New circulars were issued by GSO in February and March 2017, introducing a fee waiver for residency applications for some Syrian refugees. This means that some Syrian refugees do not need to pay fees in order to obtain a residency permit, and also do not have to pay late fees for delayed renewal.
What are the conditions for benefitting from the fee waiver?
- You must be a Syrian refugee who registered with UNHCR before 1 January 2015, and your registration must still be valid now.
- You are not able to benefit from the fee waiver if you ever obtained a residency permit through sponsorship, on the basis of a lease agreement, or through any category other than on the basis of your UNHCR registration certificate.
- You can benefit if your spouse obtained a residency permit through sponsorship but you did not.
- You may be able to benefit if you entered Lebanon irregularly (and never held a residency permit), and agencies providing legal services can support you if you are in this situation.
If you meet the criteria above but face difficulties attempting to obtain a residency permit from GSO, or are concerned about making such an attempt, then seek legal assistance from a relevant agency in your area.
All agencies providing legal services will be able to provide you with individual counseling related to your specific circumstances, and some may be able to accompany you to GSO.
If you do not meet the criteria above, then you will still have to pay the $200 administrative fee and any late fees imposed by GSO when attempting to apply for a residency permit.
Expired residency permits put you at risk of arrest and detention.