Rights and duties of asylum seekers

Applying for asylum in Greece is a process that consists of a series of steps. Refer to the Legal Information page on this site.

As an asylum seeker you have rights and obligations that are defined below.

No matter where you are in the process, you always have the following rights and obligations:

  • You have the right to receive information about your asylum application, rights and duties in a language you understand.
  • You have the right to access basic assistance including shelter, food, legal, medical and psychosocial assistance from UNHCR and other organizations.
  • You are obliged to cooperate fully with the Greek authorities.

After pre-registration

Pre-registration is the first step of registration for asylum in Greece. It happens in person or via Skype. During this process you will be asked for very basic information such as your name, your parents’ names, your date of birth, if you are married, etc. Your photo will also be taken.

At the end of this step you will get an asylum seeker card. This card does not cost any money. The asylum seeker card is not a residence permit. It is a temporary permission that allows you to stay in Greece until the Greek State has made a final decision about your request for asylum.

As soon as you have your document, you have certain rights and duties:

  • You can legally live in Greece until the asylum service has made a final decision on your asylum case. This means you cannot be returned to another country against your will, while you wait for the decision.
  • Children can go to school.
  • You can move freely within Greece after pre-registration, but you are NOT allowed to go to other European countries.
  • The Greek State will provide you with a place to live in a site on the mainland. You will not have to pay any rent there. You cannot choose which site the State offers you. You do not have to live there, if you do not want to.
  • You can get access to primary health care, but for some advanced services you may have to pay a minimal fee.
  • You do NOT have the right to work in Greece.
  • You must respect and follow the law of the country; breaking national laws will result in the suspension of your rights as an asylum seeker.
  • You must cooperate with the authorities who are examining your application.
  • You must tell the asylum office when your address or phone number changes.

After registration

The next step in the process is the complete registration at the Greek Asylum Service.

After you have completed your registration you will have access to the following rights:

  • You have all the rights and duties mentioned above.
  • You have the right for gainful employment in Greece.
  • If you work, you will have to pay national taxes.

You are not permitted to travel to another European country.