Pictogram Freedom-seeker


Pictogram Freedom-seeker

CHercheur.euse de liberté

Pictogram Homeless person


Pictogram Asylum seeker


Pictogram Asylum seeker

Demandeur.euse.s de protection internationale

Pictogram Refugee


Pictogram Refugee


Pictogram Professional


Pictogram Professional



An LGBTQIA+ individual may consider moving if their life is at risk in a queerphobic country due to several compelling reasons such as escaping danger and reaching safety, legal protection and rights, access to LGBTQIA+ support networks, personal growth and self-expression, building a family.  

It is important to note that the decision to move is deeply personal and complex. Everyone’s circumstances and considerations may vary, and the choice to relocate is based on the evaluation of personal safety, available resources, and potential opportunities for a better quality of life.  

Freedom-seekers facing challenging circumstances have two potential avenues to escape and find a secure and safe environment:

  1. Relocation

Individuals who are seeking freedom and safety can consider the option of relocating to another location. By moving to a different country or region of the same country, they can escape the oppressive and dangerous situation they face in their current queerphobic country. Relocation offers the opportunity to start afresh in a more accepting and inclusive environment, where their rights and well-being are respected and protected.  

For example, Brazilians LGBTQIA+ individuals, particularly transgender or non-binary people choose to move from their hometowns to larger cities such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador to escape the queerphobic atmosphere and seek greater acceptance and opportunities.  

  1. Seeking asylum

Another possibility is to seek asylum in a country that provides protection for individuals facing persecution due to their SOGIESC. Asylum allows freedom-seekers to legally reside in a country with LGBTQIA+ friendly policies, ensuring their safety and offering them the opportunity to live authentically without fear of persecution. The asylum process typically involves making a formal application and providing evidence of the persecution or risk they face in their home country.

Both relocation and seeking asylum require careful consideration of various factors, such as legal processes, available resources, and potential challenges associated with adapting to a new environment. It is essential for freedom-seekers to explore these options with the guidance of legal experts, human rights organisations, and LGBTQIA+ support networks to ensure a smooth and secure transition to a better and safer life.

LGBTQIA+ Emigration from Home Country

Seeking asylum is often a critical option for LGBTQIA+ individuals who face persecution and danger in their home countries due to their SOGIESC. However, the ability to successfully pursue asylum can be influenced by various factors, including the “strength” of their passport.  

You can assess the “strength” of your passport by referring to the Passport Index website. This platform provides information and rankings based on the travel freedom and visa requirements associated with different passports. You can determine the strength of your passport in terms of its ability to grant you visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to various countries.  

  1. Strong-passport holder individuals

LGBTQIA+ individuals may possess a passport from a country that grants them to travel to LGBTQIA+ welcoming countries. It implies that individuals with a strong passport have more freedom and flexibility in terms of international travel compared to those with passports from countries that have more travel restrictions or limited diplomatic relationships. The process of emigration and seeking asylum in safer countries may be somewhat more accessible.  

Important note: While having a strong passport can facilitate travel to safer countries, it is important to note that seeking asylum is a complex and challenging process. LGBTQIA+ individuals must still meet the legal criteria for asylum and provide evidence of the persecution they have faced or fear in their home country based on their SOGIESC and an expert support.

Example [I]: Georgia

Georgia has visa-free agreements with several countries, particularly within the Schengen Area. These agreements allow Georgian passport holders to enter these countries without the requirement of a visa.

Example [II]: Venezuela and El Salvador

LGBTQIA+ individuals from Venezuela and El Salvador can explore European countries to seek asylum with no visa requirements and limitations.

  1. Weak-passport holder individuals

For LGBTQIA+ individuals who hold passports from countries with limited travel privileges, often referred to as "week-passport holders," leaving their home country and reaching a safe place abroad can pose significant challenges. The main challenge is visa requirements and limited visa-free travel. This means they must obtain a visa in advance for most countries they wish to move and claim asylum. Securing visas can be time-consuming, expensive, and may involve navigating bureaucratic processes that can be challenging for LGBTQIA+ individuals, especially if they face discrimination or persecution in their home country.

Given these challenges, LGBTQIA+ individuals as poor-passport holders often require additional support and resources to overcome the barriers to leaving their home country and reaching a safe place abroad. This can include seeking assistance from international human rights organisations, LGBTQIA+ advocacy groups, and refugee support networks that can provide guidance, legal aid, and resources to navigate the emigration process.  

Illegal Emigration: Highly Risky Journey

Illegal emigration is strongly discouraged due to its inherent dangers and numerous challenges. It involves attempting to cross borders without valid travel documents, using counterfeit or forged papers, and often relying on unconventional means such as air travel, sea voyages, land vehicles, or even traveling on foot. However, it is crucial to emphasise that engaging in illegal emigration poses significant risks and should not be taken lightly.  

