Article 60 L 4375/2016 establishes two different types of border procedures. The first will be cited here as “normal border procedure” and the second as “fast-track border procedure”. In the second case, the rights of asylum seekers are severely restricted, as it will be explained in the section on Fast-Track Border Procedure.
The main elements of the normal border procedure resemble the previous procedure governed by Article 24 PD 113/2013, which was applied at the airports. However, the law does not limit the applicability of the border procedure to admissibility or to the substance of claims processed under an accelerated procedure, as required by Article 43 of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive. Under the terms of Article 60 L 4375/2016, the merits of any asylum application could be examined at the border.
In the “normal border procedure”,1 where applications for international protection are submitted in transit zones of ports or airports in the country, asylum seekers enjoy the same rights and guarantees with those whose applications are lodged in the mainland.2 However, deadlines are shorter: asylum seekers have no more than 3 days for interview preparation and consultation of a legal or other counsellor to assist them during the procedure and, when an appeal is lodged, its examination can be carried out at the earliest 5 days after its submission.
According to Article 38 L 4375/2016, the Asylum Service, in cooperation with the authorities operating in detention facilities and at Greek border entry points and/or civil society organisations, shall ensure the provision of information on the possibility to submit an application for international protection. Interpretation services shall be also provided to the extent that this is necessary for the facilitation of access to the asylum procedure. Organisations and persons providing advice and counselling, shall have effective access, unless there are reasons related to national security, or public order or reasons that are determined by the administrative management of the crossing point concerned and impose the limitation of such access. Such limitations must not result in access being rendered impossible.
Where no decision is taken within 28 days, asylum seekers are allowed entry into the Greek territory for their application to be examined according to the provisions concerning the Regular Procedure.3
The abovementioned procedure is in practice applied only in airport transit zones.
With a Police Circular of 18 June 2016 communicated to all police authorities, instructions were provided inter alia as to the procedure to be followed when a third-country national remaining in a detention centre or a RIC wishes to apply for international protection, which includes persons subject to border procedure.4
The personal interview at the border is conducted according to the same rules described under the regular procedure.
In practice, in cases known to GCR, where the application has been submitted in the Athens International Airport transit zone, the asylum seeker is transferred to the RAO of Attica for the interview to take place. Consequently, no interview through video conferencing in the transit zones has come to the attention of GCR up until now.
According to Article 61(1)(d) L 4375/2016, under the border procedure applicants can lodge their appeals within 5 days from the notification of the first instance decision.
In case where the Appeal is rejected, the applicant has the right to lodge an application for annulment (αίτηση ακύρωσης) before the Administrative Court of Appeal. The latter has a suspensive effect only if combined with an application of suspension (αίτηση αναστολής) against the decision of the Appeals Committee, and suspension is granted by the Court.5
It has to be noted that this judicial procedure before the Administrative Courts of Appeal is not accessible to asylum seekers without legal representation (see Regular Procedure: Appeal).
The law does not contain special provisions regarding free legal assistance in the border procedure. The general provisions regarding legal aid are also applicable here (see section on Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance). In practice, legal assistance is again provided only by NGOs according to their capacity and in the locations in which they operate.