Emergency registration
© UNHCR/Adam Dean
6.4 Reception
Table of Contents
  • Reception is the process by which individuals are accepted into the registration process. Reception facilities must always promote the dignity of individuals and the safety and security of staff and refugees. At reception, people are informed about the processes, rights and obligations associated with emergency registration, and scheduled for registration interview. Those with visible or declared urgent specific needs are identified and prioritized, according to SOPs. Biometric identification may be carried out, if feasible, to check for already registered individuals. Refer to Module 5.1 for further guidance on Reception.

    Key considerations for reception/registration site identification are discussed in Module 3.9 under the sub-headings: (i) Location, (ii) Building capacity, (iii) Essential services, and (iv) Security standards. General guidance on reception/registration site layout can also be found in Module 3.9. In emergencies, additional considerations to ensure a rapid flow of people through the various processes in place may include:

    • Setting up simple fencing and/or barriers to reduce crowd pressure, engaging informal crowd control support from community leaders;
    • Issuing serial numbered tokens to manage queuing refugees;
    • Use of communication systems (megaphones and/or loud speakers) to share key messages, updates on waiting time, etc.
    • Establishing separate channelling of different caseloads (if there are multiple nationalities);
    • Ensuring fast track re-admission for people admitted by the reception desk and unable to complete the registration process on their assigned day;
    • Designing simple and clear procedures for the identification and prioritization of persons with specific needs from Reception through Registration;
    • Ensuring basic confidentiality principles with respect to interview spaces.

Scheduling methodologies

  • During Reception, refugees should be informed about the registration scheduling methodology. Scheduling should be conducted on a first come, first served basis, with persons with specific needs prioritized according to agreed criteria. The scheduling methodology should be set out in the SOPs. Depending on how complex and individualized the scheduling methodology is, adequate staff, equipment and supplies need to be assigned to carry out scheduling tasks. If IT equipment is available, use an electronic scheduling system, where available, to plan the registration.

    Appointment scheduling must be continually adapted and aligned to the existing registration capacity and daily output to avoid crowd-related security issues. Scheduling standards for regular registration can be found in Module 5.1. In emergencies, the following should be kept in mind:

    • If group pre-registration has already taken place, it is advisable to make use of that data to develop the daily schedule, for example, by reference to the pre-registration date and location, family size, unique group identifier on fixing token / wristband number or other criteria.

    • In urban contexts and certain informal settlements, methods of scheduling include approaching the UNHCR Office or online appointment system, hotline or SMS to request and receive an interview appointment slip. Where refugees cannot access UNHCR in these ways, mobile teams should be deployed to cover the areas of settlement. In order to cover all areas/locations, a detailed registration plan and schedule should be prepared. It is advisable to cover as many locations as possible by the same registration centre. Mobile registration is often a very labour-intensive exercise compared to registering centrally. See Module 3.10. for further guidance on mobile registration.