Delays in the renewal of Residence Permits

The Greek Asylum Service has confirmed to Refugee.Info that the process of renewing Residence Permits is taking longer than expected — sometimes more than 6 months.

Lots of people are now left with expired Residence Permits, which they can’t use to access public services like unemployment offices and Citizen Service Centers (KEPs).

How to renew your Residence Permit

As lots of Residence Permits expired in 2017, the Greek Asylum Service asked permit holders to renew them through an online procedure.

You can find the guidelines on how to renew your Residence Permit in English here.

Some people manage to get a renewed Residence Permit within a month or two. For others, the process takes much longer.

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When and why delays happen

The Greek Asylum Service explained to Refugee.Info that current delays are due to heavy administrative workloads and a long backlog, especially at the Regional Asylum Office for Attica.

For each Residence Permit renewal application they receive, staff members need to consult several other authorities, including the police and the Ministry of Administrative Reconciliation, the Asylum Service said.

“For a large number of cases, police authorities need to run an international criminal record check, which takes time,” a Greek Asylum Service official said.

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What to do if your Residence Permit has expired

If your Residence Permit has expired and you still haven’t received a new one:

  • Go to the regional Asylum Service office before your Residence Permit expires.
  • The Greek Asylum Service will issue an interim certificate, valid for 2 months.
  • The certificate states that your Residence Permit renewal is pending.
  • Depending on the Greek Asylum Service’s workload, you may receive this certificate immediately, or you will be asked to come back a few days later to pick it up.
  • To use the certificate, keep it with your expired Residence Permit and show both any time you visit a public service provider or need to provide ID.

What if the interim certificate also expires?

If more than 2 months have passed and you still haven’t received your new Residence Permit, you need to go back to the Regional Asylum Service in person and ask what has caused the delay.

Depending on the case, the Greek Asylum Service may issue you a new certificate stating that your Residence Permit renewal is pending. This certificate will be valid for 2 months.

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Are public authorities accepting the interim certificate and an expired Residence Permit?

Maybe. There is still a lot of confusion about this at Greek public services.

The Greek Asylum Service has received lots of complaints from refugees and organizations reporting that staff at the Greek Unemployment Authority (OAED) and the Citizen Service Centers (KEPs) are refusing to accept the certificate.

In response to a letter from the organization Generation 2.0, the Greek Asylum Service, sent a letter to the 2 Greek ministries that are responsible for OAED and KEP offices, asking them to accept the interim certificate as valid.

The 2 ministries haven’t send any official guidance to OAED and KEP officers yet, OAED and KEP offices in Athens confirmed.

Greek Asylum officials told Refugee.Info that they still haven’t received any confirmation from the ministries that all OAED and KEP offices will accept the certificates.