Frequently asked questions

It mainly depends on the fact if the applicant possesses a valid travel document. If so, the whole procedure usually takes about 2 weeks.

If the applicant does not possess a valid travel document, IOM will ask the embassy in question for issuance of a substitute travel document (STD). The time it takes to issue STD is very individual and depends on the embassy and available documents proving the applicant’s identity.

Generally speaking, issuing of a substitute travel document (STD) prolongs the whole procedure of return. In case the applicant possesses at least one valid personal document (e.g. a birth certificate, ID, driver’s licence or at least copy of any of these documents; or even an invalid travel document or a copy of it) based on which s/he can be reliably identified, IOM will ask the embassy/consular office in question for issuing of STD. If the applicant does not possess any document proving his/her identity, it takes longer to issue the STD and check the person’s identity.

Yes, it can. After registering the applicant in the Programme IOM contacts the Office of Border and Alien Police of MoI and asks for their approval of the return. In case it is not in the interest of the Office of Border and Alien Police of MoI for the migrant to leave the country, this request will be denied. The reason for this denial might be an ongoing court trial, a law violation and similarly.

Issuing of travel documents and buying of plane tickets is coordinated by IOM. Migrant will obtain his/her travel document and plane ticket on the day of departure at the airport.

With the AVRR Programme of IOM the migrant can return only to his/her country of origin, or to a country of his/her citizenship. One of the conditions of the Programme that the migrant signs and with his/her signature shows understanding of is that s/he cannot remain or settle down in a different country than that of his/her origin. Settling down in a so-called ‘third country’ is possible provided that the migrant has a permission to stay in a different country or is a national of two countries.

If the migrant asks for this assistance in the registration form, IOM will provide him/her with reception asssistance at the airport. IOM does not inform any institutions in country of origin about the migrant’s return.

IOM does not play any role in the asylum procedure and cannot help the migrant in this respect.

As of 2009 applicants for a voluntary return are eligible for a financial grant from a project supported by the European Return Fund and the Ministry of Interior of Slovakia.

Submission of precise and truthful information is essential for timely verification of the migrant’s identity. Manipulation or refusal to disclose personal data or changing of identity leads to prolonging of the verification procedure and delays in issuing of emergency travel documents. In case of a failure to verify the migrant’s identity, emergency travel documents cannot be issued and s/he cannot be returned to country of origin.

Is a passport copy sufficient to issue new travel documents?

Migrants who need transit visa to return to country of origin are assisted by IOM in their communication with the concerned embassy. A prerequisite for obtaining this visa are valid travel documents.

According to article 4 of the Slovak law no. 480/2002 on asylum a child born on the territory of Slovakia to a mother who is an asylum seeker or who was granted asylum is considered to be an asylum seeker. Legal representative of the child born on the territory of Slovakia is obliged to provide ministry employee in charge of the case with correct and complete information needed to rule on asylum within 180 days after the child was born. A child born to a migrant woman on the territory of Slovakia is not automatically granted Slovak citizenship. The child is issued a birth certificate indicating its name provided by the mother or legal representative. Complications might occur in cases when the mother (or parents) does not disclose her real name, or real name of the child. After determining the true identity of the mother (or parents) it is necessary to change the child’s birth certificate by submitting a request for this at the respective registrar’s office and to verify this by an original document proving mother’s identity. Otherwise it is not possible to return the child together with its mother. When applying for and issuing of travel documents it is necessary to write the child’s name in its parents‘ travel documents together with their photo (and photo of the new-born).

IOM will ask for a medical examination and opinion. If this demonstrates that the applicant is able of independent thinking, registration in the Programme is accepted. Otherwise IOM will decline the application.

According to article 6 of the Slovak law no. 480/2002 an interview with a minor can be conducted only in presence of his/her legal representative or guardian. IOM will provide escort to the minor to country of origin where s/he is handed over to his/her parents or legal representatives.

Every adult member of family, including children above 18 years of age obtains a separate registration form. Children under 18 years of age are included in the form of one of the parents and both parents have to sign the final declaration confirming the voluntariness of the return (last page of the form). Parents decide between themselves in whose form children will be included. To avoid any mistakes the form is fufilled by IOM worker or by MoI facility worker. If necessary, an interpreter of the same gender as that of the applicant can be present.

In case the number of gaps is not enough, another sheet of the second sheet of the registration form will be inserted in the form.

The majority of states requires for children to be included in their parents’ passports or emergency travel documents. In case children are not included in these documents, IOM will ask the embassy in question to additionally include children in these passports. Embassies need children’s photos and birth certificates to verify their identity and issue emergency travel documents.

