Nigerian migrants board a plane to return to Nigeria from Libya | Credit: IOM
Nigerian migrants board a plane to return to Nigeria from Libya | Credit: IOM

Many migrants stranded in Libya have asked for information about how to return to their home countries. Here is how the return program by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) works and what you have to do to get the process going.

If you are a migrant in Libya and wish to return to your country of origin, you can make use of the Humanitarian Voluntary Return (HVR) offered by the UN migration agency IOM.

The program supports migrants to return to their home countries and it also offers reintegration assistance to those who qualify. 

The IOM is in contact with embassies, community leaders and detention centers to get in touch with migrants interested in return support. But you can also contact the IOM yourself to start the process.

  • In Libya, the IOM hotline can be reached here: 00218 91 00 11 491
  • If no one answers your call, you can leave a message on the answering machine -- in any language -- providing your name, your nationality and a telephone number under which the IOM can call you back.The IOM hotline number for voluntary return from Libya  Credit IOM
  • The IOM will then organize an in-person or telephone interview to start the registration process
  • Note that returns are organized on a voluntary basis only and on the condition there is no threat to your life in your home country upon return
  • The IOM will cover the travel costs from your location in Libya to Tripoli, as well as the costs for air travel to your country. It will also help to provide you with travel documents if necessary
  • The IOM will establish contact with the embassies or consular representations to coordinate the repatriation
  • On the day of departure, returnees are assisted at the airport by IOM staff and they are provided with assistance kits
  • If necessary, medical/operational travel escorts will be provided 
  • Upon arrival in the home country, you will be met by IOM airport assistance staff and informed about next steps for reintegration procedures
  • If you qualify for reintegration support, you will be monitored by the IOM at certain times after arrival
Safeguards for vulnerable persons

The IOM Libya in its annual report 2019 said it has added special protection safeguards to its HVR program. For example, it will notify diplomatic missions of vulnerable migrants to ensure they can access adequate assistance upon arrival in their country of origin. 

Moreoever, the IOM says it "facilitates joint counselling services with UNHCR for nationals from Eritrea and Somalia who might face protection risks in their country of origin."  


In 2019, a total of 10,347 migrants were registered for HVR and linked with their embassies for consular authentication.

9,798 migrants (7,422 men and 2,376 women) were supported to voluntarily return to their 34 countries of origin.

Many migrants (79%) returned to four countries: Nigeria, Niger, Mali and Sudan. 

1,704 migrants were supported with reintegration assistance under funds managed by IOM Libya.

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