An administrative court in the German capital Berlin has exempted wives of refugees, who were married while minors, from family reunification and from the possibility of joining their husbands.
The decision, which was published on Monday, came in response to an appeal submitted by the wife of a Syrian refugee after the German consulate in Istanbul rejected her request to join her husband, who had applied as a refugee in Germany in mid-2015.
According to the court’s decision, the wife was 15 when she was married and the marriage was at the beginning of 2015—that is, six months before her husband, who is nine years older, arrived in Germany.
The court added that despite the fact that the marriage was legal according to Syrian law, which allows those over 13 years old to be married with permission of the guardian, this marriage was not recognized by German authorities, according to the court.
The court based its decision on a law to fight child marriage, issued in the summer of 2017 in Germany, by which authorities do not recognize marriages, if one of the couple had not reached the age of 16 by the time of the marriage.
However the court said that the wife can now request a visa for the purpose of being married in Germany (not a family reunification visa).
The court’s decision is not final, as appeals are allowed with the Berlin-Brandenburg Supreme Administrative Court due to the “importance of the case.”
The family reunification law in Germany stipulates that a person who has obtained asylum can transfer direct family members to Germany according to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. Direct family members can be reunited and includes spouses and children, minors under the age of 18 or guardians.
Family reunification was stopped for two years in 2016 for people who had obtained temporary protection, and then restarted from July 2018.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.