When you arrive in Greece, if received by the Hellenic Police you will be taken to a Reception and Identification Center (RIC)RIC exist in Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos, Leros, Filakio (Evros), Diavata (Thessaloniki) and Malakasa (Athens).

  • Ask questions about your first name, family name, family members and nationality.
  • Take your fingerprints if you are over 14 years old.
  • Take a picture of yourself.

An interpreter who speaks your language should be present during this procedure. Make sure to ask for explanations if you don’t understand the questions.

The procedures you will go through at a Reception and Identification Center take place before you apply for asylum. These first-instance procedures are of great importance in determining the future of your stay in Greece and your access to accommodation and services available for asylum-seekers.

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 the asylum procedure and many services.

Find more about the process in this article

If you have not gone through the Reception and Identification Procedures upon arrival, you will do so when booking an appointment to register your asylum application. You can complete the form here. If at the time, you reside in mainland Greece, these procedures will take place either in Malakasa or in Diavata Reception and Identification Centers.

What’s next?

You will register your name, age and gender at the Reception and Identification Service, located inside the Reception and Identification Center. If you are a minor, it is crucial to state this to the authorities as early as possible.

The service will ask questions about your country of origin to verify your nationality. They might ask you, for example, about your country’s coin, flag, dialect, etc.

The medical team at the Reception and Identification Service will check your health condition. They are responsible for conducting a medical and psychosocial assessment. Ask the medical team to see a psychologist if you suffer from psychological issues like depression, anxiety or panic disorders. You might be referred for an age assessment procedure if there is doubt regarding your age.

The medical team has to prepare a written vulnerability report for vulnerable cases, which will become part of your asylum application.

This might happen in a couple of days or take longer, depending on how many medical experts are available at the particular centre.

What is essential during reception and identification?

Asking for asylum at the reception and identification service (RIS) ensures you can access the procedure and reception conditions (such as accommodation and cash assistance) through registration of your asylum claim at a Regional Asylum Office. Inform RIS about any family members travelling with you so your cases can be joined and handled together.

Ensure that you inform the Reception and Identification Service of any vulnerability that is not easily visible.

If you are under 18, state your exact age. It will be challenging to change your papers later.

Ensure that your details are written correctly on the registration papers by the person completing your form. It is challenging to change your personal information later on.

You will also be asked for your contact details. Ensure to provide an email address only if you frequently log in and use it because the Asylum Service might notify you via email of any decisions concerning your case. It is crucial to have immediate access to your account since deadlines will start from when you were sent the email. If you are not a frequent user of your email account, you might choose not to share it.

An interpreter who speaks your language should be present and help you to confirm all details you give at this stage.

How long does the procedure last?

The Reception and Identification Procedure should take no longer than 25 days. You might not be allowed to move in and out of the centre until you complete the Reception and Identification Procedure.

Age Assessment

During your stay in the Reception and Identification Center (RIC), If an employee doubts you are under 18 years old, they must 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.

Where do I stay after Reception and Identification?

The Reception and Identification Service will assign you a place to stay inside a camp if one is available.

Criteria that the authority takes into account to decide the placements are:

  • Vulnerability
  • Nationality
  • Family status (they will especially consider your placement if you are a single man, a large family, a family with babies or a single mother)
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Special characteristics or needs