Bringing your family to Greece

Can I bring my family from a non-European country to Greece?

If you have been granted refugee status (full asylum) in Greece, you can ask to bring your immediate family members to Greece from a non-European country.

But do not delay! You must apply to bring your family to Greece no more than 3 months after you get refugee status.

I am under subsidiary protection. Can I bring my family members to Greece?

Unfortunately, no. If you are under subsidiary protection (partial asylum) in Greece, you cannot ask for your family to join you in Greece.

Only people who have been granted refugee status (full asylum) can apply to bring their family members to Greece.

Which family members can I bring?

If you are 18 or older, you can ask to bring your:

  • Wife or husband
  • Children who are under 18
  • Brothers and sisters who are under 18

If you are under 18, you can ask to bring your:

  • Parents

Greek lawmakers are considering adding to this list of family members.

Do I need to have a job and a house in Greece in order to bring my family?

No, if you apply within 3 months of getting refugee status in Greece, you do not need to have a job and house.

How do I apply?

Visit the Asylum Office closest to where you live. Find the Asylum Offices and Asylum Units in Greece here.

You must bring the decision granting you refugee status in Greece and/or your residence permit, if you have it.

While you are there, make sure the Greek Asylum Service has your up-to-date contact information.

Who will review my application?

The Greek Asylum Service's Family Reunification in Greece Unit reviews all applications from all over Greece.

The Family Reunification in Greece Unit is in the Central Asylum Service in Athens.

What happens after I apply?

Your case will be assigned to an officer who will personally guide you through each step of the process.

Your officer will contact you and ask you to gather documents to support your case. These documents include:

  • Passport-size photos for every family member involved in your case.

  • Documents from your country of origin that prove you and your family are related, officially translated into Greek and stamped by a Greek official or lawyer.

  • Official copies of passports or travel documents
    — even expired ones — for you and your family members, officially stamped by a Greek authority or lawyer.

  • Police reports.

  • A medical note for each family member, issued by their country of origin and approved by a Greek medical authority, that says they do not have a contagious disease.

  • Other documents, depending on your case.

What if I can’t get these documents?

If you can't get all the documents your officer requests, you should apply anyway, the Greek Asylum Service told Refugee.Info.

The Asylum Service will ask you for alternative documents instead.

What if my officer asks me to go to Athens?

You may be asked to go to the Central Asylum Service in Athens to bring in documents or otherwise support your case — even if you live on the Greek islands.

If you need a place to stay in Athens for your Central Asylum Service visit, message Refugee.Info on Facebook. We can connect you with an NGO that can help.

How long does the process take?

The Greek Asylum Office told Refugee.Info that the process can take more than a year.

Why does it take so long?

Applying to bring your family to Greece is a very complicated procedure that involves several Greek authorities, including the police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Asylum Service said the parts of the process that take a long time are:

  • International criminal record checks
  • Getting documents that prove family ties
  • Translating documents into Greek

Another reason for the delays: The Family Reunification in Greece Unit receives 50 to 100 applications per month and does not have enough staff to keep up with the demand.

What if my family can’t get travel documents?

If you get approval to bring your family to Greece but your relatives cannot get passports, travel documents or visas, don't worry — Greece will issue them temporary documents.

These documents will most likely be valid for one month.

What happens when my family members arrive in Greece?

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs will interview them.

They will need to apply for residence permits within a month of arriving in Greece.

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