Screening was the suitability testing of displaced persons for care from international organisations and military authorities. In other words, the fate of the displaced persons rested on the outcome of the screening – whether it was appropriate to continue living in the camp or if they would be forced to leave, and sometimes, but not often, forced to return to their homeland. Screening was closely linked to the political relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. When relations were cooperative in 1946, screening often resulted in repatriation, but in 1947, the relationship dwindled due to the fear of a new war, therefor the frequency of screening and being sent back to the homeland decreased. Some previously screened displaced persons were allowed to stay.

The first screening was conducted when a person entered the camp. Unlike in Denmark and Sweden, German and Austrian DP camps began to screen frequently. The decision to carry out screenings was made in February 1946 and screenings were carried out intensively throughout the summer of the same year and into the spring of 1947, when post-screenings were carried out as well. Initially, there were no specific guidelines for individual screenings, and these were mostly carried out by decommissioned officers, who had had a sufficiently high degree of freedom in deciding the outcome of the testing. It was never known ahead of time when a new questionnaire would come and how in-depth the questions would be. The process consisted first of a questionnaire with 20 questions, of which the most difficult and the most decisive were the political questions, such as army and political party memberships, reason for leaving home, reason for coming to Germany, or for example, was the displaced person in Germany voluntarily or had his/her journey been organised. If the Baltic displaced persons answered these questions honestly, they could be seen as fascist collaborators with Germany; in order to prevent this, answers were formulated so that the displaced persons status could not be compromised. One also had to explain on the screening page, why the displaced person did not want to return home. For the most part, the question was answered unanimously that the ruling regime of the homeland was totalitarian, and repatriation would mean being sent to a prison camp or sentenced to death.

The completion of the questionnaire was followed by verbal explanations, meaning that the written and oral screening process could take many months. Although screeners were not, as a rule malicious, they tried to screen 8–10% of displaced persons out of the camps. In the largest Estonian camp, Geislingen, 618 out of 5000 persons were screened out of the camp in October 1946. On the other hand, at Hanau camp, which was home to 875 Estonians, only 18 persons were screened out, although there was a post-screening at the beginning of 1947. There were many waves of post-screenings in 1947: at the beginning of the year with the UNRRA initiative as well in the autumn under the leadership of the IRO. Data is missing concerning all of the camp screenings in the US zone from 1946–47, but known camp data indicates that 1585 (12.9%) were screened out of 12,318 people.

French zone were the most lenient with screening, as most of the displaced persons lived in private apartments. A simple and slow screening was run in the British zone, where significantly fewer people had to leave the camps compared to the US zone. For example, out of 700 people living in the Lübeck artillery barracks, only 10 were screened out, and in Göttingen only 18 out of 480 were screened out.