Happy family reunification in spite of many difficulties
After six years of separation, Mr Y.’s wife and daughter finally receive the longed-for family reunion visa and can enter Germany. The time of waiting was dominated by anxiety, sorrow and despair. Thanks to the tireless support of the GRC Tracing Service over many years, the family is now happily reunited.
Mr Y. comes from Eritrea and fled the country at the end of 2014. He arrived in Germany in January 2016 by way of tangled and dangerous escape routes which took him through Sudan, Libya, Italy and the Netherlands. After his asylum application was initially rejected as inadmissible on the basis of the provisions of the Dublin III Regulation, he was recognised as a refugee under the Geneva Convention in early summer 2017 following legal intervention.
In July 2017, Mr Y. requested legal help and assistance from the GRC Tracing Service via a staff member of the GRC refugee home where he had found shelter, seeking reunification with his wife and young daughter. In the meantime, they had also fled Eritrea and had been staying in Sudan since 2015.
The necessary application in accordance with section 29(2) sentence 2 no. 2 of the Residence Act was submitted within the time limit in order to be able to legally waive the requirement of having to provide a means of subsistence and accommodation as a prerequisite for family reunification. A Tigrinya-speaking employee of the GRC Tracing Service took over the counselling of the client.
This was followed by 3½ years of legal efforts and a struggle through the bureaucratic thicket of document procurement as well as seemingly never-ending waits for appointments with the responsible government agencies, which brought the family to the edge of their psychological endurance.
With a lot of understanding and patience, the GRC Tracing Service counsellor repeatedly gave the family the necessary confidence despite many setbacks and did not let up in her efforts to support their request. This gave the family the strength and the necessary resilience to endure the lengthy proceedings.
One year alone passed until the family had their first appointment at the German diplomatic mission in Sudan due to a change in the appointment system and the associated organisational difficulties. Repeated interventions by the GRC Tracing Service and extensive correspondence resulted in the correct allocation of an appointment regarding family reunification with a recognised refugee. By this time in summer 2018, Mr Y.’s daughter was five years old.
In September 2018, Ms Y. submitted subsequently requested documents and papers. Thereupon, the procedure came to a complete standstill. It was not until the beginning of April 2019 – following repeated enquiries by the GRC Tracing Service about the state of affairs as of the end of January 2019 – that the German mission abroad asked questions about one of the documents submitted and requested that one of the documents be corrected, setting a deadline until the end of April 2019.
With the help of the GRC Tracing Service, all questions were answered within the set deadline; the corrected document was also provided. At the beginning of July 2019, the relatives requested an appointment to have the child’s passport issued so that it could be renewed. A reply was weeks in coming. In the meantime, the German mission in Sudan closed.
After its reopening, the procedure started all over again, as a new case officer was now responsible for the case and asked questions that had already been answered.
Another year was to pass with requests for appointments, explanations and document checks until all requirements were met and the bureaucratic steps were completed. After further delays due to the Corona pandemic, Mr Y.’s wife and daughter finally receive the requested visa for family reunion on 18 October 2020.
Mr Y.’s little daughter, 1½ years old when her father had to leave Eritrea as a refugee, is now seven.
On 20 October 2020, Mr Y. joyfully informs the GRC Tracing Service that his family’s entry is scheduled to take place before the end of October. His wife and daughter finally enter Germany as planned on 30 October 2020 and the family now lives happily together.
This date will always be a special one for the family, just as it is for the staff of the GRC Tracing Service.