To stay in a camp or UNHCR accommodation, you must first register at a Reception and Identification Center or, under rare circumstances, with the police.
Reception and Identification Centers
When you first arrive in Greece, even before you apply for asylum, you can ask for accommodation at a Reception and Identification Center.
You can find Reception and Identification Centers on Lesvos, Chios, Leros, Kos and Samos islands and on the mainland in Evros (at Fylakio).
After you go through a few procedures, including an identity check and a medical exam, Reception and Identification Service Authority officials will assign you a place to stay inside a camp, if available. You might be in a tent or asked to stay outside the camp.
If you don’t go through a Reception and Identification Center when you first enter Greece, you won’t be able to enter a camp or other accommodation, and you will not have access to many services.
If you are applying for asylum in Greece and do not have a place to stay, you should contact a legal aid organization.
Risk of detention or deportation
If you are over 18 and have a Registration card, the police probably will not detain you, according to UNHCR and organizations that provide legal advice, including the Greek Council for Refugees and Solidarity Now. Note that each case is examined individually by the police. In some cases, for example, if you have criminal cases before the Greek criminal courts, you may be detained. Although you have an asylum card, you can ask for legal assistance if detained.
If you don’t have a Registration card, declare immediately that you want to apply for asylum in Greece or ask a lawyer to accompany you, legal organizations advise. By declaring that you will apply for asylum, you can avoid the risk of deportation.
People who go to the police before applying for asylum, especially single men, will probably be detained until they apply for asylum, legal organizations told Refugee.Info.
If you are under 18 and travelling alone, police might keep you in custody for your protection.
Photo: Vicky Markolefa / Mercy Corps