It seems like the EU and Turkey is about to agree about how to meet the refugee influx to Europe.

However, the EU guarantees individual treatment of each application from the refugees seeking asylum that are already in Greece, and according to some sources, Syrian Kurds will not be sent to Turkey (for obvious reasons). That made me thinking, how can they prove that they are Kurds? Do they have some kind of documents of this? Is the proof based on the language?

  • 2
    Great question! Shame that it has drowned in a flood of uninteresting question about the US.
    – Bregalad
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


Since there is no shared ID database between the European Union and the countries of origin (such as Syria), the police / border patrol authorities of the EU countries involved tend to base their decisions on the following criteria:

  • ID card or other official documents shown by the refugee, if any;
  • identification of the specific dialect or language, e.g. a Syrian dialect of the Arabic language, via specialized interpreters;
  • if anything else fails, they rely upon the statements made by the refugee, provided they are credible and consistent.

As an example, a 2013 UNCHR report states:

Moreover, guidance also provides that the determining [Dutch] authority may assist the applicant by conducting, for example, a language analysis, an examination of the validity of documents, an age assessment, and obtaining an individual country report. Such steps have been viewed by the courts as compensating for the evidentiary difficulties faced by applicants.

Similar procedures are quoted in several documents from different EU countries, including the United Kingdom, which in a January 2015 official document explains:

Evidence includes - but is not limited to:

  • Screening Interview (SIR);

  • Statements made to an Immigration Officer prior to the claim being made, or information supplied when he/she applied for a visa;


  • Other evidence submitted by the claimant, e.g. written statements, newspaper or Internet articles, witness statements from family or associates, police or medical reports, political party membership cards

  • Country of origin information (COI)

  • Files relating to previous applications by the claimant or his/her relatives

  • Passports: where available, checked for entry/exit stamps, visas, to confirm the claimant's immigration status and history

  • Other expert evidence

  • Language analysis

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