Refugee and Asylum Seeker Certificates Valid until December 2021
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the recent decision by the Government of Jordan to consider UNHCR issued Asylum Seeker and Refugee Certificates to persons of concern of all nationalities that have expired during COVID 19 pandemic, valid until December 31st, 2021, regardless of the date of expiry.
This decision comes into effect amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has limited UNHCR’s ability to renew refugee and asylum seeker certificates and means that even if a person holds an expired refugee or asylum seeker certificate, they should still be able to access national services such as getting medical treatment or enrolling their children in school by presenting their existing documentation.
Additionally, extending the validity of asylum seeker certificates adds an important security element in terms of freedom of movement, since most refugees and asylum seekers use their certificates as their main form of identification when interacting with Jordanian authorities.
Per the Memorandum of Understanding between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and UNHCR, refugee and asylum seeker certificates had to be renewed on an annual basis in Jordan. Since the beginning of the pandemic, UNHCR has transitioned to carrying out this renewal through remote processes whereby interviews over the phone or video technology are utilized to update data on refugee cases in Jordan, including updating family composition such as adding a new born baby, or recording a death in the family. Refugees are then issued with an appointment to collect their renewed certificates from UNHCR registration centers around the country. As of 20th May, over 129,770 refugees have renewed their asylum seeker certificates through this mechanism since the beginning of the year.
Despite this, challenges remain in renewing all refugee and asylum seeker certificates through remote processes, especially due to limitation in reachability and connectivity. The extension of the validity of certificates until the end of the year will therefore be a relief to many refugee families across the Kingdom, secure in the knowledge that they have the correct documentation to remain in Jordan. UNHCR will continue scaling up its efforts in expediting renewal of expired refugees and asylum seeker certificates.