Germany – Berlin Administrative Court rules on the possibility of family reunification during minor’s coming of age

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

On 4 September, the Berlin-Brandenburg High Administrative Court (HAC) ruled on a case relating to the issue of family reunification after a minor applicant has turned 18 years old.

The case concerned interim measures to accelerate the procedure of family reunification before a minor applicant had turned eighteen. The need for such measures would exist in the context of a previous judgment by the Federal Administrative Court of Germany (FAC), which had ruled in 2013 that a claim to family reunification only exists up to the time when the child becomes of age. The court had specifically excluded the possibility to base the claim on the submission of the application before reaching the age limit and had stated that an upcoming 18th birthday could provide the basis to request the court for an order to accelerate procedures for family reunification.

In this case, however, the HAC followed its previous case law, to restate the need to review the FAC’s line of jurisprudence on the matter, following the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in case A. and S. v. The Netherlands. In both judgments, the HAC explicitly referred to the aforementioned CJEU ruling to confirm that family reunification is possible, if it was applied for before the minor turned eighteen, or within the 3-month time limit set by the CJEU if the child had turned eighteen during the determination procedure.

Consequently, the Higher Court, which is the only competent body to hear visa cases at second instance, ruled that such an order was not necessary, even if the upcoming birthday could provide a sound basis for such an order, as family reunification would also be allowed after the minor refugee had reached the age of majority. The judgment also referred to the time limit set by the CJEU, according to which an application for family reunification must be made, in principle, within a period of three months of the date on which the minor concerned was declared to have refugee status.

The Court noted, however, that such a time limit is not necessary, if the minor has been granted refugee status before they reach the age of majority, and the parents, who have custody of the child, also submit an application for family reunification before the child reaches the age of majority. The interim measures were, thus, dismissed by the Court.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. Many thanks to Constantin Hruschka, Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, for bringing this case to our attention and helping us with the summary.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.                                                 


Family reunification
Unaccompanied minor