What is temporary protection? 

Temporary protection is an exceptional procedure activated in the event of the arrival of a large number of persons from a specific country who had to leave their country of origin because of armed conflict, are at serious risk or have been victims of human rights violations and are unable to return to their country of origin. It is a short of immediate protection to such persons, in particular if there is also a risk that the asylum system will be unable to process this influx without adverse effects for its efficient operation, in the interests of the persons concerned and other persons requesting protection.

Who is eligible? 

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Council of the European Union decided that temporary protection should be applied to the following categories of persons, provided that they arrived in Greece from 26 November 2021 and onwards:

  • Ukrainian nationals residing in Ukraine before 26 November 2021
  • Stateless persons and nationals of third countries other than Ukraine who benefited from international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine before 26 November 2021
  • Family members of the persons mentioned above

Family members are considered the following:

  • Spouse or unmarried partner in a stable relationship duly proven
  • Minor unmarried children of a person eligible for temporary protection of their spouse, without distinction as to whether they were born in or out of wedlock or adopted
  • Other close relatives who lived together as part of the family unit at the time of the circumstances surrounding the mass influx of displaced persons and who were wholly or mainly dependent on the person eligible for temporary protection

Duration of temporary protection

According to the latest ministerial decision, temporary protection is valid at least until 4 March 2025 and might be extended depending on the situation in Ukraine. Please note that if the Council of Europe estimates that the situation in Ukraine is such as to permit the safe and durable return of displaced persons, temporary protection might come to an end.

You can download the relevant decisions in Greek and in English

When and how can I apply for temporary protection? 

You should apply for temporary protection within 90 days of your arrival, but there are no consequences if you do not submit your application within this timeframe. Asylum Service is responsible for registering applicants for temporary protection.

You can submit your application online via the online platform of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum by filling in your personal details to schedule an appointment for full registration in one of the Regional Offices of the Asylum Service:

Once you have finalized your application, an appointment will be scheduled for you soon so that you can get to the registration point you selected. You will receive your appointment details by email. The appointment is standard for all the persons included in the application.

In case you want to reschedule your appointment, you can send an email to tp-support@migration.gov.gr.

How can I renew my card?

Temporary protection cards are not renewed by the Asylum Service, as there is no provision for their replacement with new cards that indicate the extension of the validity period. If you face challenges accessing services or enjoying rights due to the indicated expiry date on your card, you can directly contact the Asylum Service at ukraine@migration.gov.gr or tp-support@migration.gov.gr to raise the issue. 

How can I replace my card in case of loss or damage?

The Migration Service can now issue new Temporary Protection cards to replace the lost ones. (Previously, they only provided a paper certificate certifying the temporary protection status and its validity). In case you lose your card, you can replace it and get a new one. 

You will need the following documents:

  • Obtain a certificate from the police about the loss/stealing of the card.
  • Send an email to tp-support@migration.gr and request an appointment.
  • Attend the appointment at the appointed time with your passport and police certificate.

The validity period indicated on the newly issued card is March 4, 2025.

If your temporary protection card is damaged, email tp-support@migration.gov.gr, saying that you need to replace your card and which Asylum Office is responsible for your case. The competent Asylum Service will contact you to set an appointment to get the new card.

🔗 Please also check our relevant article:: Lost, damaged or expired documents.

Can an application for temporary protection be submitted from Ukraine before the person enters Greece?

No. The application and performance of the temporary protection status are implemented only after entering Greece, exclusively by the person and not through a representative or an authorized person.

Will my Ukrainian passport be kept in the Asylum Service when I apply for temporary protection? Will I be issued a travel document? 

No. The Asylum Service will not keep your passport when issuing you the temporary protection card, nor will you be issued another travel document.

What are my rights as a beneficiary of temporary protection? 

  • Residence permit for the entire duration of protection
  • Right to family unity
  • Access to employment
  • Access to housing
  • Access to social welfare
  • Access to medical care
  • Access to education for persons under 18 years in the state education system
  • Access to banking services, such as opening a basic bank account
  • Ability to move to another EU country before the issuance of a residence permit
  • Freedom to move freely in EU countries (other than the Member State of residence) for 90 days within 180 days after a residence permit in the host EU country is issued

Is temporary protection only valid in Greece?

Yes. Once you receive temporary protection from Greece, the rights derived from temporary protection are valid only here. You can only benefit from temporary protection only in one EU Member State at a time. 

In case you decide that you would like to move to another EU country, you have the right to do so, but in that case, you will no longer have the benefits of the beneficiary of temporary protection in Greece, as the new host EU country should give you temporary protection and issue a new residence permit. You must inform the Greek authorities that you intend to move to another Member State.

Can I travel to other EU countries?

Yes, you have the right to travel freely to other countries within the EU for 90 days within 180 days. 

Can I apply for asylum? 

Ukrainian and third-country nationals, or stateless people not included in the categories listed above as eligible for temporary protection, can apply for international protection (asylum) in Greece (e.g. they arrived in Greece before November 26 2021, or have not been living in Ukraine before February 24 2022).

If you are a beneficiary of temporary protection, you can also apply for international protection at any point you wish to without having temporary protection withdrawn. The benefits of temporary protection are independent of the benefits of international protection during the examination of the asylum application. If your asylum application is rejected, you continue to benefit from temporary protection until it ends. 

See below the differences between Temporary Protection and International Protection (asylum):

Temporary ProtectionAsylum (International Protection)

You don’t have to prove that Ukraine is unsafe for you. Temporary protection is granted automatically, provided that you belong to one of the categories of persons listed above.

 

You must prove you face persecution or fear persecution because of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. You will have an interview with the asylum service to explain why you, on a personal basis, will be persecuted if you go back to Ukraine. Therefore, if you benefit from temporary protection, that does not mean that you will be granted international protection.
Minimum administrative formalities.Complex and lengthy procedure.
Once the Council of European Union estimates that the situation in Ukraine is safe, the temporary protection will come to an end.

If you are granted refugee status, you will receive a residence permit for a 3-year duration, which might be renewed if the reasons why you have been given this protection still exist.

You can keep and use your national passport and travel to your country of origin.

If you are granted refugee status, you can obtain a travel document, as you must hand over your national passport to the Greek authorities. Please note that you are not allowed to travel as a refugee to your country of origin, as doing so might result in the revocation of your refugee status. 

What is the procedure for unaccompanied minors? 

If you are a minor (up to 18 years old) and travelling alone (unaccompanied minor), there is a special mechanism for your protection and support called the National Mechanism for Tracing and Protection of Unaccompanied Minors of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum. They will transfer you to special emergency accommodation structures for the identification procedure (if necessary) and a legal guardian will be appointed for you.

For more information, you call the line at any time (+30 2132128888) or send an email to ssuam.tracing@migration.gov.gr

🔗 Please also check our article People under 18 traveling alone

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