What happens after I apply for asylum?

The below steps need to be followed after you apply for asylum in Estonia.

Who will process my asylum claim?

The Police and Border Guard Board will assess which country is responsible for processing your asylum application.

If Estonia is responsible for handling your case, the government officials will assess your asylum application. This generally takes up to 6 months.

Step 1 - Registration

After you apply for asylum in Estonia, the Police and Border Guard Board will register your application and you will receive a “notice of acceptance” for processing your asylum claim.

You can find the list of “customer service points” on the website of the Police and Border Guard Board here.

Attention! It is important that you keep these documents in a safe place and that you always carry a copy of them with you.

After your application has been registered, you will have the status of an asylum-seeker until a final decision is made.

As an asylum-seeker, you will be placed in an accommodation centre. In exceptional cases, the court may authorize your detention.

Step 2 - Interview

After registration, you will be invited for an individual interview.

The interview is a very important step of the asylum procedure, where you have the opportunity to provide as much information as possible in support of your application and present all available documents in support of your asylum claim.

It is important to give a complete account of what happened to you and what you fear if you are returned to your country of origin.

The Estonian authorities will not share any of the information you provide during your application for asylum (documents, records during asylum interview with you) with your home country or anyone else.

Step 3 - Decision

There are three possible outcomes of the asylum procedure:

  • You are recognized as a refugee and issued a temporary residence permit with an initial duration of 3 years, which can be extended periodically for 3-years periods.
  • You are granted subsidiary protection and issued a temporary residence permit with an initial duration of 1 year, which can be extended for 2-year periods.
  • Your application for international protection is denied.

If your application is accepted (refugee status or subsidiary protection), the Police and Border Guard Board will give you a document with a description of your rights and obligations.

The rights and services are generally the same, whether you are recognized as a refugee or if you are granted subsidiary protection. The main difference is in the length of the residence permit you are issued (3 or 1 years).

You will also be enrolled in an early integration programme where you learn about living in Estonia. You will also be able to learn Estonian language free of charge.

If your application is denied, the full decision will be translated by the Police and Border Guard Board into a language that you understand.

The decision on your asylum case will be communicated by the Police and Border Guard Board to you or, if you have a lawyer, to your lawyer.

If you have a lawyer, the decision will only be available in Estonian, and you can ask your lawyer to explain it to you.

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