Ask a legal expert to advise on your specific case.

How to apply

The procedure to apply for family reunification in Europe under the Dublin Regulation is slightly different in each Dublin country. Below you can find more information on how it works in Italy.

If you are in Italy and you want to join your family

If you file your asylum request in Italy as an adult, you need to declare in the C3 form that you have relatives in another Dublin country.

The questura will notify the Dublin Unit in Rome that, if appropriate, will open a Dublin procedure to determine which country is responsible to examine your asylum application. Your family members will be contacted by the relevant Italian authorities to confirm their willingness to reunite with you too.

It is important to produce all the relevant evidences on the family ties and all the details to find your relatives, such as personal data, copies of your family member's documents, marriage and birth certificates, pictures, etc. This is crucial to help the Dublin units to verify the family link and proceed with the determination of the responsibility.

What if I did not declare that I have family in another Dublin country in the C3 form?

If you didn't declare that you have family members in another Dublin country when filling out the C3 form, you can also express your wish to join them by talking with the questura or your camp manager, who can help you to get in contact with the questura.

It’s important you make your request before the Commission interview. However, the sooner you make the request, the better.

Get in touch with a legal expert who can advise on your individual situation.

What if my family is not in Europe yet?

If you hold a valid permesso di soggiorno per motivi di lavoro or a 5-year permesso (refugee status, subsidiary protection or ex carta di soggiorno), you can ask to bring your family members to Italy.

Learn more about the family reunification from non-European countries to Italy here.

What happens after the family reunification is approved?

If the Dublin country where your family live agrees to take responsibility to examine your asylum request, you – or your guardian, if you are under 18 – will receive a notification and the questura will organize the transfer.

Please keep in mind that you will be staying in the same city where your relatives live while you go through asylum procedure. However, the authorities of the new country decide which is the most appropriate accommodation for you to stay at your arrival – whether your family or another center in the same city.

Remember: If the family reunification procedure is approved, it doesn’t mean that you have been granted asylum in the Dublin country where you family live. It means that the country you will be transferred is responsible to examine your asylum claim.

How long does the procedure take?

The duration of the Dublin procedure to reunite with your family varies from case to case. However, the more details and correct information you provide when filling in the C3 form, the easier it will be for the countries to decide on your transfer request.

Remember: you can ask the questura to give you updates on the status of your request.

Who can help

Unfortunately the Dublin Unit, which is the responsible authority for the Dublin procedure, is not allowed to have direct contact with the public. Please, refer to your guardian and/or reception center/ questura / lawyer to get in contact with the Dublin Unit and learn more on the status of your procedure. If you need some extra help, you can get in contact with:

  • The UNHCR toll free number: 800905570 (all phone networks) or +393511376335 (Lycamobile). You can call Monday to Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you call when the office is closed, leave a voicemail message. You can also email them here: numeroverderifugiati@arci.it

  • If you are under 18, you need to speak with your guardian or the lawyer of your center. You can also contact CIDAS by calling +393404277780 or +393428735259 or +393703326882. Alternatively, you can call the Save the Children hotline 800141016 or +393512210016 (if you have Lyca mobile), Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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