The asylum procedure steps

The procedures below, apply for people arriving in Greece after the 20th of March 2016, when the EU-Turkey Statement is in force.

According to the Greek law, any foreigner or stateless person has the right to “make” an application for international protection.

Step 1: Simple Registration and Full Registration (lodge of an application)
An asylum seeker expresses his/her intention to apply for asylum before the Police and/or Reception and Identification Service authorities. The asylum procedure starts with this declaration.

The authorities should proceed immediately to the Full Registration (lodge of an application). The asylum seeker has to present himself/herself before the Asylum Service in order to lodge an application. During the full registration process:

  • The applicant may submit applications for family members present in Greece
  • The applicant is to the assistance of an interpreter provided by the authorities
  • The applicant and his/her family members will be photographed. People above the age of 14 will be fingerprinted
  • The applicant will submit any travel documents and any other document in his/her possession proving his/her identity, family status and country of origin
  • The Asylum Service will determine a date for an interview
  • The applicant will be given an asylum seekers card. The card is valid from 15 days to 6 months, depending on the examination procedure. The card can be renewed as long as the decision for asylum is still pending

The asylum application is considered filed as soon as the full registration is completed.

If, for any reason, the full registration is not possible, the competent authorities should proceed, within 3 working days, in a simple registration of the application. The applicant will be given a document with his/her photograph and personal details. Following that, within 15 working days, the full registration should take place.

When submitting applications for international protection, especially at the border, Special Rapid Assistance Units of the Asylum Service separate applications by country of origin and prioritize applications (fast-track procedure, regular procedure, Dublin III procedure) taking into account inter alia the vulnerability or non-compliance of applicants with the laws of the country.

Step 2: First Instance (Personal Interview)
On the date determined by the Asylum Service, the asylum seeker is interviewed by an Asylum Service caseworker or, under exceptional circumstances, from a European Asylum support Office officer.

During the personal interview:

  • An interpreter will be present in the interview, if necessary
  • The applicant can be accompanied by a lawyer or other counsellor (legal expert, doctor, psychologist or social worker)
  • The Asylum Service employee will ask the applicant questions regarding the information provided in his/her application (step 1)
  • The applicant may also submit any other evidence he/she considers necessary

Female applicants can request for a female caseworker and interpreter.

All adult family members are interviewed separately.

The interview is confidential but it can be shared with other Greek authorities.

The interview may be audio recorded. If the interview is not audio recorded, the asylum seeker will have to read the minutes, request corrections and verify/sign the transcript.

Applicants may remain in the country until the completion of the process of examining the application for international protection.

According to the new legislation, lodging of applications (step 1) and first instance (step 2) can also be implemented inside the R.I.C.s

Step 3: Decision
Following the interview, the Asylum Service will decide whether to grant refugee status, subsidiary protection status, or reject an application. The examination of an asylum application should be completed “the earliest possible” and, in any case, within 6 months, in the framework of the regular procedure and within 20 days in the framework of the fast-track procedure.

These time limits may be extended for a period not exceeding a further 3 months and 10 days respectively, where a large number of third country nationals or stateless people simultaneously apply for international protection. In any case the procedure should be completed within 21 months of the lodge of the application.

Within 10 days a decision is issued, the Asylum Service contacts the applicant (in a language that he/she understands) or his/her representative / lawyer by registered mail.

Step 4: Second Instance (Appeal, if the application is rejected).
If an asylum application is rejected, the asylum seeker has the right to lodge an appeal before the Appeals Authority, within 5 to 30 days (depending on the procedure followed) from the notification of the decision. The appeal is submitted by the asylum seeker or his/her lawyer. In certain cases, the applicant is obliged to return to his/her country of origin before the examination of his/her appeal.

The examination of the appeal takes place as soon as possible and no later than 7 to 20 days, depending on the type of the negative decision. An Independent Appeal Committee (1 to 3 members) examines the appeal usually based on the existing evidence and does not conduct a hearing of the applicant. However, the applicant has the right to submit additional evidence. In some cases, the Independent Appeals Committee decides to call the applicant for a hearing. The applicant can be accompanied by a lawyer or other counsellor.

A decision is issued as soon as possible and in any case within 15 days to 3 months depending on the conditions that led to the appeal.

If the appeal is rejected, the asylum seeker may submit, within 30 days, an application for revocation (cancellation) to the appropriate court of law. The minister of citizen Protection can also submit such an application.

Residence permit

Those who are granted refugee status or subsidiary protection in Greece, can apply for a Residence Permit.

The residence permit for recognized refugees is valid for 3 years and can be renewed by the Regional Asylum authorities.

For beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, the residence permit is valid for 2 years and can be renewed for two further years.

With a Residence Permit, someone has the right to:
  • Stay legally in Greece until the card expires
  • Apply for renewal when the card expires
  • Move freely throughout Greece
  • Get health care
  • Send his/her children to Greek public schools
  • Attend a public evening school
  • Access the labour market
  • Get a Social Security Number (AMKA)

The Residence Permit does not give someone the right to travel outside Greece. In order for a recognized refugee or beneficiary of subsidiary protection to be able to travel abroad, he/she will have to apply for a travel document (titre de voyage) to the Regional Asylum authority.



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