What is the Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRE)?

Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme from Estonia (VARRE) gives you the option to return home voluntarily. This humanitarian programme assists migrants in need who wish to voluntarily return from Estonia to their country of origin but do not have the necessary means. If you are thinking about voluntarily returning home, remember that the decision to return is always yours.

Who can apply for VARRE?

You can apply for IOM’s VARRE services if you are not a citizen of EEA countries (European Union countries, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland). NB! If the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board has issued you with an expulsion order, IOM is not able to assist you.

Why would I choose to go home?

There are many different reasons you may be considering returning home. The situation in your home country might have changed since you left, or for whatever reasons you may not want to stay in Estonia any longer. There are many benefits if you choose to return home voluntarily such as: • help planning your return; • assistance with every step of your return journey.

To where can I return?

The country of return is the country to which the returnee goes after leaving Estonia through the Voluntary Return Programme. Most participants return to their country of origin, meaning the country to which they are a national. In certain circumstances, however, IOM can assist migrants in returning to another country in which they have an already existing legal right to reside.

I want to return home – what will it cost?

IOM’s services are free of charge and you will not owe IOM any money if they assist you to return home.

How do I apply for VARRE?

To find out how to apply for VARRE, contact IOM Estonia or fill out the English/Russian Application Form. Please bring the completed Application Form with you to our office when you come to meet us (IOM can also help you fill in the form).

I want to return home with the assistance of the VARRE programme but I don't have any passport or it is out of date. Can the IOM help me?

Yes, if you have a document which is out of date, or no documents, IOM can support you to apply for a new travel document from your Embassy. IOM will pay for the costs of your travel document.

If I decide to leave Estonia, how long will it take?

Departure timeframes depend on whether you have a valid travel document, the availability of flights, and if you have any other particular needs to be considered while preparing for your return. IOM can give you more information about arrangements and timeframes.

Will talking to IOM affect my current status in Estonia?

No. Talking to IOM is confidential, independent of all government processes and will not affect any protection claims you have or other ongoing status related questions. You can talk to IOM in confidentiality at any time about your options.

I have withdrawn my asylum application/my asylum application was rejected and I want to return to my country of origin. What next?

If you have withdrawn your asylum application or your application was rejected and you choose to return to your home country and need assistance, you can apply for the VARRE programme. To do so, you first need to contact the IOM Office in Tallinn, Estonia.

I want to return to my home country but I am younger than 18 years and I am travelling without my parents. What should I do?

The voluntary return assistance to Unaccompanied Minors (UAMs) is being provided in line with the principle of "the Best Interest of the Child", the UNHCR guidelines for repatriation of minors and the Council Resolution on unaccompanied minors who are nationals of third countries. To benefit from the VARRE Programme, you should meet the following requirements: - You have formally expressed the wish to return home and your legal guardian in Estonia has approved that returning is in your best interests; - Your parents/family members in your country of origin have formally indicated their agreement to welcome you back and assist you in your return and reintegration process. The IOM office in Estonia can assess and select the most appropriate return assistance package, linking pre-departure counselling, transportation and post arrival assistance. IOM ensures that you can return to your country of origin under humane and safe circumstances.

What about the COVID-19-related travel regulations?

Currently, travelling to some countries requires PCR tests before the departure, as well as upon arrival. IOM helps you to register for the test as well as bears the cost of test and getting a certificate.

How much luggage can I bring?

That depends with which airline you travel. Many airlines will often not accept any item of baggage that weighs more than 32kg per person. IOM will inform you in advance of your travel of what your exact baggage allowance will be. If you bring more, you will have to pay for it. Excess baggage can be very expensive. IOM is not responsible for, and will not be able to pay for any excess baggage.

What happens if I miss my flight?

IOM would ask you to be at the airport 2 hours before the departure of the flight in order to avoid unnecessary delays. You need to keep in mind that before boarding, we would need to check you in to the flight and pass through the security check and border check. In case you know that you are going to be late to the airport, please inform IOM about it in advance. If you miss the flight without reasonable justification, then IOM cannot buy you another ticket and would exclude you from the programme. You would need to cover all return related costs by yourself.

Can I get help after I get home?

After returning home you can get Reintegration assistance from the local IOM office. Reintegration assistance may include providing you with skills-based training and education, helping you to apply for a job, or helping you to establish your own small business. You can speak to IOM Estonia before returning home to discuss your possibilities.

What is the Reintegration Assistance?

The general aim of the reintegration assistance is to facilitate your return by providing you with material support. This material support is provided in-kind (in the form of material goods and services) in your country of origin after your return has taken place.

Should I pay back IOM once Reintegration assistance is received?

No, Reintegration assistance is not a loan and you do not have to pay it back.

Who will help me after I arrive in my home country?

IOM can meet you at the airport, and assist you with travel to your final destination. As you leave Estonia, you will be given the contact information for the local IOM office in your home country. If you are interested in reintegration assistance you will need to contact IOM as soon as possible after arriving home to set-up a meeting. At this meeting, IOM will talk to you about what would be the best options for you, and develop a reintegration plan based on your individual circumstances.

Can I change my mind about my Reintegration Assistance?

Yes, you can. Applying for the Reintegration Assistance is an option, not an obligation.