What is a police note (Kharti)?

A police note (or also unofficially called Kharti) is a document issued to third-country nationals that have illegally entered Greece by the police, after being arrested. It normally is a notice that you have to leave the country in a certain amount of time. But as long as the police note is valid, you can not be arrested or deported to your country of origin. The police note is normally valid between 1 month and 6 months, depending on your nationality.

What rights do I have, if I have a police note?

As already said before, you can not be arrested or deported as long as your police note is valid. In case you want to apply for asylum, the police note gives you some time to be able to do that. But you will not be able to work or to receive an AMKA (Greek Social Security Number) or an AFM (Greek Tax Number) with the police note.

How can I get a police note?

You will be issued a police note, after you have been arrested and detained for illegal entrance into Greek territory. If you get detained for illegal entry for the first time, the detention is normally between one and three days. After you are released you are provided with a police note. Some people also chose to actively go to the Greek Foreigners Police (“αλλοδαπων”), who is responsible to issue police notes. Please be aware that you will be held in detention for some days and that also sometimes (especially in Thessaloniki and Athens) sometimes the Foreigners Police refuses to issue police notes.

Do I need a police note to apply for asylum?

No, by law you don’t. Everybody can apply for asylum and a police note is not a requirement to do it. If you want to apply for asylum, you could instead of requesting a police note from the Foreigners Police, directly try to approach the Greek Asylum Service and ask for an appointment to register your asylum claim. This can be done either via Skype or by going to the responsible Regional Asylum Office. Please be aware, that we have sometimes in the past seen, that a police note was requested to get an appointment for registration.

What happens if the police finds me without legal document allowing me to stay in Greece?

If the police finds you without a document allowing you to stay in Greece, you will most likely be arrested and put in detention. If you want to apply for asylum in Greece, you should try to communicate this to the police in case you get arrested. We have created a letter in Greek, stating your wish to apply for asylum. You can find it here. Please note that even with the letter you might not be successful in applying for asylum with the police.

What happens after I'm released from detention?

After you are released from detention, the police will issue you a police note or Kharti. This note from the police can have different meanings and different expiration dates depending on your situation. During your detention, if you successfully communicated to the police that you want to apply for asylum in Greece, you might be issued a special type of the police note. This police note allows you to register your asylum claim without calling Skype, by presenting yourself directly to the Regional Asylum Service. This type of police note can be recognized by a specific number written on the top left part of the document. This is the "willingness number", in Greek “Αριθμός Βούλησης Ασύλου“. You can find instructions on how to recognize this special police note here. 

What should I do if I have a police note with a willingness number?

If you have a Kharti with a willingness number, go directly to the Regional Asylum Office that is responsible for you and show your police note at the door. It is still possible that they will not let you in, because they don't have the capacity to register you on that day. Please try it again then the next day. If you have failed repeatedly and you are in the area of Thessaloniki you can contact us on Facebook or on our whatsapp hotline: +30 695 538 8283. If you are elsewhere in Greece please contact a legal NGO. Keep in mind, that a willingness number can last several months longer than the expiration date of the Kharti. You should not be detained if found with this expired Kharti until the willingness number expires itself (there is no clearly defined expiration date for it) and therefore there is no need to renew the Kharti.

What can I do if I have a police note without a willingness number?

If your police note doesn't have a willingness number, you must likely need to call Skype. For more instructions on how to call Skype, please click here. If you are really vulnerable, there is a chance that you can bypass Skype by getting in contact with a legal NGO or with the Mobile Info Team.