What is asylum?

General information about the asylum procedure in Greece

  • If you are afraid to return to your country of origin, or country of previous residence in case you are stateless, because you are in danger of suffering serious harm for reasons related to your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group or you flee war torture, or inhumane and degrading treatment, you can apply for asylum in Greece.
  • The Greek Asylum Service will examine your application and will make a decision in accordance with European Union and Greek legislation.
  • As an asylum seeker in Greece you may also be able to request family reunification with your close family members in other European countries, if certain criteria are fulfilled. Find more information below under “Dublin III”.
  • You can also apply for asylum on behalf of your spouse and your children under 18 years old, or your children older than 18 years old who suffer from a mental or physical disability and are unable to submit an application on their own, if they are also in Greece with you.
  • During the asylum procedure you have to stay in Greece. If you leave without permission to another European country while your asylum application is still pending in Greece, the authorities of that country have the right to return you to Greece.

It is important to remember that after the Joint EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016, different procedures apply for persons who arrived in Greece before the 20th March 2016 and persons who arrived on the Greek islands from the 20th March onwards.

Therefore, the date you arrived in Greece, before or after the 20th March 2016, plays a significant role in the processing of your asylum application and your administrative treatment in Greece.