Withdrawal of protection status


Country Report: Withdrawal of protection status Last updated: 08/06/23


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Withdrawal of refugee status is provided under Article 13 of the Asylum Code, where the person:

  • Ceases to be a refugee according to Article 10 of the Asylum Code
  • Should have been excluded from refugee status according to Article 11 of the IPA;
  • The use of false or withheld information, including the use of false documents, was decisive in the grant of refugee status;
  • Is reasonably considered to represent a threat to national security; or
  • Constitutes a threat to society following a final conviction for a particularly serious crime.

The Asylum Service issued a Circular on 26 January 2018, detailing the application of the ground relating to threat to society following a final conviction for a particularly serious crime.[1]

According to the practice followed since the mid-2020, the Police arbitrarily places beneficiaries of international protection under administrative detention on public order grounds and then asks the Asylum Service to revoke their status on the grounds that they face criminal charges, regardless of the nature and the stage of the attributed illegal act. Thus, recognised refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection remain arbitrarily detained until the Asylum Service finally replies to the Police if there are grounds to examine the revocation of the status of international protection. However, the detention of beneficiaries of international protection is illegal as it is not prescribed within the national legislation (See: General).

It is noted that in case of revocation, individuals have the right to submit an administrative appeal within 30 days and in case of rejection, they may lodge an Application for Annulment before the competent Administrative Court within 30 days. Moreover, according to article 97 (2) Asylum Code, if an appeal is submitted against a decision of revocation of Article 13 of Asylum Code the residence permit is returned to the appellant.

Moreover, in December 2020, the Appeals Committee started scheduling the examination of appeals submitted in the years 2016-2018 against decisions of revocation issued by the Hellenic Police in the framework of the so called “old procedure”. It is noted that those individuals have no access to the labour market or national health care system since their residence permits were revoked. GCR has filed a complaint to the Greek Ombudsman for two similar cases of status revocation within the old procedure.

In 2017, a stateless refugee applied for the renewal of her residence permit. A year later, in 2018, a non-renewal decision / revocation was issued. The rejection decision mentioned that she had 3 forgery convictions (she had only one conviction that she had already mentioned in the interview and the others concerned other people with different father and mother names , and her own criminal record did not even mention them). GCR filed an appeal in 2018 and continued to support the case. Three years later, in May 2021, the appeal was finally examined. The 11th Committee accepted GCR’s appeal and annulled the decision of the Hellenic Police Headquarters issuing a positive decision through protocol nr. 118468/9.7.2021. According to the decision, ‘The present Committee does not ignore the inaccurate statements about the number of convictions, however, in view of the applicant’s educational level and fragile mental health at the relevant time, it concludes that these inaccuracies are due to a misunderstanding’. All in all, ‘the nature and gravity of the offenses committed by the applicant in conjunction with her personality do not in any way constitute a danger to society as a whole’. The Committee did not recognise the wrongful decision of the Police Headquarters, annulling the decisions for completely other reasons. The decision had no retroactive effect and left a four-year gap in her residence permit, not allowing her to apply for the Greek citizenship through the naturalisation procedure since her stay in the country is not considered legal and permanent for the years 2017-2021[2].

Moreover, in November 2020, a recognised refugee submitted an application for the renewal of his residence permit under the so-called ‘old procedure’ examined by the Headquarters of the Hellenic Police. In April 2021, a decision was issued not to renew his residence permit, as it was considered that the paramilitary group that is his persecuting body is no longer so dangerous, despite the fact that for his partner and their two minor children the same persecuting body was considered active and dangerous in a decision issued only 8 days after his decision. In December 2021, his appeal against this afore-mentioned decision was examined by the competent Appeals Committee and he was invited for an oral hearing in May 2022. The positive decision was issued in July 2022 but he was served this decision in November 2022 after numerous interventions by GCR. The decision of the 20th Committee had no retroactive effect and left a two-year gap in his residence permit, not allowing him to apply for the Greek citizenship through the  naturalisation procedure since his stay in the country is not considered legal and permanent for the years 2020-2022. During these two years the refugee had no access to labour market, social security and healthcare. He was dismissed from his job and was not entitled to receive his severance pay which had been deposited with the bank, which asked him for a valid residence permit to access his account.[3]

Under Article 18 of the Asylum Code, subsidiary protection may be withdrawn where it is established that the person should have been excluded or has provided false information, or omitted information, decisive to the grant of protection.

The procedure described in Cessation is applicable to withdrawal cases.

On 12 April 2021, the Asylum Service issued a new circular providing clarifications on the procedure regarding the provision of an opinion on the grounds of exclusion and revocation of the status of international protection prescribed by article 91 IPA, as well as the renewal of residence permits (art. 2 IPA).[4] Μoreover, on 14 February 2022, the Asylum Service issued a new circular providing clarification on the commission of a serious crime and its consequences for granting and withdrawal of international protection status[5]

According to a document presented by the Ministry of Asylum and Migration during parliamentary control on 17 February 2022, the Asylum Service revoked 19 international protection statuses in 2021, out of which 17 concerned refugee status and 2 were subsidiary protection statuses. In 14 out of 19 cases, the international protection status was revoked due to public security reasons.[6] In addition to this, six revocation decisions were issued by the Headquarters of the Hellenic Police (“old procedure”).[7] Furthermore, only 17 decisions of revocation of international protection statuses of the “old procedure” were issued in 2022 according to the Headquarters of the Hellenic Police.[8] However, for 2022 data was not provided by the Asylum Service that is competent for the largest number of beneficiaries of international protection residing in Greece.




[1]  Asylum Service, Circular 1/2018 of 26 January 2018.

[2] Decision 118468/9.7.2021 of the 11th Independent Committee of Appeal, composed of three members.

[3] Decision 387611/4.7.2022 of the 20th Independent Committee of Appeal, composed of three members.

[4] MoMA, 3716/12-4-21, Διευκρινίσεις – ορισμός διαδικασίας σχετικά με την παροχή γνώμης περί συνδρομής ή μη συνδρομής λόγων αποκλεισμού, την ανάκληση καθεστώτος διεθνούς προστασίας του αρ. 91 ν.4636/2019, καθώς και την ανανέωση των αδειών διαμονής του αρ. 24 ν.4636/2019, μετά τη θέση σε ισχύ του ΠΔ 106/2020, available in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3niHX8J.

[5] MoMA, 87206/14.2.2022, Διάπραξη σοβαρού εγκλήματος και οι συνέπειές της στη χορήγηση και ανάκληση του καθεστώτος διεθνούς προστασίας, 14 February 2022, available in Greek at: https://bit.ly/3IeaaYQ.

[6] MoMA, 97157/17.2.2022, Θ Έ Μ Α: Κοινοβουλευτικός Έλεγχος ΣΧΕΤΙΚΆ: Η υπ’ αριθμ. Πρωτ. 2608/24-1-2022 Ερώτηση, 17 February 2022, available in Greek: https://bit.ly/3D4TKPw.

[7] Information provided by the Headquarters of the Hellenic Police, 25 February 2022.

[8] Information provided by the Headquarters of the Hellenic Police, 13 February 2023.

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