Registration forms are filled out by an IOM worker or by social worker in presence of the migrant and interpreter if needed. Forms are to be fulfilled in the Latin alphabet in the Slovak or English language. The applicant signs the declaration about the voluntariness of his/her return, or makes a sign on this declaration. Registration forms are available in 12 language versions. The applicant signs the final declaration in his/her mother tongue or in a language s/he understands.

The AVRR Programme is based on the principle of voluntariness and thus it is possible to stop the return process at any stage if the applicant voluntarily decides to do so. The migrant can apply for a voluntary return again after that.

Within the framework of Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme a migrant can return to country of origin or other third country only once.

Yes, they can. Stay in MoI facilities is not a condition for registration in the Programme. The condition for this registration is migrant’s status on the territory of Slovakia. IOM can organize voluntary return of asylum seekers and irregular migrants.

Health condition of a migrant indicating some health problems must be examined by a doctor. Health condition of a person who has been medically treated for a longer period of time must be approved of by a doctor. Moreover, a doctor must provide an official confirmation stating that the migrant is capable of undertaking the travel.

The AVRR Programme is opened for persons whose persecution was stopped or who already served his/her time in prison and who consider voluntary return to country of origin.

IOM uses air transport for safety reasons. In case of health problems or other complications other means of transport can be agreed on. Approving of other means of transport is subject to examination of the facts.

IOM informs the police or other government institutions in country of origin neither about the return of their national nor about the fact that s/he applied for asylum in Slovakia. Migrant is returning to country of origin as a tourist. For better coordination and safety of the migrant, respective police department will provide for transport of the migrant from MoI facilities to the airport where an IOM Bratislava worker will wait for him/her

All the steps taken to organize the return are taken individually and on a case-to-case basis. IOM recommends to every applicant for voluntary return to country of origin not to withdraw his/her asylum application before prior consultation with an IOM worker. Usually, it is recommended to withdraw this application as soon as IOM has a valid travel document of the applicant seeking a return to country of origin.

It is required to abide by the new rules for travellers related to safety controls whose aim is to enhance the protection of travellers against terrorism threats.

These rules relate to all EU outbound flights regardless of country of destination. In Economy class the maximum check-in luggage allowed is 20 kg per person, maximum hand luggage is 6 kg per person including personal items such as a purse, umbrella, clothes, etc. In case the luggage limit is exceeded, a fee for excess luggage will be charged. It is essential to bear in mind that IOM does not pay for excess luggage. It is thus in the interest of the passenger to weigh his/her luggage before departure to the airport. It is forbidden to carry pointed/edged or sharp objects (such as weapons or replicas of weapons, knives, razors, scissors, corkscrews, tweezers, files, etc.) in the cabin luggage. These objects will be confiscated at security check. If the passenger is transporting sharp objects, it is necessary to place them in the check-in luggage. There are very strict rules relating to liquids. The following are considered as liquids: water, soups, syrups, creams, lotions and oils, perfumes, tooth pastes, etc. Passenger can take on board only a limited volume of liquids. The maximum volume of one packaging is 100 ml (1 dl). Passengers must have this package wrapped in a transparent closable bag with the maximum volume of one litre. An exemption from this rule are medicaments, nourishment for infants or other liquids intended for on-plane consumption if health condition of the passenger requires so. In this case the passenger must provide a doctor’s report or recommendation, or by other means prove the necessity of taking those liquids. If the health condition or other circumstances do not require the transport of liquids in the hand luggage, it is necessary to place them in the check-in luggage.

Yes, it can do so provided there is an IOM office in the given country. The traveller is always informed about this. IOM worker of the transit country waits for the migrant at the transit country airport and provides assistance when changing flights. IOM worker identifies the migrant based on the IOM bag that the migrant needs to hold on a visible place.

IOM covers expenses incurred by medical examination or basic treatment which is necessary for a successful return to country of origin. This is related mostly to cases with grounded suspicion of a mental disorder of the migrant, or other severe disease which might complicate the return or render it impossible.

Emergency travel document is of a limited time validity and serves only for the purpose of return to country of origin. It is not possible to use this document for a different purpose.

In case of an illiterate migrant, s/he applies for registration verbally in the presence of a third person. IOM worker will fill out the registration form and the applicant will make a sign in the space allocated for signature.

Success stories

Films - Stories of migrants


Voluntary Return and Reintegration in Country of Origin (Individual Project).

This project is co-funded by the European Union from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). Internal Security Fund.

Assisted Voluntary Returns and Reintegrations
International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Slovakia