IOM’s office in Portugal provides assistance with voluntary return and reintegration through the ARVoRe VI programme. This programme aims to support - in a humane, dignified, and sustainable way - migrants in a vulnerable situation living in Portugal, who wish to return to their country of origin, but do not have the necessary means to afford the journey. The Programme is co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). The Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (ARVoRe VI in Portuguese) is an essential component for a comprehensive migration management in Portugal and it aims to promote
sustainable return and reintegration for migrants who do not have the conditions to remain in Portugal and wish from to return to their country of origin. The ARVoRe VI project success depends on the cooperation and participation of a vast number of stakeholders, namely, migrants, the Portuguese Government, Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service, a network of local partners around the country, National and Local Migrants Support Centres (CLAIM and CNAIM), as well as migrants’ countries of origin. Partnerships formed between IOM and the different national and international stakeholders are fundamental for an effective implementation of the ARVoRe VI programme – from the pre-departure stage to the re-integration.


IOM’s office in Portugal provides assistance with voluntary return and reintegration through the ARVoRe VI programme. This programme aims to support - in a humane, dignified, and sustainable way - migrants in a vulnerable situation living in Portugal, who wish to return to their country of origin, but do not have the necessary means to afford the journey. The Programme is co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). The Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (ARVoRe VI in Portuguese) is an essential component for a comprehensive migration management in Portugal and it aims to promote sustainable return and reintegration for migrants who do not have the conditions to remain in Portugal and wish from to return to their country of origin. The ARVoRe VI project success depends on the cooperation and participation of a vast number of stakeholders, namely, migrants, the Portuguese Government, Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service, a network of local partners around the country, National and Local Migrants Support Centres (CLAIM and CNAIM), as well as migrants’ countries of origin. Partnerships formed between IOM and the different national and international stakeholders are fundamental for an effective implementation of the ARVoRe VI programme – from the pre-departure stage to the re-integration.

In Portugal:
• Awareness-raising for ARVoRe VI;
• Individualized counselling on return and reintegration assistance, including country-of-origin information;
• Specialized assistance and referral services to vulnerable individuals;
• Facilitating travel documentation;
• Travel arrangements until country of origin;
• Arrangement of escorts, if required;
• Airport assistance;

 
In transit:
• Assistance with travel in transit;

In countries of origin:
• Short- and/or medium-term reintegration assistance, including business set-ups, vocational training, formal education, medical assistance and other tailor-made assistance according to the returnees’ special needs;





 



How does it work?

1. Contact us
We understand that choosing to leave Portugal can be a difficult decision to make. If you feel that this is the step to take, IOM’s staff team is here to tell you everything you need to know about the Programme so that you can take an informed and voluntary decision - including the support you can count on during the process and answer any confidential questions you may have.
Counselling at IOM’s office is individual and confidential.
You can contact IOM’s office in Lisbon by phone, email or via our Facebook page.




2. Make your decision
Once you have all the information you need about our services, you can take some time to think about your next step.
It is important that you know that you can change your mind at any stage of the process, even after your registration in the programme.




3. I decided I want to register in the programme
Once you have all the information about the programme and you decide to return to your country of origin, IOM’s support will include:

A flight ticket to your country of origin or a third country in which your admission will be guaranteed;
€50 pocket money to cover any other expenses related to the journey.

You will be able to book your screening interview with IOM Lisbon.
If you do not live in Lisbon, we can refer you to one of our partners, closest to your place of residence. This support network is comprised of more than 60 professionals all over the Portuguese territory, including the Autonomous Regions of Madeira and the Azores.
They are available to receive you and provide you with the necessary information for your registration in the ARVoRe VI programme.




4. I need support once I arrived in my country of origin
Prior to your departure, our staff team will be able to help you to access the information you need for your reintegration in your country of origin. In some instances, and depending on the needs, the ARVoRe VI programme can also provide support to start a small business, or pay for a technical course.
Each support request is assessed and monitored individually, starting with the creation of the Reintegration Personal Plan, and including a follow-up process in country of origin.
The support is variable and can go up to a maximum of €2,000.




5. We provide support on the departure day
Once your registration process has been approved, we will contact you to know if you are ready to travel and book a flight date.
On the flight day, we will be at the airport and we will accompany you during all the boarding procedures – from the check-in all the way to the flight gate.



Who can benefit?
The Programme benefits migrants who need to return to their country of origin but lack the means to do so.

Beneficiaries of IOM’s assistance include:
  • migrants who have no socio-economic means to remain in Portugal

  • individuals whose application for asylum was rejected or withdrawn;

  • stranded migrants;

  • migrants in a vulnerable situation (including victims of trafficking; unaccompanied minors or those with health needs).





Necessary Documents
When registering for the ARVoRe VI programme, you will need to bring the following documents with you to the meeting:


Passport (valid or expired);

Any document showing your filiation (both parents’ names). This is in case your passport does not include filiation information;

Residence Permit (valid or expired). This is in case you ever had a Portuguese Residence Permit;











Any other document that may be relevant (e.g. consulate registration; Fiscal Identity Number – NIF; Social Security Identification Number – NISS; any report attesting a vulnerable situation; travel authorisation – in the case of unaccompanied minors; etc.) . In certain situations, more documents can be required (medical or legal documents, and/or Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service documents).
In the event that you do not hold any identification document, please contact IOM.
I have my family with me, can they also benefit from the ARVoRe VI Programme?
Yes. The Programme supports individual candidates, as well as families. The Programme also provides support to minors - both accompanied and unaccompanied.