The challenges and risks faced during illegal emigration are numerous. Here are some examples:

  • Risk [I]: Human traffickers or smugglers

As one of the primary concerns associated with illegal emigration is the reliance on these individuals who operate outside the bounds of the law and often exploit vulnerable migrants, including LGBTQIA+ individuals, for personal gain. They may subject them to extortion, physical abuse, or other forms of exploitation, putting their safety and well-being at great risk. Taking risky routes have no guarantees of safety.

  • Risk [II]: Persecution, abuse, and violence

LGBTQIA+ individuals undertaking illegal emigration may be particularly vulnerable to mistreatment, rapes, or abuse, as their SOGIESC may further expose them to discrimination and persecution.

  • Risk [III]: Limitations to access rights and basic services

Lacking legal protection during travel without proper documentation makes the travellers more likely to encounter difficulties in accessing basic rights and services, including health care and heightens their vulnerability to discrimination, exploitation, and violence.

  • Risk [IV] Detention and deportation

Crossing borders without proper documentation can lead to detention, deportation, or being trapped in transit countries with no legal status or recourse.  

It is crucial to raise awareness about the risks and challenges associated with illegal emigration, while advocating for the importance of international cooperation and comprehensive migration policies that prioritise the protection and well-being of LGBTQIA+ individuals. By promoting safe and legal migration, we can work towards providing viable solutions and support for those seeking safety and freedom from persecution.  

It is very important to recognise the unique challenges faced by poor-passport holders and work towards creating more inclusive and accessible pathways for LGBTQIA+ individuals seeking safety and protection outside their home countries.

Legal Emigration: Safer Travel Channel

Legal pathways for migration, such as seeking asylum or pursuing immigration processes through established channels, offer a safer and more protected approach for LGBTQIA+ individuals seeking refuge. These legal avenues provide access to international protection, ensuring that individuals are processed through appropriate immigration systems and receive the necessary support and assistance.

To travel legally across borders, it is essential to possess valid travel documents, such as a passport, in addition to a valid ticket. Visas are additional documents that grant permission to enter and stay in a foreign country. They may be obtained from embassies or consulates of the destination country before traveling as the most challenging document needed to travel for poor-passport holders.  

In many queerphobic countries, the strength of the passport is often limited, posing significant challenges for LGBTQIA+ individuals seeking to leave. This circumstance creates a difficult situation where people can feel trapped and lack the necessary resources or means to escape their current environment.

However, there are recommended evacuation strategies for individuals seeking to leave the country:

  • Tourist or business visa

To obtain a visa from the embassy of your desired destination country, you can either apply independently or seek assistance from a travel agency. The visa application process requires the submission of various documents, and its success relies on fulfilling the necessary requirements. Additionally, certain companies arrange business tours with commercial purposes, and depending on your profession, you might be eligible to apply for such tours. It's crucial to be aware of the Dublin regulation, which states that if you have a visa for a specific country in Schengen Area, you must seek asylum in that country. Failure to do so could result in being returned to that country based on rules called Dublin regulation.

  • Family visit visa

If you have immediate family members (such as a partner, children, mother, father, brother, or sister) residing in a safe country, you have the option to apply for a family visit visa. To do so, you will need to obtain an official invitation letter from your family member in the safe country. This invitation letter serves as a supporting document for your visa application and demonstrates the purpose of your visit as a family reunion.

When applying for a family visit visa, it's important to follow the specific requirements and guidelines set by the embassy or consulate of the destination country. These requirements may include providing proof of the relationship with your family member, financial stability, accommodation arrangements, and travel insurance.  

It's crucial to note that a family visit visa is intended for temporary stays and does not grant you the right to work or settle permanently in the destination country. The duration of stay allowed under the visa will vary depending on the regulations of the country granting the visa. Before applying for a family visit visa, ensure that you carefully review the immigration policies and procedures of the destination country.  

  • Family reunification visa

The reunification program is designed to facilitate the reunion of immediate family members and typically focuses on providing a legal pathway for family members to live together in a safe and stable environment.  

Under the reunification program, only immediate family members, such as a child, spouse, or in some cases, parents of minor applicants (usually under 18 years old and unmarried), are eligible to petition for family reunification. It's important to note that the specific rules and regulations regarding family reunification vary from country to country. Each country has its own set of requirements and criteria that must be met for the reunification process. These requirements typically include providing documentation to prove the family relationship, such as birth certificates or marriage certificates, as well as meeting certain financial and accommodation criteria.


