Second Instance Procedure
Important Points in the Second Instance Procedure
The procedure before the Independent Appeals Committees (articles 92-107 of Law 4636/2019) on "international protection and other provisions” (Government Gazette 169/A/1-11-2019) constitutes the second degree of administrative examination of applications for international protection. It ensures the right guaranteed by article 46 of Directive 2013/32/EU on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection,"an effective remedy before a court or a tribunal.” It is completed with the issuance of a decision within specific time limits that do not exceed thirty (30) days from the discussion of the case (article 101, 4636/2019) with the exception of the appeals that are examined in the context of the border procedure, in which the decision must be issued within seven (7) days from the discussion of the appeal (article 90, par. 3 item. c of Law 4636/2019).
The operation of the Independent Appeals Committees is regulated by the Appeals Authority’s Rules of Procedure (Ministerial Decision 26750/22.10.2020 - Government Gazette Issue Β’ sheet 4852).
The Independent Appeals Committee necessarily summons the applicant to an oral hearing in the following cases:
- the appeal is against a decision withdrawing international protection
- issues or doubts are raised relating to the completeness of the applicant’s interview at first instance
- the appellant has submitted substantial new evidence involving belated claims (article 97 par. 3 of Law 4636/2019).
When an oral hearing is conducted, the Appeals Authority shall summon the appellant to appear before the competent Independent Appeals Committee.
Applicants shall be notified no later than ten (10) business days prior to the hearing, in a language they are capable of understanding, of the date and place of the hearing, as well as of their right to appear before the Authority in person or with authorized attorneys or other counselors, in order to present their arguments and provide any necessary clarifications, with the assistance of an interpreter (article 97 par. 4 of Law 4636/2019).
Applicants may submit a legal note developing the claims made in the appeal no later than three (3) days prior to the examination of the appeal. This legal note can be used to present delayed claims. Applicants may also provide evidence for their claims within the same time limit. Exceptionally, if the border procedure is applied (article 90 of Law 4636/2019) applicants may file a legal note until the day before the examination of the appeal (article 99 of Law 4636/2019). The legal note and the additional documents are submitted in person to the Central Secreteriate of the Appeals Authority, or sent via e-mail in PDF or WORD file format up to 3.5 MB to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The examination of an appeal shall be postponed:
- if the applicant who is not present has not been lawfully summoned; or
- if requested by the applicant, who, although present, has not been lawfully summoned.
Applicants, who are present, or their authorized attorneys, may request the postponement of the examination only once, and only for material cause, if the ground is proved on the spot. Postponed cases shall be examined at the next hearing date and the date shall be announced to applicants or their authorized attorneys. The new examination date shall not require the re-notification of applicants or their authorized attorneys (article 98 of Law 4636/2019).
The decision of the Independent Appeals Committees on whether the third-country national or stateless person be granted refugee or subsidiary protection status is final (article 63 point (a) of Law 4636/2019).
- The decision rejecting an application, shall also order the return of applicants and set for this purpose a deadline for voluntary departure pursuant the provisions of Law 3907/2011. If return is prohibited for the reasons provided by Law (article 41 of Law 3907/2011) Independent Appeals Committees shall grant a certificate of non-return for humanitarian reasons to applicants, (article 104 par. 4 of Law 4636/2019, and article 24 of Law 3907/2011). The request for postponement of return must be submitted to the Appeals Committees before the decision is issued. The power to grant postponement of return by the Appeals Committees is exercised once. This means that requests for extension of postponement of return are examined by the authorities responsible for the enforcement of the return decision, i.e. Hellenic Police, and not by the Appeals Committees.
Beneficiaries of international protection are entitled to certain rights (education, housing, healthcare, social security and social assistance). For more information please visit the site of the Asylum Service.
Commencement of the deadline for voluntary departure and the filing of an application for annulment against the decision (articles 108 and 109, of Law Law 4636/2019), removal-deactivation of Asylum Seeker Card and Temporary Social Security and Medical Care Number resulting in loss of access to the labor market and healthcare services.
Applicants for international protection may lodge an application for annulment of a second instance decision of the Appeals Committees solely before the Administrative Court of First Instance having territorial jurisdiction (article 108 of Law 4636/2019).
Applicants may stay in the territory of the Country and are granted withholding of removal during the prescribed period for lodging an appeal and until the decision on the application is served to them and are protected from return. The lodging of the appeal does not have automatic suspensive effect in all cases of asylum seekers (article 104 of Law 4636/2019). Exceptions to the above rule are provided in article 104 par. 2 of Law 4636/2019.
After the rejection of the application, asylum seekers do not have the right to stay in the country, but are protected from deportation, readmission or refoulment until the service of the decision rejecting the application (article 92 par.3 of Law 4636/2019). Asylum seekers are also protected from removal in the following cases:
1) throughout the deadline for voluntary departure set by the decision rejecting the application, which can be extended up to one (1) year (article 22 of Law 3907/2011), subject to what is defined in article 22 par. 4 of Law 3907/2011 for the cases in which it is provided that a deadline may not be granted, and
2) throughout the postponement of removal ordered by the decision rejecting the application (article 104 par. 4 of Law 4636/2019, and article 24 of Law 3907/2011) when the return is prohibited for reasons provided (article 41 of Law 3907/2011).
If applicants wish to change their personal details during the examination of the appeal, the details are modified by decision of the competent Independent Appeals Committee (article 79 par. 6 of Law 4636/2019). In case there is a need for modification of personal details after the issuance of the final decision rejecting the application for international protection, the modification can be made by decision of the Administrative Director of the Appeals Authority (article 12 of Law 4686/2020). The application and the necessary supporting documents [original or certified copies of Passport, National Identity Card or Certificate issued by the competent Foreign Authority of the country of origin (Consulate or Embassy)] are submitted in person to the Central Secreteriate of the Appeals Authority, or sent via e-mail in PDF or WORD file format up to 3.5 MB to the following address: email@example.com.
Applicants and their authorized attorneys have access to information of their files, on the basis of which the decision is adopted or will be adopted (article 71 par. 4, of Law 4636/2019) subject to article 69, par. 6, third indent of the same law. The request is submitted in person to the Central Secretariat of the Appeals Authority, or sent via e-mail to: Central Secreteriate of the Appeals Authority, or sent via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants or their authorized attorneys may file a request for expedition of the examination procedure of the appeal which is considered by the Appeals Authority. Similarly, the above may submit a request for the expedited issuance of a decision, which is considered by the competent Independent Appeals Committee. The application form is submitted in person to the Central Secreteriate of the Appeals Authority, or sent via e-mail to: email@example.com.
Applicants or their authorized attorneys may file a request for a certificate of application status in order to be informed about the stage of the examination of their appeal. The application is submitted in person to the Central Secreteriate of the Appeals Authority, or sent via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.