Family reunion services
Help for refugee families to reunite in the UK
Our refugee family reunion services
Every year, the British Red Cross helps reunite hundreds of separated families.
Since 2011, we have worked with the International Organisation for Migration to reunite over 10,000 people with their family members. Nine out of 10 have been women and children joining husbands and fathers in the UK.
If you are a refugee in the UK who is separated from your loved ones and wants to bring them here, we may be able to help.
How to apply for family reunion
If you're a refugee in the UK, you may have the right to family reunion. We understand that refugee family reunification can be a complex and difficult process. This is why we provide a family reunion enquiries service to all refugees in the UK.
We can help and give advice to refugees who want to apply for family reunion in the UK. This includes information on who can apply, and advice on how long the process takes and how it works.
To find out more about our family reunion enquiries service:
- email us at email@example.com, or call, text or WhatsApp us on 07834 496 781 (Monday to Friday 9-5pm, we have interpreters if needed)
- download our family reunion enquiries service brochure (PDF)
- or fill this form directly to request information about your family reunion enquiry.
You can also use our detailed frequently asked questions about family reunion (PDF) to learn more about the process and how to apply for family reunion in the UK. It includes important information on whether we can help you, what evidence you'll need and how to apply on the government website.
Is there a family reunion visa?
If you’re a refugee in the UK seeking family reunification, you will need to apply for a family reunion visa.
You can find everything you need to know about applying for a family reunion visa, including a detailed road map, in our in-depth frequently asked questions document (PDF).
What are the immigration rules for refugees seeking family reunion?
For an overview of the immigration rules related to family reunion, please see our frequently asked questions document (PDF).
Please note that how the rules are different for people in different situations. We encourage you to get legal advice to understand how they apply to you.
Get help to apply for a family reunion visa
We help people with family reunion visa applications, including collecting evidence and filling in forms. We also offer travel assistance to help arrange flights for your family to join you.
We may be able to offer support with your visa application if you:
- live in London, Liverpool, Preston or Plymouth
- have refugee status or humanitarian protection
- want to bring your wife, husband, partner or children to the UK from other countries.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Other organisations that can help with family reunion
Other charities can also help you apply for family reunion:
- Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit
- Sheffield Hallam Refugee Rights Hub
- Refugee Legal Assistance Project
- Notre Dame Refugee Centre
There may be others working in your area or you can get advice from private law firms.
You can look for an immigration advisor on:
Refugee family reunion guide
If you are a refugee in the UK, you can use our guidance (PDF) to understand family reunion visa applications if you don't have professional legal support. It also outlines who is eligible, how to submit an application and what evidence will be needed.
Providing immigration advice if you are not qualified and not regulated is an offence under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
This guide covers making an application using the official government website. It contains guidance for uploading evidence electronically.
Help with travel assistance and bringing family to the UK
The British Red Cross offers a travel assistance service to refugees who want to reunite with their families. This service gives practical and financial support throughout the process of travelling to UK.
We may be able to help if you have a visa for your family members and if they are either:
- a child or children without a parent (we also call this ‘unaccompanied children’), or
- three or more members of the same family.
We try to help as many people as possible but it depends on our funding and where you live.
Other charities that can help with family reunion costs
Together Now may also be able to help cover the cost of family reunion.
Preparing for your family’s arrival
There is a lot to think about, including:
- Will you need to get a bigger house?
- Will you need financial support from the UK government (benefits) for your family?
- Will older family members need English classes?
- Will younger children need to go to school?
- Will you need medical care for your family?
You can use our detailed frequently asked questions (PDF) to find out more.
Help after your family gets to the UK
After your family comes to the UK, we may be able support you, depending on where you live. This includes help with:
- welfare benefits
- GP registration.
We may also be able to help you get settled and meet people in your local community with projects such as peer buddies, befriending and education.
Contact your local refugee service to find out more.
Resources to help with life in the UK
You can also get help online and from our support line:
Family reunion integration service
If you are a researcher or practitioner working on family reunion, please visit our family reunion integration service page.
You can find more information about how we help families and watch our webinars for professionals in this field.
Family members affected by the recent earthquake in Morocco
We are sorry that the British Red Cross cannot work on any urgent family reunion visa or travel assistance applications related to the recent earthquake in Morocco.
If you have lost contact with family members in Morocco, please see more information on our Family Tracing webpage.
British nationals who require consular assistance can call British Embassy Rabat on +212 (0) 537 63 33 33.
If you are in the UK and concerned about a British national in Morocco, you can contact the FCDO on +44(0)20 7008 5000.
Some country’s consular services have set up dedicated hotlines for their citizens, details will be on their embassy websites.
Family members affected by the recent floods in north-eastern Libya
We are sorry that the British Red Cross cannot work on any urgent family reunion visa or travel assistance applications related to the recent flooding in Libya.
If you have lost contact with family members in Libya, please see more information on our Family Tracing webpage.
If you are a British national in Libya and need urgent help from the UK government you can contact the British Embassy in Tunis on +216 71 108 700 or online.
If you are in the UK and are concerned about a British national in Libya, you can call the FCDO in London on +44 (0)20 7008 5000.
Family reunion from Sudan
We are sorry that the British Red Cross cannot work on any family reunion visa or travel assistance applications from Sudan until further notice.
This is because of the closure of the visa application centre in Khartoum and the security issues preventing safe travel out of Sudan.
We will update you via this web page if the situation changes. Please note that the family reunion travel assistance service still works in other countries in the region.
If you have already submitted a family reunion visa application to the Home Office and want to enquire about the status of it, you or your legal representative can email the Home Office at RASIFamilyReunion@homeoffice.gov.uk.
If you want to submit a visa application for your family members, we strongly recommend you seek legal advice. You can look for an immigration advisor on the Office for the Immigration Services Commissioners website (OISC) or search the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) directory:
For travel in and out of Sudan, and for questions regarding British Citizens please consult official advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
Looking for family in Afghanistan?
Family members affected by the recent developments in Afghanistan
We are sorry that our refugee family reunion travel assistance service in Afghanistan is currently suspended due to the security situation. However, we may be able to support you from neighbouring countries.
For information on how to request assistance for family members in Afghanistan, and for the Afghan resettlement scheme, please visit the dedicated UK government web page.
For information on resettlement routes for Afghan nationals, please refer to the dedicated UK government factsheet.