Border procedure (airport and port transit zones)

Greece

Country Report: Border procedure (airport and port transit zones) Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Greek Council for Refugees Visit Website

General (scope, time limits)

 

The previous Article 60 L.4375/2016 established 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, many of the rights of asylum seekers are severely restricted, as it will be explained in the section on Fast-Track Border Procedure. This distinction between the “normal border procedure” and the ‘”fact-track border procedure” are still applicable following the entry into force of the IPA on 1 January 2020. However, the IPA has amended several aspects of the border procedure.

More particularly, Article 90 IPA establishes the border procedure, limiting its applicability to admissibility or to the substance of claims processed under an accelerated procedure, whereas under the terms of Article 60(1) L 4375/2016, the merits of any asylum application could be examined at the border.[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 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 66 IPA, 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 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] During this 28-day period, applicants remain de facto in detention (see Grounds for Detention).

In practice, the abovementioned 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 authorisation 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 border procedure.[4]

The number of asylum applications subject to the border procedure at the airport in 2019 is not available.

 

Personal interview

 

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 or the AAU of Amygdaleza 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.

 

Appeal

 

The IPA foresees that the deadline for submitting an appeal against a first instance negative decision is 7 days,[5] compared to 5 days under the previous Article.61(1)(d) of L.4375/2016. While the latter foresaw an automatic suspensive effect for all appeals under the border procedure, this is no longer the case under the IPA. 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). For the case of applications examined under the border procedure, the derogation from automatic suspensive effect of appeals is applicable under the condition that the individual benefits from the necessary assistance of an interpreter, legal assistance and at least one week to prepare the appeal before the Appeals Committee.[6]

In case 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 90(1) IPA, citing Article 83(9) IPA.

[2] Articles 47,69, 71 and 75 IPA

[3] Article 60(2) L.4375/2016 and Art. 90(2) IPA.

[4]Police Circular No 1604/16/1195968/18-6-2016, available in Greek at: http://bit.ly/2ngIEj6.

[5] Article 92(1)(c) IPA.

[6] Article 104(3) IPA.

 

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