Last update : February 2020

Download the pdf version here: w2eu_ch_family200202.pdf

Individual asylum interviews

Each individual’s reasons for seeking asylum have to be considered separately. However, families are often considered together. However, normally everyone is questioned individually – if not, you can insist on an individual interview. This is especially relevant if there are things you cannot or do not want to talk about in front of your family or when you experience violence from your relatives. However, if one person of the family (meaning parents and children arriving together in Switzerland) has the right to asylum, the other members of the family will be granted protection as well.

Family reunification

The specific requirements for family reunification depend on your residence permit. If the spouse has an indefinite leave to remain (permit status “C”) or a residence permit (permit status “B”), you can do family reunion with a husband (or a person in a registered partnership) and children under 18. If the spouse has the status of provisionally admitted foreigner (permit status “F”), you are only allowed to do family reunification for three years after you received the status. You are not allowed to do family reunification during the asylum procedure (permit status “N”).

For family reunion to be approved, you have to live together with your spouse and children after the reunion. This requires that your accommodation is big enough for the whole family. Furthermore, you are not allowed to receive welfare in the last year and will have to show that you have enough income to support your family.

In order to do family reunification, you need the following documents:

  • Basic knowledge of the language spoken in your canton in Switzerland (or at least a registration to a language course)
  • A valid identiy document (passport)
  • A marriage certificate (for spouses) or a birth certificate (for children) – translated into an official language of Switzerland (French, German, Italian or Rhaeto-Romanic) as well as certified by a notary.

You have to ask for family reunification latest 5 years after you meet the requirements. For children above 12 years, you have to ask for family reunification within 12 months after you meet the requirements.

For any questions concerning marriage and family reunification, you can also contact:
frabina – Beratungsstelle für Frauen & binationale Paare
Supports women and couples in all questions related to transnational relationships, including marriage, family reunification and divorce.
Kapellenstrasse 24, 3011 Bern, 031 381 27 01,,