Travel documents

Greece

Country Report: Travel documents Last updated: 30/11/20

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Greek Council for Refugees Visit Website

Recognised refugees, upon request submitted to the competent authority, are entitled to a travel document (titre de voyage), regardless of the country in which they have been recognised as refugees in accordance with the model set out in Annex to the 1951 Refugee Convention.[1] This travel document allows beneficiaries of refugee status to travel abroad, unless compelling reasons of national security or public order exist. The abovementioned travel document is issued from the Passport Directorate of the Hellenic Police Headquarters,[2] subject to a fee of €85.[3] These travel documents are valid for 5 years for adults and can be renewed.[4]

The same applies to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, if they are unable to obtain a national passport, unless compelling reasons of national security or public order exist.[5] In practice, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection must present to the Greek authorities verification from the diplomatic authorities of their country of origin, certifying their inability to obtain a national passport. This prerequisite is extremely onerous, as beneficiaries of subsidiary protection may also fear persecution or ill-treatment from their country of origin. Furthermore, the issuance of this verification lies upon the discretion of the diplomatic authorities of their country of origin and depends on the policy of each country. The travel documents issued for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are valid for 3 years and can be renewed.[6]

According to Ministerial Decision 1139/2019, travel documents should not be issued to refugees convicted for falsification and use of false travel documents. Travel documents cannot be issued for five years following the conviction, or for ten years in case of a felony.[7]

The same Ministerial Decision regulates the issuance of travel documents for minors accompanied by one of their parents who exercises on his/her own the parental care of the child, but does not possess documents establishing the parental care of the child. More precisely travel documents for the minor can be issued upon submission of a declaration on oath before the District Court or a Notary when the following conditions are met:

–   the minor is granted refugee status and is present in Greece with one of his/her parent;

–  this parent is also exercising the parental care due to facts or legal acts previously registered in the country of origin, and

–  this parent does not possess documents proving that he/she is exclusively exercising the parental care.

This long-awaited Ministerial Decision simplified the procedure for the issuance of travel documents for minors of single-headed families. However, this provision does not apply to cases where the parent is exercising the sole parental custody due to facts or legal acts registered in a country other than the country of their origin. In this case, if no supporting documents can be provided, travel documents for the minor can be requested by the single parent under the condition that the parental care/responsibility has been assigned to him/her on the basis of a decision of a Greek court.[8]

The waiting period for the issuance of travel documents can prove lengthy and may exceed 8 months in some cases, as far as GCR is aware. 

In May 2019, the Asylum Service started the process of electronic renewal of travel documents. The application for renewal of travel documents is submitted via e-mail and further supporting documents must be sent to the Asylum Service via post. The application is completed with the receipt of the required supporting documents from the applicants. Therefore, the time for processing the application by the Asylum Service depends on the time of sending and receiving all required supporting documents. From the time of receipt of these documents, the average time for the issuance of a travel document renewal decision is one and a half (1.5) months. In 2019, 139 applications for Travel Documents renewal were submitted and 81 positive decisions were taken.[9]

 


[1]Article 25(1) PD 141/2013 and L. 4636/2019(IPA).

[2] Article 25(2) PD 141/2013 and L. 4636/2019 (IPA).

[3] Asylum Service, Frequently asked questions on the rights of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection, 18 February 2015, available in Greek at: http://bit.ly/2jGtIw0.

[4]Joint Ministerial Decision 10566/2014, Gov. Gazette B/3223/02.12.2014, available in Greek at: http://bit.ly/2lmEMwy.

[5] Article 25(4) IPA.

[6] Article 1(2) Ministerial Decision 1139/2019, Gov. Gazette 4736/Β/20.12.2019. 

[7] Article 5 Ministerial Decision 1139/2019, Gov. Gazette 4736/Β/20.12.2019.

[8] Article 1(7) Ministerial Decision 1139/2019.

[9]  Information provided by the Asylum Service, 17 February 2020.

 

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