  • Humanitarian visa

Humanitarian visas are granted by certain countries as part of their international obligations to protect refugees facing persecution. These visas are typically issued based on the criteria outlined in the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which serves as a key framework for assessing legitimate claims for protection. According to this convention, a refugee is defined as an individual who finds themselves outside their country of origin or legal residence and is either unable or unwilling to return due to a well-founded fear of persecution. This persecution may be based on factors such as race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group including LGBTQIA+ communities, or political beliefs, as defined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

To be eligible for a humanitarian visa, it is generally required that the applicant has not been convicted of a serious crime by a fair tribunal. Various countries, including Australia, European Union member states, Russia, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States, are among the main destinations that offer humanitarian visas.

  • Emergency Evacuation Programs

Emergency evacuation programs, also known as rescue or evacuation operations, are initiatives undertaken by countries to evacuate individuals facing immediate danger or threats to their lives in specific regions or countries. These programs aim to provide swift assistance and safe passage to those in need, including LGBTQIA+ individuals, who may be at heightened risk due to persecution, violence, or discrimination.

The specific details and mechanisms of these emergency evacuation programs may vary from country to country. Typically, they involve collaboration between government authorities, international organisations, NGOs, and local partners. These entities work together to identify at-risk individuals, coordinate travel arrangements, and facilitate the necessary documentation and approvals for their safe passage.

For example, in the case of Afghanistan, after Taliban’s takeover, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and other countries have launched emergency evacuation programs to assist vulnerable individuals, including LGBTQIA+ individuals, considering the evolving situation and increased risks in the country. These programs prioritise the evacuation of individuals who are at immediate risk and provide them with the opportunity to seek safety and protection in the respective host countries.

  • Scholarship  

A scholarship is a form of financial assistance provided to students to support their educational pursuits at private elementary or secondary schools, as well as post-secondary colleges, universities, or other academic institutions. Scholarships are granted based on various criteria, which may include academic achievements, diversity and inclusion, athletic abilities, financial need, or a combination of these factors. By utilising search engines, university resources, or specialised websites, LGBTQIA+ individuals facing danger in their home country can explore scholarship opportunities to escape and pursue education in safer environments.

Having a bachelor's or master's degree opens further possibilities for LGBTQIA+ individuals to apply for master's or Ph.D. programs. Many universities and academic institutions worldwide offer scholarships specifically for international students, including those seeking refuge from their home countries.

  • International internship programs

An international internship program offers LGBTQIA+ individuals a valuable opportunity to gain practical work experience in a foreign country, typically ranging from one month to one year. Through these programs, participants can apply the theoretical knowledge they have acquired in the classroom to real-world settings, gaining a deeper understanding of their chosen field. To explore such internship programs, it is advisable to reach out to relevant organisations, companies, research groups, or institutes that offer these opportunities.

When contacting organisations or companies offering international internship programs, LGBTQIA+ individuals should express their interest, explain their background and qualifications, and inquire about available opportunities. It is important to highlight any specific interests or fields of study related to human rights, social justice, or LGBTQIA+ advocacy, as this can help identify relevant placements.  

  • Programs or initiatives for Human Right Defenders (HRDs)

LGBTQIA+ individuals seeking to escape danger in their home countries can explore programs and initiatives that support human rights defenders HRDs are individuals, groups, and organisations that actively promote and protect universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms. They work to uphold civil and political rights, as well as economic, social, and cultural rights. HRDs also strive to protect the rights of marginalised groups, including indigenous communities. Importantly, the definition of HRDs excludes those individuals or groups involved in or advocating violence.

Engaging with HRD support programs can provide LGBTQIA+ individuals with a network of allies, resources, and assistance in their pursuit of safety and freedom. These programs often offer various forms of support, such as legal assistance, advocacy, capacity building, and protection mechanisms. By connecting with HRD support organisations, LGBTQIA+ individuals can access valuable guidance, explore options for relocation, and receive assistance in navigating the challenges they may encounter.

There are several programs and initiatives that support Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) including LGBTQIA+ activists. Here are a few examples:

  • ProtectDefenders.eu: is a European Union-funded program that provides support and protection to HRDs at risk worldwide. It offers emergency grants, temporary relocation, advocacy support, and capacity-building activities to help HRDs continue their important work.
  • Front Line Defenders: is an international organisation that focuses on the protection of HRDs at risk. They provide rapid response grants, advocacy support, digital security training, and visibility campaigns to raise awareness about HRDs and their struggles.
  • OutRight Action International: is a leading LGBTQIA+ human rights organisation that works globally to advance and protect the rights of LGBTQIA+ people. They provide support to LGBTQIA+ activists through training, advocacy, and capacity-building programs.  

These are just a few examples of programs and initiatives that support HRDs and LGBTQIA+ activists. It is important to research and connect with organisations specific to your region or country of interest, as there may be additional local or regional programs available.  

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