Refugees use various routes to get to the states of the European Union. Without a valid passport, visa or residence permit it is impossible to legally enter a EU-state by plane or ship. This is why smugglers illegally take undocumented people in boats from North Africa or Turkey to the borders of Southern European countries in the Mediterranean. This extremely dangerous flight at sea is referred to as the Mediterranean route. Since the boats are usually overcrowded rubber dinghies that were not built to be used off-shore many people die on the journey.
On the Balkan route, refugees travel from the Middle East to the EU by land, passing through the Balkan states. After a large number of people entered the EU through the Balkans in 2015, the Balkan states are now monitoring their borders much closer. Yet, people are still trying to enter the EU through this route.