Unaccompanied minors and family reunification: asylum date application is decisive, states the CJEU

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The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that ‘minors’ who reach the age of 18 during the asylum procedure retain the right of family reunification.

The Court clarifies, however, that the application for family reunification must be made within a reasonable time, in principle within three months of the date on which the minor concerned was recognised as a refugee.

The judgment follows a request for preliminary ruling from the Rechtbank Den Haag (District Court, The Hague, Netherlands) (Case C-550/16 — A and S v Staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie).

The case concerned the application for family reunification of an Eritrean girl after receiving her asylum status in the Netherlands. The Dutch authorities declined the request on the ground that, at the date on which the application was submitted, the girl had already attained her majority.

The court in the Netherlands asked the CJEU which date is decisive in order to be considered as an unaccompanied minor within the meaning of the EU Directive on the right to family reunification: the date of the application for family reunification or the date of the asylum application.

The CJEU ruled that the moment of submission of the asylum application is decisive and added that this moment ‘enables identical treatment and foreseeability to be guaranteed for all applicants who are in the same situation’.

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Published: 25 April 2018