Country of Return

Refers to a third country (country of origin, transit or other). In most cases, it is the country of origin to which a return is made, but this definition is used here in order to indicate other (possible) destinations.


Refers to a non-EU/EEA (i.e. third country) national migrant who moves to country of return, whether voluntary or forced.

Voluntary Return

The IOM defines voluntary return as “the assisted (in which case it would be Assisted Voluntary Return) or independent return to the country of return, transit or third country, based on the free will of the returnee.” According to the Aliens and Migration Law (Ch. 105, article 18ΟΔ) it is the compliance with the obligation to return within the time-frame specified for that purpose in the decision for return.

Assisted Voluntary Return

Refers specifically to “the provision of (logistical, financial and/or other material) assistance for the voluntary return of a returnee. Assisted Voluntary Return is a narrower term of Voluntary Return. Often (financial) support is provided by a member state, either directly or via funding of other entities.” The European Return Fund is also another source of funding.

Voluntary Departure

Derives from the Directive 2008/115/EC and “means compliance with the obligation to return within the time-limit fixed for that purpose in a return decision." The pact uses similar wording. Thus, this is different from Voluntary Return as with Voluntary Departure, ultimately there will be an obligation to return.