The Rumour: “I heard that if anyone asks for a voluntary return, this would prevent him (or her) from entering Europe for the coming five years.”
In Fact: Greek Police told NTM that if you are accepted to the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) program, and returned to your country of origin within the deadline of your return decision, then you are able to travel back to Europe, as long as you own a valid national passport, a visa and fulfill other legal formalities.
However you may be prevented to come back to Greece, or to other EU countries (in the Schengen zone) if any of these apply to you:
- you did not leave the country within the deadline written in the return decision;
- you committed a serious criminal offence in Greece;
- you are considered a threat to public order and security
The duration of this prohibition can not exceed 5 years, unless in the return decision there is imposed a longer period of five years.
Through the AVRR program, IOM helps migrants go back to their country of origin or of usual residence, if it is safe to do so.
IOM said that countries in the war zone such as Syria, Yemen and Palestine, currently are definitely not included among countries of voluntary return, due to safety reasons.
This list is updated according to the security conditions of each country.
For more information: