Derivative Status

Family members

The UNHCR mandates that all principal Applicants and all accompanying adult family members must all register in the RSD process to receive the UNHCR’s individual protection as “Applicants for Derivative Status.” Accompanying family members may have independent grounds for seeking refugee protection and may choose to submit a separate RSD application for individual review by the UNHCR.

In the UNHCR process, family members under 18 years need do not need to complete the entire RSD Application Form unless they have independent grounds from the accompanying adults or there are other reasons that this would be appropriate (e.g. victims of abuse or trafficking). Children applying independently should be referred for additional assistance and protection.

Consult with your client to ensure that they have revealed all family members. Failing to disclose family members in country, and sometimes in their home country, may likely impact the family members’ ability to access UNHCR’s protection in the country of refuge and to the resettlement process.

Adult family members should be offered the opportunity to be interviewed individually. Derivatives under 18 years are not usually offered individual interviews, and should request the opportunity in advance of the interview date if they wish to be interviewed. A specially trained interviewing officer should be provided. It is important that spouses and dependent adults are interviewed separately, both in the legal aid office and in the UNHCR. Each family member also has the right to individual documentation.

A state RSD adjudicator may follow similar procedures regarding family derivatives. Identify the state’s process for adjudicating family members and appropriately inform your clients. Note that resettling governments often require that all family members process RSD with the local government and will require family members to receive refugee status as derivatives or individually.