Border procedure (airport and port transit zones)


Country Report: Border procedure (airport and port transit zones) Last updated: 10/07/24


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General (scope, time limits)

There are two different types of border procedures in Greece. The first will be cited here as the “normal border procedure” and the second as the “fast-track border procedure”. In the second case, many of the rights of asylum seekers are severely restricted, as it will be explained in the section on Fast-Track Border Procedure. Article 95 Asylum Code establishes the border procedure, limiting its applicability to admissibility or to the substance of claims processed under an accelerated procedure.[1]

In the “normal border procedure”, where applications for international protection are submitted in transit zones of ports or airports, asylum seekers enjoy the same rights and guarantees as those whose applications are lodged in the mainland.[2] However, deadlines are shorter: for example, when an appeal is lodged, its examination can be carried out, at the earliest, five days after its submission.[3]

According to Article 70 Asylum Code, 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 also be 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 border crossing point concerned and impose the limitation of such access. Such limitations must not result in access being rendered impossible.

Where no decision on an asylum application lodged a border entry point is taken within 28 days, the applicant is allowed entry into the Greek territory for their application to be examined according to the provisions concerning the Regular Procedure.[4] During this 28-day period, applicants remain de facto in detention (see Grounds for Detention).

In practice, the above-mentioned procedure is only applied in airport transit zones. In particular to people arriving at Athens International Airport – usually through a transit flight – who do not have a valid entry authorization and apply for asylum at the airport.

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 the border procedure.[5]

The number of asylum applications subject to the border procedure at the airport in 2023 has not been provided by the MoMA, even though GCR has requested it.


Personal interview

The personal interview at the border is conducted according to the same rules as those described under the regular procedure.

Where the application has been lodged at the Athens International Airport transit zone, the asylum seekers are transferred in most cases to the AAU of Amygdaleza for the full registration of their asylum application and for the interview. Consequently, GCR is not aware of any interview through videoconferencing in the transit zones to date.



The Asylum Code foresees that the deadline for submitting an appeal against a first instance negative decision issued in the border procedure is 10 days.[6] The automatic suspensive effect of appeals depends on the type of negative decision challenged by the applicant (see Admissibility Procedure: Appeal and Accelerated Procedure: Appeal). Appeals against decisions rejecting applications under the border procedure may not carry an automatic suspensive effect if the individual benefits from the necessary assistance of an interpreter, legal assistance and at least one week to prepare the application for leave to remain before the Appeals Committee.[7]

In practice, in such cases, the appellant has to submit a separate request before the Appeals Committee for leave to remain on Greek territory pending the outcome of the appeal. This request is being examined by the Appeals Committee on the same day as the appeal, so there has been no issue of removal from the country until the notice of the second instance decision, as, in practice, only the submission of the request for leave to remain has a suspensive effect.

In cases where the appeal is rejected, the applicant has the right to file an application for annulment before the Administrative Court (see Regular Procedure: Appeal).


Legal assistance

The law does not contain special provisions regarding free legal assistance in the border procedure. The general provisions and practical limitations regarding legal aid are also applicable here (see section on Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance).




[1] Article 95(1) Asylum Code

[2] Articles 51, 74, 76, και 80 Asylum Code

[3] Article 100 (2) c Asylum Code

[4] Art. 95(2) Asylum Code.

[5] Police Circular No 1604/16/1195968/18-6-2016, available in Greek at: .

[6] Article 95(3)(c) Asylum Code.

[7] Article 110(3) Asylum Code.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation