*The following process also applies to Ukrainian nationals that have been rejected and haven’t obtained the Temporary Protection status.
🔳 Emergency numbers
- Medical emergency: Call 112
- Ambulance: Call 166
- Police: Call 100
- Public and NGO Services in Greece
- Athens and Thessaloniki Guides - For Asylum-seekers & Refugees
- Basic needs services in Athens and Thessaloniki
🔳 Starting the asylum process
You have the right to seek asylum in Greece. Anyone who needs international protection from persecution or danger can seek asylum in Greece. Whether you plan to stay in Greece or move on to another country through Family Reunification, you must register with the Greek Asylum Service.
🔗Asylum Pathway in English | 🔗Asylum Pathway in Arabic | 🔗Asylum Pathway in Farsi | 🔗Asylum Pathway in Urdu| 🔗Asylum Pathway in French| 🔗Asylum Pathway in Lingala | 🔗Asylum Pathway in Somali | 🔗Asylum Pathway in Kurmanji
🔗ENGLISH - Know your rights in immigration detention | 🔗FRENCH - Vos droits pendant la rétention administrative | 🔗ARABIC - حقوقك أثناء االحتجاز | 🔗FARSI - حقوق شما در جریان توقیف | 🔗URDU - حراست کے دوران آپ کے حقوق
🔳 Who gets the priority
Vulnerable people get priority for appointments with the Greek Asylum Service. The Greek Asylum Service may prioritize asylum claims submitted by people with a Syrian passport or a Travel Document for Palestinian Refugees issued in Syria.
🔳 THE ASYLUM PROCEDURE - General Information and steps
⬜ ASYLUM APPLICATION
According to Greek law, once you cross to Greece from either the land or the sea border, you should express your will to apply for international protection as soon as possible. At the borders of Greece, there are Reception and Identification Centres (Evros, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos) where you can apply for international protection. Depending on which of the abovementioned locations, registration appointments are given, as a rule, within some days from your arrival.
Newly arrived persons who find themselves on the mainland and have not registered their applications for asylum at the Reception and Identification Centres at the borders (Fylakio in Evros, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos) can book an appointment to register their application for international protection in mainland Greece via an application form provided by the Ministry of Migration and Asylum. An email address is necessary to log in, submit the application with your personal details and be given an appointment for registration. You can choose to be registered either at the Facility of First Reception in Diavata (close to Thessaloniki) or the one in Malakasa (“Gerakini” camp close to Athens). After submitting your application, make sure to click on “download proof”, so that a pdf file with the confirmation of your appointment can be sent to your email address.
When completing the application for the registration appointment, you will also be informed that upon arrival at the registration location, you will be required to reside in the facility “until the registration is completed, for a maximum of 25 days”. Since the asylum interview might also take place during the time that you will have to reside in the First Reception camps of Malakasa or Diavata, it could be helpful to contact legal actors and have legal information about the asylum procedure before your appointment. You have the right to reschedule your appointment for registration up to 2 times, according to the Ministry of Migration and Asylum. Remember to always keep relevant documents which prove that you could not be there for your appointment (e.g. medical or other documents) and share them as soon as possible with the greek authorities.
If you haven’t started the asylum procedure and do not possess any other legal document in Greece, and the police check you in the streets, you might be detained for deportation. During this procedure, you have the right to apply for asylum in Greece. If the police release you before applying for asylum, you will receive a police note giving you a deadline to leave Greece voluntarily. Also, the police note might indicate where you are allowed to move.
⬜ AGE ASSESSMENT
During the registration of your asylum application or during your interview before the Asylum Service, either on the mainland or on an island, If an employee of the Asylum Service doubts about you being under 18 years old, they have to start an age assessment procedure.
The age assessment procedure includes a medical examination by a general practitioner or paediatrician, a psychologist and a social worker and an examination by ex-rays, depending on how difficult it is to determine the age. In every stage of the procedure, you have the right to get informed about the procedure that will be followed and its results in a language you understand. The results should be notified to you in the end. If you disagree with the results of the age assessment, you have 15 days to appeal. In that case, it is better to consult a lawyer.
If your interview takes place before your age assessment has been finalized, make sure to mention that the Greek Asylum Service case worker is assessing your age at the beginning of your interview. Depending on the case, your interview will continue or be postponed to a later stage.
Following the registration of your asylum application, you will be notified by the Greek authorities about the date you can collect the International Protection Applicant's Card, in the form of a smart card, with your case number, duration of validity, unique number (UID)and the PAAYPA number that you need for your health insurance.
REGISTRATION FORM INFORMATION
If you are in Greece and your close family member lives legally in another European country, you may be able to join them.
You are eligible to work under certain conditions at this stage, and you will need a tax number to work in Greece legally. The tax number is called an "AFM" number. The AFM number will be issued after completing the full registration procedure for asylum seekers who will be fully registered in the Asylum Service after 31 December 2020.
Following your international protection application registration, you will be given an interview date before the Asylum Service. You may have an "admissibility interview" to determine if Greece will examine your asylum application or if you should be returned to Turkey.
If you don't have an admissibility interview, or if you have one and authorities find your asylum claim should be examined in Greece, you will have an asylum interview. The asylum interview is called an "eligibility interview".
⬜ NOTIFICATION OF THE DECISION
The Greek Asylum Service should reach out to you when it has decided on your asylum application. Make sure it has your up-to-date contact information.
You will receive a notification of the decision on your asylum application in one of the following ways: - in person to you at the Asylum Service - by post to your residence or work address or your lawyer or your authorized advisor or representative - to the email address that you gave to the First Reception Service or the Asylum Service or to the email address that was given by your lawyer or authorized advisor or representative. - through an application managed by the Asylum Service, you will have access through an online account.
Just so you know, the day you are notified of the decision on your asylum application is very important because, in case of a rejection, the deadline to appeal against the decision begins by the day of the notification.
ATTENTION: If you change your telephone number or address during any time of the procedure, make sure to notify the Asylum Service as soon as possible by submitting an electronic application here.
🟢 NOTIFICATION OF THE DECISION - POSITIVE DECISION 🟢
⬜ RESIDENCE PERMIT (ADET)
Once you get your decision granting international protection, you will also receive the decision to issue a Residence Permit (ADET). Most Regional Asylum Offices give both decisions on the same day. If an asylum office publishes your decision on an island and you have moved to the mainland, you need to reach the nearest asylum office and ask them to contact the asylum office on an island to send your decision to the mainland office. You will likely wait 3 months or more until you get your RESIDENCE PERMIT (ADET) card.
To receive the Residence permit (ADET) you need to make an appointment at the police station for fingerprints and submission of the necessary documents, including a valid international protection applicant’s card.
⬜ TRAVEL DOCUMENTS (TDV)
You can apply for your Travel Document as soon as you get a positive decision on your asylum case, which means that you have been granted refugee status and have received the residence permit (ADET). If you have received subsidiary protection, you can apply for travel docs but NOT IN ALL CASES, depending on nationality. To apply for a Travel Document (TDV or passport), you need to make an appointment at the police station at the passport police station. You can choose if you want to collect your travel document from the regional asylum office in Athens or the one in Thessaloniki. The travel documents issued are uploaded here every Friday. You can use your asylum case number to check if your travel documents are ready. If you miss the appointment uploaded by the asylum service, you can contact them for a new appointment through this platform.
⬜ SOCIAL INSURANCE (PAAYPA to AMKA)
On your asylum card, there will be your PAAYPA number. Your PAAYPA number will be turned into an AMKA number when granted international protection. We recommend you highlight to the Asylum Service to initiate the process of converting PAAYPA to AMKA, as there are cases of delays due to this miscommunication between services.
⬜ BRING YOUR FAMILY
Now that you have the status of a recognized refugee, you also have the right to bring your family from your country of origin.
