I'm a refugee of Dangerlandia, where my ethnic group was persecuted by a nation-wide ethnic cleansing effort, and I've been given refugee status in a European country, where I've been living for the past 15 years. Two years ago, international news was made when the tyrant of Dangerlandia, under pressure from the people, signed a democratic constitution, and held free and open elections to choose the first generation of democratic leaders. A few years on, my homeland has developed into a modern Western democracy, and the government has issued a public apology for its previous behavior. I'm starting to think maybe it's time to go home.

Is there a process for reversing refugee status if at some point it is no longer necessary?

  • 5
    Yes. It's called packing your bags and leaving. Nov 30, 2017 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


As a refugee, you don't really need anything to be reversed. You can simply approach a consulate from your country of origin, apply for a new passport and go there. You will de facto lose your status in your current country of residence, either because applying for a passport implicitly means you do not need protection anymore or simply because spending a long time abroad eventually leads to losing your status as a resident.

As far as the country of residence is concerned, there is also a process to force (ex-)refugees out. Details might differ a bit but in practice, you would typically have some form of residence permit that needs to be renewed every 1-3 years. Every time it's up for renewal, the relevant agency will reevaluate your status. And even a slight improvement in the situation in your country of origin, well short of the full-blown reconciliation/stabilisation you describe, might be enough to put it in jeopardy. If your permit is denied, you might eventually be forcibly removed. As an example, Germany organised the return of several tens of thousands of former refugees to the Balkans, Afghanistan or Iraq in recent years.

Note that many refugees, especially those who are more successful in securing a job, learning the language, etc. will move to another status within 5-10 years (long-term residence of some kind, naturalisation). Things are different in that case, you might be safe against any kind of removal or able to go back to your country of origin without losing your status in the country where you found protection. But the details vary quite a bit, even between European countries.

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