In which situations I am not elegible to benefit from the Programme
There are four specific instances in which IOM cannot provide support:
1) If you hold a nationality from a European Union (EU) country, or if you have a direct relative holding a EU nationality;
2) if you have had issues with the justice system in Portugal which could impede your return to your country of origin;
3) If you already benefitted from the programme before;
4) In the event that you provide false information.
The non-compliance with these requirements, or any other requirements related to the ARVoRe VI Programme, could be grounds for exclusion from the Programme.

What are the necessary documents to register for the Programme?
On the day of your registration meeting, you will need to bring your passport (valid or expired); any document you may have showing your filiation (both parents’ names), and your residence permit (valid or expired) if you have one. In certain situations, more documents can be required (medical or legal documents, and/or Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service documents). If you do not hold any identification document, please contact IOM.

Will this Return Programme cost me anything?
No. The costs related to the flight and the support provided are covered by the Programme and do not imply any other cost for the Programme’s beneficiaries.

By benefiting from the Programme, am I subject to any kind of restriction?
Yes. The current legislation (Law N.º 23/2007 from the 4th July, modified by Law N.º 29/2012 from the 9th August) includes two forms of restriction for the Programme’s beneficiaries:
• Entry ban in Portugal for a period of three years;
• If you are currently in a regular situation in Portugal, you will have to hand your Residence Authorisation to the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) at the airport, thereby losing your residence right in the country conferred by this authorisation.

Which Portuguese airport will I travel from?
All beneficiaries from the Programme will have to travel from the Humberto Delgado airport in Lisbon.
If you are in the Madeira or Azores Islands, you will fly to Lisbon and an IOM staff member will be there to assist you to your next flight to your country of origin.

How long does it take from the moment I register to the Programme until the travel date?
Each case is analysed individually and therefore the waiting time may differ for each person. Nevertheless, it is expected that the process should last between 1 and 2 months.

Can I change my mind and quit the programme during the process?
Yes. You can quit any time, but you will have to inform IOM of your decision.

How many suitcases can I travel with?
Each airline company has its own requirements regarding allowed luggage. Once your flight has been confirmed, IOM will contact you to inform you of the number of suitcases and the weight allowed for each passenger.

If I want to come back before the 3-year entry ban in Portugal, what can I do?
The current legislation (article 80. º of the Decree-law nº 84/2007 from 5th November - altered by the implementing decree nº 2/2013, from 18th March and by the implementing decree nº 15-A/2015, from 2nd September) stipulates that if you wish to go back to Portugal before the end of your entry-ban, you will need to contact the Portuguese consular representation in your country of residence and register for an admission process. The admission in Portugal will be validated after you reimburse every expense, including: the price of the airline ticket, the pocket money you received to meet journey-related expenses, and any financial support you may have received for reintegration purposes. You will also be required to pay an interest at statutory rate.
Voluntary Return
The Voluntary Return in the context of Portugal is framed under article 139 Support to Voluntary Return, from the Law n.º 23/2007, of 4th July, approving the legal system governing the entry, stay, exit and expulsion of foreigners in Portugal. This Law was modified by the Law n.º 29/2012, 9th August, the Law n.º 56/2015, from 23rd June, as well as theLaw n.º 63/2015 from 30th June.
Article 139 .º - Support to Voluntary Return:
1) The State can support the voluntary return of foreign citizens who meet the required conditions from their country of origin, under the cooperation programmes established with international organisations, namely the International Organisation for Migrations or Non-Governmental Organisations.
2) When the foreign citizens - who benefit from the support conceded under the above-mentioned terms – hold a residence authorisation, they have to hand it at the border control when boarding.
3) For a period of three years following the return to the country of origin, the voluntary return beneficiaries can only be admitted in Portugal provided that they refund the amounts received for their return, in addition to an interest at statutory rate.
4) The previous paragraph does not affect the possibility of an exceptional short-term visa emission, for humanitarian purposes, under the terms defined by article 68.º.
5) Citizens who have benefitted from a temporary protection status are not subject to the requirement defined under paragraph n.º 3.

Return to Portugal after benefiting from the Assisted Voluntary Return
The Law n.º 23/2007, 4th July states that foreign citizens who abandon the Portuguese National Territory under the ARVoRe VI programme, and wish to go back to Portugal within the 3-year entry ban period, can request the removal of this measure, provided that they refund the Portuguese State (under the terms of article nº 139º, Law n.º 23/2007 4th July modified by Law 29/2012, on 9th August, approving the legal system governing the entry, stay, exit and expulsion of foreigners in Portugal, as well as under the terms of the Regulatory Decree nº 02/2013, from 18th March, article 80º, which establishes the requirements for the admission for foreign citizens into the Portuguese national territory, who have previously abandoned the Portuguese territory by benefiting from the Voluntary Return Programme and intend to go back to Portugal before the end of their entry-ban period).