Right to the Asylum and freedom of movement.
Why is it useful in your everyday life?
- When can I move freely within Greece?
The Greek state is obliged to allow you to apply for international protection (Asylum), regardless of whether you came or are in Greece illegally. You can stay legally in Greece, until the completion of the examination of your application. It is forbidden in any way to be sent back to areas where your life is threatened, or you are in danger of suffering violence or inhumane treatment. However, during your stay as an asylum seeker, restrictions on your movement may be imposed. For example, you may be obliged to stay in a specific area, or you may be forbidden to visit other areas in Greece. Recognized refugees can move and settle freely in any part of Greece.
Attention! When your application for international protection has been definitively rejected and you do not have legal documents or your documents have expired and cannot be renewed, then you do not have the right to move freely within the country. In this case you can return to your country of origin and the Police Authorities can detain you in a Pre-Departure Detention Center until your return is completed. There may be other options as well, please consult a lawyer.
- How can I apply for international protection/ Asylum?
If you came to Greece illegally from an island or Evros, you will have to stay at a Reception and Identification Center where you can apply for asylum after being informed about the process.
If you are detained by the Greek Police after your entrance in Greece, you can apply for asylum there. Police is obliged to register in the electronic system that you have applied for asylum.
Finally, if you came to Greece and did not pass from the Reception and Identification Center, then you can apply for asylum by calling the Asylum Service via Skype. On the Asylum Service website, there is an announcement of the specific hours and days that you can call Skype to make an appointment, depending on your language. You need to be patient! You may have to try many times.
Problems you may face
When I might face restrictions on my movement within the country?
- During your stay in a Reception and Identification Center and as long as the registration of your application for asylum lasts, it is forbidden to move outside the Center. In addition, if you are on an island, you may not be allowed to leave until your asylum application has been processed.
- When the court has imposed a travel ban or other geographical restrictions to you.
- Restrictions on your movement may also occur due to national security issues or for public health reasons (for example the quarantine imposed due to Covid-19).
Possible solutions and answers
- If I cannot connect and book an appointment via Skype with the Asylum Service, what should I do?
Indeed, long delays can be expected when contacting the Asylum Service via Skype. As a result, people wishing to apply for asylum, remain undocumented with high risk of detention. If you have serious health problems, seek assistance from agencies and organizations that provide support services. In these cases, you have the right to ask for faster registration of your request.
- What should I do, if my right to freedom of movement is violated?
In this case, it is good to seek legal advice from a lawyer. You can also contact the Ombudsman by submitting an online report.