Unaccompanied underage refugees entering European Union territory may apply to reunite with their families, even after reaching legal age before procedure completion, as the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled.
The Court ruled on a case in the Netherlands where authorities rejected an Eritrean young girl’s application for her family to acquire a temporary residence permit. The girl was a minor at the time she entered the country.
But a refugee organization filed her documents after she turned 18 when she could no longer be considered “unaccompanied minor” and her application was rejected.
Nevertheless, the European Court ruled that Dutch authorities’ decision violates EU law. Their rationale states that underage persons could by no means understand whether they have the right to ask for asylum for their families and that underage persons’ applications to reunite with their families should be filed within three months after the decision on refugee status.
It is worth noting that at the peak of migration crisis in Europe in 2015, 96,465 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the EU, but numbers have declined ever since.