*The following process also applies to Ukrainian nationals that have been rejected and haven’t obtained the Temporary Protection status.
🔳 About asylum - When you arrive on a Greek island
- Asylum is when a country grants protection on its territory to people from another country fleeing persecution or danger.
- You have the right to seek asylum if you need international protection, no matter your country of origin.
- You have the right to stay in Greece until you decide on your asylum application.
- Whether you plan to stay in Greece or move on to another country through Family Reunification, you must register with the Greek Asylum Service.
People who arrive after March 20, 2016, have to go through a particular border procedure, which has some differences from the process that is followed when you come through the land border. . This is because of an agreement known as the EU-Turkey Statement. Under the EU-Turkey Statement, you can be returned directly to Turkey if you do not have the right to international protection or do not claim asylum when you arrive in Greece.
Once you arrive on the island, for your asylum procedure to start, you will be transferred to the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC), where you can begin the process for asylum by the Police.
⬜ INITIAL REGISTRATION AND RECEPTION AND IDENTIFICATION PROCEDURE
Once you are transferred to the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC), you will have to register your name, age and gender at the Reception and Identification Service. The Police or Frontex (the European Border and Coast Guard Agency) will identify your nationality and take your fingerprints. At this stage, you can express your intention to seek asylum.
Since March 2020, due to COVID-19 measures, you will go through a quarantine period where you will be tested for COVID-19 by the National Health Service (EODY). Only after this quarantine period will you go through the initial registration, where you can formally express your willingness to seek asylum in Greece and receive the police note. The quarantine period might vary based on a lot of factors.
In Lesvos, the initial registration by the Police and Reception and Identification Service (RIS) happens at the Regional Asylum Service (Pagani), where authorities will transport you by bus.
During this step you will receive:
- A police note
- A restriction of liberty document which a decision ordering you to remain on the Greek island on which you arrived unless your geographical limitation is lifted.
These documents will indicate your case number (DIKA and willigness number), which will follow you throughout the asylum process.
After this initial registration, you will be asked to approach the Asylum Service to complete your asylum registration, or the competent authorities will notify you about the relevant date.
RECEPTION AND IDENTIFICATION PROCEDURE
⬜ ASYLUM REGISTRATION
Next, you get a Registration appointment at the competent Regional Asylum Office (RAO), located close to the Reception and Identification Center. The Greek Asylum Service will officially register your asylum request and conduct a short interview. In the interview, you will have to confirm your and your family's personal information and briefly state why you left your country and are afraid to return, which you will have the chance to talk about in detail during your asylum interview. Following the registration before RAO, you will be notified by RAO or RIS about issuing the asylum seekers' smart card.
At the end of the Asylum Registration, you might receive either at Regional Asylum Offices(RAO) or by Reception and Identification Service (RIS) an International Asylum Seekers Protection Card (Asylum Card) in the form of a smart card that will have:
- your case number
- your temporary social security number (PAYYPA)
- the date of issuance and period of validity (one month or six months)
- the existence of a geographical restriction
- which doesn't allow you to leave the island
- and a unique number which is related to your fingerprints.
⬜ BORDER PROCEDURE
At this point, you will go through the Border Procedure.
⬜ FAMILY REUNIFICATION TO OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
At this stage, the Asylum Service will also determine if you can apply for Family Reunification in another European country. If you have a close family member legally living in another European country, you may be able to apply to join them.
FAMILY REUNIFICATION IN OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
Once you are registered, you have the right to work in Greece under certain conditions.
⬜ ADMISSIBILITY INTERVIEW
If your country of origin is Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Somalia, and you entered Greece from Turkey, you will go through an interview to determine if Greece or Turkey is the responsible country for the examination of your asylum application. This happens due to the designation of Turkey as "safe" for these nationalities by a Ministerial Decision published in June 2021. During this interview, you will be asked questions about your personal information and health condition; family members are present in Greece, Turkey or another European country.
Additionally, the caseworker will ask you about your journey from the country of origin, the duration of your stay in Turkey, if you applied for asylum in Turkey and why you decided to leave from there. Finally, you will be asked to state the reasons why you would not want to return to Turkey.
