938. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Justice if she will fast-track family reunion applications and broaden the criteria for Afghan refugees in the country especially those with outstanding family reunification applications. [42798/21]


Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): In response to the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, my Department is currently focused on processing family reunification applications for Afghan family members of Irish citizens and Afghan nationals living in Ireland.
One hundred and four Afghan family members have been granted family reunification so far this year and applications in respect of a further 64 people are being actively processed.
A person can apply for family reunification under the International Protection Act 2015 if they have been granted a declaration as a Convention Refugee, are a beneficiary of Subsidiary Protection or if they have been granted Programme Refugee status.  Applications for Family Reunification under the 2015 Act can be made to my Department by email to or in hard copy to Family Reunification Unit, Department of Justice, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.
Under Section 56 of the 2015 Act, the following family members are eligible for family reunification:
- Spouse - the marriage must have subsisted on the date the application for international protection in the State was lodged;
- Civil Partner- the civil partnership must have subsisted on the date of the application for international protection in the State was lodged;
- Parent(s) and their children (under 18 and unmarried) if the sponsor was under 18 and unmarried on the date the application for family reunification in the State was lodged; and
- A child of the sponsor, who is under the age of 18 and unmarried when the sponsor made an application for family reunification in the State. 
Full details on the application process can be found on my Department's website at:  
Anyone who is not eligible to make an application under the 2015 Act, may wish to consider making an application for a visa to join a family member already living in Ireland. Eligible family members are generally dependent family including spouses, civil partners and children under the age of 18. Detailed information is available at: