Asylum Service

The Asylum Service was established under Law no. 3907/2011. It is the first autonomous institution in our country that is in charge of the examination of international protection claims.

The objective of the Asylum Service is to apply national legislation and to abide by the country’s international obligations regarding the recognition of refugee status and, more generally, the granting of international protection to aliens who have fled their country due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, and who are unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country. To this purpose, the law provides that the Asylum Service receives, examines and decides on all applications for international protection lodged in Greece. The Asylum Service also contributes to the formulation of Greek policy on international protection and cooperates with international organisations and the European Union institutions in the areas of its remit.

The Asylum Service is composed of the Central Administration and the Regional Asylum Offices and asylum units. The Central Administration plans, directs, monitors and controls the actions of the Regional Asylum Offices and Αsylum Units throughout the country and ensures the necessary conditions for the pursuance of their activities.

The Asylum Service also provides administrative support to the Appeals Authority, which was established by the same law and examines appeals against negative decisions on applications for international protection.

The Asylum Service is an autonomous body reporting directly to the Minister of Migration Policy; it is headed by a Director appointed by the Minister of Migration Policy, following a public call of interest, for a three-year term.

Since 4 February 2012, Ms. Maria Stavropoulou has been serving as Director of the Asylum Service.

Brief Biographical Note

Ms. Maria Stavropoulou is a lawyer working on migration and refugee issues since 1990. From 1993 until 2011 she worked for the United Nations in Athens, Geneva, New York and other countries. Until August 2011, she was working as senior regional protection officer at UNHCR’s Regional Representation in Rome. She has taught on asylum and refugee issues at the National Center for Public Administration of Greece, the National School of Judges and the Police Academy.

Ms. Stavropoulou has an LL.M. degree on human rights and asylum from Harvard Law School and an LL.M. degree on European Law from University College London. She is a graduate of the University of Athens Law School. She speaks English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. Ms. Stavropoulou has a daughter.