⬜ ASYLUM INTERVIEW
If your application is found admissible or your country of origin is not one of the five mentioned above, you will have your interview where authorities will decide if you will receive refugee status or subsidiary protection or be denied asylum. Make sure your contact information is up to date at all times to be notified as soon as your decision is ready. If you are staying in the camp, make sure to check the lists published on information boards regularly.
🟢 NOTIFICATION OF THE DECISION - POSITIVE DECISION 🟢
Reach out to Info Point of the camp to check how you will get the notification of your asylum decision.
⬜ RESIDENCE PERMIT (ADET)
Once you get the decision that grants you international protection, you will also receive the decision for issuing a Residence Permit (ADET) with your decision or soon after, 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 from them to contact the asylum office on an island to send your decision to the mainland office. You will likely wait three months or more until you get your RESIDENCE PERMIT (ADET) card.
To receive the Residence permit (ADET), you must 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)
Now, 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. 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 passport office of the police station. It will take 8-9 months for your passport (travel document) to be ready, and you will collect it from the asylum service; you can choose if you want to collect it from the regional asylum office in Athens or 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.
SOCIAL INSURANCE (PAAYPA OR AMKA)
⬜ BRING YOUR FAMILY
Now that you have recognised refugee status, 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 ⭕
Make sure your up-to-date contact information
⬜ APPEAL THE DECISION
If you receive a negative decision on your asylum application, you have the right to appeal, but within a certain period, that is clarified on your decision. This process can be done 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 also request state legal aid via this. If you get a negative answer after an admissibility interview on the Greek islands, you have 10 days to appeal. If you get a negative decision after an eligibility interview, you have 10 days to appeal.
APPEALING YOUR ASYLUM DECISION IN GREECE-FIRST-INSTANCE APPEALS
⬜ POSITIVE DECISION ON YOUR APPEAL
⬆️ If you receive a positive decision on your appeal, go to step "POSITIVE DECISION" to see the next steps ⬆️
⬜ NEGATIVE DECISION OF 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.
Subsequent asylum application: In case you receive an appeal rejection, you have the right to apply for a subsequent asylum application, and you can also do it without a lawyer. You can apply for an appointment to apply for the subsequent asylum application here.. This application will be considered admissible if there is new and significant additional information to your claim that you did not mention during your first asylum application or a new claim that was similarly not mentioned, without any fault of your own or for reasons you can justify; for example, new information regarding the region of your country of origin or previous residence, new medical documents relevant to your claim or a certificate demonstrating you are a victim of torture. It is recommended to have this additional information prepared and well written before approaching the Asylum Office to request a subsequent asylum application. At the first stage of the subsequent asylum application, you will not receive an asylum seeker's card nor have access to material reception conditions (accommodation and cash assistance). This will only be possible if it is made admissible and you are, thus, called anew for an interview before the competent RAO.
APPEALING YOUR ASYLUM DECISION IN GREECE-SECOND-INSTANCE APPEALS
⬜ 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).
You can also ask for help going home safely through Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration.
ASSISTED VOLUNTARY RETURN AND REINTEGRATION
🔳 GENERAL INFORMATION
Keep your documents with you at all times. Important 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.
Appealing subsidiary protection: You have the right to appeal this decision and request a revaluation of your claim for international protection to receive Refugee status (full asylum). The appeal deadline is 30 days after the notification of your decision. In this case, until your appeal has concluded, you cannot apply for ADET and travel documents. Even if you don't get Refugee status after the appeal, you cannot lose your partial asylum.
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 6 months - or sometimes every 1 month. You can find the card's duration and date of issuance on your asylum seeker's card.
Renew your subsidiary protection residence permit every 1 year - the date is indicated on the card.
Renew your refugee status residence permit every 3 years – the date is indicated on the card. Start 6 months in advance the application for the renewal.
HOW TO BRING YOUR FAMILY TO GREECE
ASSISTED VOLUNTARY RETURN AND REINTEGRATION