Residence permit


Country Report: Residence permit Last updated: 30/11/20


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Until the end of December 2019, individuals recognised as refugees or beneficiaries of international protection were granted a 3-year residence permit, which could be renewed, after a decision of the Head of the Regional Asylum Office.[1] However, following the entry into force of the new IPA on 1 January 2020, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection will no longer have the right to receive a 3-year permit. They will obtain a 1-year residence permit, renewable for a period of 2 years.[2]

Residence permits are usually delivered at least 4-5 months after the communication of the positive decision and the submission of the special ID decision (Απόφαση ΑΔΕΤ) and photos to the Aliens Police Directorate (Διεύθυνση Αλλοδαπών). It’s up to the beneficiaries of international protection to submit this documentation to the Aliens Police Directorate as soon as possible for the procedure to start. Until the issuance of the residence permits, applicants hold the asylum seeker card, stamped with the mention “Pending Residence Permit”.[3]

An application for renewal should be submitted no later than 30 calendar days before the expiry of the residence permit. The mere delay in the application for renewal, without any justification, cannot lead to the rejection of the application.[4] However, following the entry into force of the IPA, this is valid only for recognized refugees, as the new law abolished the said guarantee for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.[5]

Since 2017, the application for renewal is submitted via email to the Asylum Service.[6] The renewal decision is notified to the applicant only via email. Accordingly, bearing in mind that legal aid is not provided at this stage, technologically illiterate beneficiaries of international protection can face obstacles while applying for the renewal of their permit.

The renewal procedure lasts approximately 1,5 months on average.[7] However, as far as GCR is aware, longer waiting periods are observed in a number of cases, which can reach 6 months in practice due to high number of applicants. During this procedure the Legal Unit of the Asylum Service processes criminal record checks on the beneficiaries of international protection, which may lead to the Withdrawal of their protection status. Pending the issuance of a new residence permit, beneficiaries of international protection are granted a certificate of application (βεβαίωση κατάστασης αιτήματος) which is valid for four months. In practice, beneficiaries whose residence permit has expired and who hold this document while awaiting the renewal of their residence permit have faced obstacles in accessing services such as social welfare. As far as GCR is concerned, public services such as the Manpower Employment Organization (OAED), are reluctant to accept this certificate of application (βεβαίωση κατάστασης αιτήματος), because the document lacks a photo or a watermark and any relevant legal provisions allowing the document to be accepted. 

In 2019, the Asylum Service received 1,171 applications for renewal (980 from recognized refugees, 134 from beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and 57 from family members of beneficiaries of international protection). The Service issued 983 positive renewal decisions.[8]

For those granted international protection under the “old procedure” prescribed by PD 114/2010, the renewal procedure is conducted by the Aliens Police Directorate (Διεύθυνση Αλλοδαπών). Within the framework of this procedure, the drafting of a legal document for the renewal application is required. The decision used to be issued after a period of approximately 3-6 months.[9] In practice, since January 2019 very few decisions have been issued. At first the delay was due to the resignation of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Citizen Protection. Then the delay was caused by the multiple election procedures and the final reason was the size of the administrative files of beneficiaries. Due to these delays, a large number of beneficiaries of international protection, for over a year, have no access to the labour market, social security, social welfare and sometimes healthcare, thus facing destitution and homelessness. In January 2020, GCR and other organizations sent a letter of complaint to the Secretary General of the Ministry of Citizen Protection, but the issue has yet to be resolved. Information with regards the number of applications for renewal submitted before the Aliens Police Directorate and their outcome are not available for 2019.

[1]  Article 24 PD 141/2013. 

[2]  Article 24 (1) 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:

[4] Article 24(1) 24 PD 141/2013. 

[5]Article 24(1) L. 4636/2019(IPA).

[6] Asylum Service, Residence permit – Renewal, available at:

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

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

[9]  Generation 2.0, ‘Καθυστερήσεις στις Άδειες Διαμονής | Δελτίο Τύπου’, 3 January 2018, available in Greek at:


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