Voluntary Assisted Return Programme
Please be aware that your application form will not be processed until IOM receives a signed version of the Declaration Form. The Date of Application will be based on the date IOM receives a signed version of the Declaration Form by e-mail or by fax or by the date that the application was sent by the applicant by post. After this, it will be submitted to UDI for clearance.
Please click on Register your application
What is VARP?
The Voluntary Assisted Return Programme assists asylum seekers and other irregular migrants, who wish to return from Norway to their home countries voluntarily. The Programme provides a return option, which is organized, safe and dignified.
What services offer IOM through VARP?
- Information and counseling regarding the return with IOM.
- Assistance in getting a travel document, if necessary.
- Planning of return travel.
- Transportation within Norway, flights to the country of origin and domestic transportation in the country of origin.
- Assistance at the airport on departure, in transit and on arrival.
- Limited follow-up, if requested and possible.
The above listed services are free of charge for all applicants
How long will it take?
The time frame for the return will depend on various factors such as UDI’s approval, obtaining travel documents, availability of commercial flights, and any special needs to be taken into consideration for the return travel.
Who can apply?
You are an eligible candidate for the programme, if you are in Norway irregularly (without documents) or if you are an asylum-seeker and:
- You want to return home voluntarily.
- Your asylum claim or application for stay in Norway on other grounds has been rejected.
Please note that one is given a limited time to leave Norway when the asylum claim has been rejected. If you want to return home with IOM, you should apply shortly after receiving the negative asylum decision.
As mentioned, you may apply if you are not an asylum seeker but of other reasons find yourself in an irregular situation in Norway.
Which authorities are involved?
The programme is coordinated and facilitated by IOM in close collaboration with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).
IOM is responsible for the overall implementation of the programme. It also provides information to its clients, assists in acquiring travel documents and makes the travel arrangements.
UDI acts as a communication link between IOM and the Reception Centers for Asylum Seekers, assists in informing interested persons about the programme, and approves VARP applications. UDI makes also a decision on whether one is eligible for reintegration and cash support and determines the amount of the latter for each returnee.
If you decide to return with IOM to your home country, you will return in a civilian way. Norwegian authorities are not involved in return itself. You travel to and arrive in your home country as a regular passenger.
IOM needs to get an approval from UDI for each applicant before the person can be included in the programme, as described above. The government authorities may deny IOM to assist certain individuals. The reasons of denial are never divulged to IOM.
Benefits of returning with IOM
Benefits of returning with IOM compared to deportation done by police are as follows:
- In most cases IOM can offer a domestic transportation in the country of origin. When deported by police, one is only taken to a capital city or a major airport.
- Travel with IOM is a civilian and dignified return. You will travel as a regular passenger. When deported by police the airline is aware that one is being deported. In such cases national immigration authorities will also be informed about the deportation in accordance with bilateral agreements.
- Return to your country of origin with IOM is free of charge. IOM covers all travel expenses. If deported by the police, obtaining visa, work or residence permit for Norway or other Schengen countries might prove difficult or impossible in the future. Expenses of the prior deportation from Norway must be paid by former deportees to the Norwegian authorities prior to new visa, student, residence or family re-union application can be submitted. If you return with IOM you do not have this debt to the Norwegian state. Return with IOM is not a deportation, but a civilian return.
Everyone travelling under the IOM programme needs to have a valid passport or other travel document issued and recognized by national authorities. If you do not have a valid international passport or other travel document IOM will help you to obtain one from your nearest embassy/consulate. For more information on how to acquire a travel document and how IOM can assist in getting one, click here.
The Norwegian Refugee Council NRC
The Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers – NOAS and other NGOs.