Criteria and conditions


Country Report: Criteria and conditions Last updated: 30/11/20


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The differences between the statuses are quite relevant regarding the question of family reunification.

Refugees with asylum

Spouses or registered partners of refugees and their minor children are entitled to family reunification. They will also be recognised as refugees and granted asylum provided there are no special circumstances that preclude this. If one of those persons is still abroad, their entry must be authorised on request, if the person in Switzerland and the person abroad were separated during the flight. If the family had not been separated during the flight, for example because the family / marriage did not exist at that time, they are not entitled to family asylum.

In case of family asylum, there are no requirements regarding income or health insurance.

In 2019, 1,643 recognised refugees applied for family reunification.[1] During the same year, the SEM approved refugee family reunification cases for 1,463 persons.[2]

Temporary admission

Three years after having received temporary admission, the person can apply to be reunited with their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 18. The requirements are that they all live in the same household, the family has suitable housing (a big enough apartment, already at the time of the application), and the family does not depend on social assistance (income requirement).[3] The application must be filed with the competent cantonal migration authority, which passes it on to the SEM. Certain deadlines apply to the application:[4] After the three-year waiting period is over, the application for family reunification must be submitted within five years, in case of children over 12 years the time limit is twelve months (in case of important family-related reasons, especially the best interest of the child, a later family reunification is possible). If the family / marriage was established after the waiting period of three years, the time limits start at the time the family / marriage was founded.

In 2019, 401 temporarily admitted persons applied for family reunification.[5] The approved cases during the same year by the SEM concerned 120 persons.[6]


[1] Information provided by the SEM, 12 February 2020.

[2]Information provided by the SEM, 16 February 2020.

[3]  Article 85(7) FNIA.

[4]Article 74(2)-(3) Ordinance on Admission, Stay and Gainful Employment.

[5] Information provided by the SEM, 14 February 2019.

[6]Information provided by the SEM, 12 February 2020.


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection