European Court of Justice rules that unaccompanied minors retain rights to family reunification

European Court of Justice rules that unaccompanied minors retain rights to family reunification

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) [official website] on Thursday ruled [judgment] that an unaccompanied minor who turns eighteen during the asylum procedure remains entitled to family unification, provided the application for family reunification is filed within three months of the recognition of the minor’s refugee status.

Those who reach the age of majority during this process will still be regarded as minors [press release] despite their age. The ECJ found that family reunification is necessary in order to protect the family. The court determined that the term “unaccompanied minor” extends to someone who has attained the age of majority during the asylum procedure and who later applies for family reunification. The court said that refugees who arrive as unaccompanied minors have a right to family reunification, and therefore ruled that they keep this right even if they attain the age of majority during the process of obtaining asylum.