⬜ CASH ASSISTANCE
You can continue to access the cash assistance program for a limited time after you get asylum.
⭕ NOTIFICATION OF THE DECISION - NEGATIVE DECISION ⭕
⬜ APPEAL THE DECISION
If you receive a negative decision on your asylum application, you have the right to appeal within a specific time, which is clarified in your decision. You can do this process ONLY with legal support. If you do not have legal support, make sure to request free legal aid, which the Greek state has to provide through the Registry of Lawyers of the asylum service. You can request legal aid by completing this form online.
On mainland Greece, the deadline to appeal your asylum decision is usually 30 days from the day the Greek Asylum Service notifies you of its decision if your asylum file is processed with the normal procedure. If your file is processed with the fast-track procedure, the deadline to appeal is 20 days from the day the Greek Asylum Service notifies you of the decision.
On the Greek islands, you have ten days to appeal if you get a negative answer after an admissibility interview. You have ten days to appeal if you get a negative decision after an eligibility interview.
The number of days you have to appeal after the negative decision might change, so IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ASK FOR A LAWYER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE YOU RECEIVE THE NEGATIVE DECISION.
If you appeal against the decision that rejected your asylum application, you receive back your asylum seeker's card and a document with the date of the examination of your appeal before the Appeals Authority in Athens.
⬆️ If you receive a positive decision on your appeal, go to step "POSITIVE DECISION" to see the next steps ⬆️
⬜ NEGATIVE DECISION ON YOUR APPEAL
In case you receive a negative decision on your appeal, you need to pay on your own the expenses of a legal representative to appeal AGAIN within 30 days before the competent Administrative Court of First Instance.
⬜ DEPORTATION OR READMISSION
In case of a second negative decision, you might be given a certain period to leave Greece and voluntarily return to your country of origin or be detained so that your removal takes place by the Greek authorities (more commonly on the islands). In the cases of voluntarily returning, after the expiration of the deadline, in case of a police check, you might be detained and deported.
🔳 GENERAL INFORMATION
Keep your documents with you at all times. Essential documents include, among others, your asylum seeker's card, passport, Birth certificate, and Marriage certificate. As an extra safety measure, please take photos of your documents and send them to someone you trust.
Types of Asylum
If your application is successful, you will receive one of two kinds of protection: Refugee status (full asylum) or Subsidiary protection. Whether you get refugee status or subsidiary protection, you usually cannot go to another European Union country and ask for asylum there. If you do, you may be returned to Greece.
These two statuses give you slightly different rights.
A) Refugee status (full asylum) Refugee status is for people who face persecution in their country of origin because of their:
- Membership in a particular social group
- Political opinion
People who have refugee status get:
- A Residence Permit that is valid for three years
- The right to apply for a Travel Document
- The right to bring family from their country of origin to Greece
People with refugee status cannot Travel to their country of origin without the risk of losing their refugee status
B) Subsidiary protection (partial asylum)
Subsidiary protection is for people who do not qualify for refugee status but face serious harm if they return to their country of origin. "Serious harm" is:
- Death penalty or execution
- Inhuman or degrading treatment
- Serious and personal threat to a civilian's life or physical integrity due to indiscriminate use of force in international or domestic armed conflict situations.
People with subsidiary protection get:
- A Residence Permit that is valid for one year.
- The right to apply for a Travel Document if they can't get a passport from their own country or national embassy in Greece.
People who get subsidiary protection cannot:
- Bring family from their country of origin to Greece
- People with subsidiary protection are not restricted from travelling to their home country but could risk losing their status in Greece if they go back, depending on their specific case.
Renew your asylum card every six months - or in some cases, every month – in any case, the renewal periodicity will be mentioned on the asylum card.
Renew your subsidiary protection residence permit annually - the date indicated on the card.
Renew your refugee status residence permit every three years – the date is indicated on the card. Start six months in advance of the application for the renewal of your residence permit and, in any case, no longer than 30 days before its expiration.
You can also ask for help going home safely through Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration.