Eligible family members
Family members with whom the beneficiary of refugee status or subsidiary protection status can be reunited are:
- The spouse, registered partner or partner with whom the applicant for family reunification has been living in a long-term relationship;
- Minor unmarried children of the beneficiary:
- minor unmarried children of the spouse, registered partner or partner with whom the applicant has been living in a long-term relationship;
- Adult children and parents of the applicant or the spouse, registered partner or partner with whom the applicant has been living in a long-term relationship, if the applicant or the spouse, registered partner or partner with whom the applicant has been living in a long-term relationship is obliged to support them under the law of his or her country; and
- Parents of an unaccompanied child.
In exceptional cases, the determining authority can also consider other relatives if special circumstances speak in favour of family reunification in the Republic of Slovenia. Special circumstances exist when there is a family community established between other relatives, which is essentially similar to and has the same function as a primary family, especially in terms of genuine family ties, physical care, security, protection, emotional support and financial dependence. This provision was included in the law on the basis of a Constitutional Court decision from January 2015.
Conditions and procedure
Generally, there is no waiting period for a beneficiary of international protection to apply for family reunification after being granted international protection status. The only exception is made in the law for beneficiaries who have been granted subsidiary protection for one year – they obtain the right to family reunification after their status is extended. The new amendments of the Foreigners Act state that beneficiaries of international protection can start the family reunification process after the decision on their status becomes final. In practice, this means that if persons with subsidiary protection decide to appeal against a decision, they cannot start the family reunification procedure until the procedure is finished and the decision on status becomes final.
Persons with refugee status and subsidiary protection longer than one year can apply for family reunification immediately after the decision granting them status becomes final.
There are no other differences regarding the criteria and conditions for family reunification between persons with refugee status and subsidiary protection status.
Both persons enjoying refugee status and subsidiary protection have to apply for family reunification within 90 days since the decision on their status becomes final (or extension of subsidiary protection status if it was granted for one year) in order to enjoy the more favourable conditions available to beneficiaries of international protection. In case the beneficiary does not apply in 90 days, the family member must meet the general conditions for family reunification: possession of a valid passport, health insurance and sufficient financial means.
In 2021, 72 applications for family reunification were submitted. 70 were submitted by persons with refugee status and 2 were submitted by a person with subsidiary protection. 2 applicants were nationals of Eritrea, 9 of Palestine, 2 of Turkey, 14 of Syria, 44 of Afghanistan and 1 of Morocco. The 2 applicants with subsidiary protection that applied for family reunification were from Eritrea. The Ministry of Interior issued 64 decisions on family reunification. 45 applications were granted – all of persons with refugee status, 2 applications were rejected and 17 procedures were stopped because the applicants did not submit the necessary documents or proof.
Family reunification procedures were not suspended during the pandemic. Strict rules for entry into Slovenia were in place, meaning that an individual had to submit a negative COVID-19 test at the border. In practice, travel restrictions in countries of origin or countries of transit prolonged the duration of the family reunification process, as individuals were unable to leave the country they were in.
The authorities impose strict criteria regarding required documents for establishing identity of and links with family members, which can be problematic for citizens of countries where the acquisition of the official documents is difficult or impossible.
Applicants for family reunification had difficulties obtaining original or notarised documents of family member in order to prove family ties. They also had problems obtaining identification documents of family members, especially in cases when the family members were residing outside their country of origin. Family members had difficulties in obtaining exit visas. Sending Slovenian documents to countries without IOM, UNHCR and Slovenian embassies also presented difficulties in the cases of Syrian, Afghan and Palestinian nationals.
 Articles 47.a(2) and 47.b(2) Foreigners Act.
 Articles 47.a(4) and 47.b(4) Foreigners Act.
 Article 47a(3) and 47b(3) Foreigners Act.
 Articles 47.a(7) and 47.b(6) Foreigners Act.
 Official statistics provided by the Migration Directorate, March 2022.