CHAPTER I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
The purpose of this Directive is to establish common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection pursuant to Directive 2011/95/EU.
For the purposes of this Directive:
(a) “Geneva Convention” means the Convention of 28 July 1951 Relating to the Status of Refugees, as amended by the New York Protocol of 31 January 1967;
(b) “application for international protection” or “application” means a request made by a third-country national or a stateless person for protection from a Member State, who can be understood to seek refugee status or subsidiary protection status, and who does not explicitly request another kind of protection outside the scope of Directive 2011/95/EU, that can be applied for separately;
(c) “applicant” means a third-country national or stateless person who has made an application for international protection in respect of which a final decision has not yet been taken;
(d) “applicant in need of special procedural guarantees” means an applicant whose ability to benefit from the rights and comply with the obligations provided for in this Directive is limited due to individual circumstances;
(e) “final decision” means a decision on whether the third-country national or stateless person be granted refugee or subsidiary protection status by virtue of Directive 2011/95/EU and which is no longer subject to a remedy within the framework of Chapter V of this Directive, irrespective of whether such remedy has the effect of allowing applicants to remain in the Member States concerned pending its outcome;
(f) “determining authority“ means any quasi-judicial or administrative body in a Member State responsible for examining applications for international protection competent to take decisions at first instance in such cases;
(g) “refugee” means a third-country national or a stateless person who fulfils the requirements of Article 2(d) of Directive 2011/95/EU;
(h) “person eligible for subsidiary protection” means a third-country national or a stateless person who fulfils the requirements of Article 2(f) of Directive 2011/95/EU;
(i) “international protection” means refugee status and subsidiary protection status as defined in points (j) and (k);
(j) “refugee status” means the recognition by a Member State of a third-country national or a stateless person as a refugee;
(k) “subsidiary protection status” means the recognition by a Member State of a third-country national or a stateless person as a person eligible for subsidiary protection;
(l) “minor” means a third-country national or a stateless person below the age of 18 years;
(m) “unaccompanied minor” means an unaccompanied minor as defined in Article 2(l) of Directive 2011/95/EU;
(n) “representative” means a person or an organisation appointed by the competent bodies in order to assist and represent an unaccompanied minor in procedures provided for in this Directive with a view to ensuring the best interests of the child and exercising legal capacity for the minor where necessary. Where an organisation is appointed as a representative, it shall designate a person responsible for carrying out the duties of representative in respect of the unaccompanied minor, in accordance with this Directive;
(o) “withdrawal of international protection” means the decision by a competent authority to revoke, end or refuse to renew the refugee or subsidiary protection status of a person in accordance with Directive 2011/95/EU;
(p) “remain in the Member State” means to remain in the territory, including at the border or in transit zones, of the Member State in which the application for international protection has been made or is being examined;
(q) “subsequent application” means a further application for international protection made after a final decision has been taken on a previous application, including cases where the applicant has explicitly withdrawn his or her application and cases where the determining authority has rejected an application following its implicit withdrawal in accordance with Article 28(1).
- This Directive shall apply to all applications for international protection made in the territory, including at the border, in the territorial waters or in the transit zones of the Member States, and to the withdrawal of international protection.
- This Directive shall not apply to requests for diplomatic or territorial asylum submitted to representations of Member States.
- Member States may decide to apply this Directive in procedures for deciding on applications for any kind of protection falling outside of the scope of Directive 2011/95/EU.
- Member States shall designate for all procedures a determining authority which will be responsible for an appropriate examination of applications in accordance with this Directive. Member States shall ensure that such authority is provided with appropriate means, including sufficient competent personnel, to carry out its tasks in accordance with this Directive.
- Member States may provide that an authority other than that referred to in paragraph 1 shall be responsible for the purposes of:
(a) processing cases pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 604/2013; and
(b) granting or refusing permission to enter in the framework of the procedure provided for in Article 43, subject to the conditions as set out therein and on the basis of the reasoned opinion of the determining authority.
- Member States shall ensure that the personnel of the determining authority referred to in paragraph 1 are properly trained. To that end, Member States shall provide for relevant training which shall include the elements listed in Article 6 (4) (a) to (e) of Regulation (EU) No 439/2010. Member States shall also take into account the relevant training established and developed by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). Persons interviewing applicants pursuant to this Directive shall also have acquired general knowledge of problems which could adversely affect the applicants’ ability to be interviewed, such as indications that the applicant may have been tortured in the past.
- Where an authority is designated in accordance with paragraph 2, Member States shall ensure that the personnel of that authority have the appropriate knowledge or receive the necessary training to fulfil their obligations when implementing this Directive.
- Applications for international protection made in a Member State to the authorities of another Member State carrying out border or immigration controls there shall be dealt with by the Member State in whose territory the application is made.
More favourable provisions
Member States may introduce or retain more favourable standards on procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, insofar as those standards are compatible with this Directive.
CHAPTER II. BASIC PRINCIPLES AND GUARANTEES
Access to the procedure
- When a person makes an application for international protection to an authority competent under national law for registering such applications, the registration shall take place no later than three working days after the application is made.
If the application for international protection is made to other authorities which are likely to receive such applications, but not competent for the registration under national law, Member States shall ensure that the registration shall take place no later than six working days after the application is made.
Member States shall ensure that those other authorities which are likely to receive applications for international protection such as the police, border guards, immigration authorities and personnel of detention facilities have the relevant information and that their personnel receive the necessary level of training which is appropriate to their tasks and responsibilities and instructions to inform applicants as to where and how applications for international protection may be lodged.
- Member States shall ensure that a person who has made an application for international protection has an effective opportunity to lodge it as soon as possible. Where the applicant does not lodge his or her application, Member States may apply Article 28 accordingly.
- Without prejudice to paragraph 2, Member States may require that applications for international protection be lodged in person and/or at a designated place.
- Notwithstanding paragraph 3, an application for international protection shall be deemed to have been lodged once a form submitted by the applicant or, where provided for in national law, an official report, has reached the competent authorities of the Member State concerned.
- Where simultaneous applications for international protection by a large number of third-country nationals or stateless persons make it very difficult in practice to respect the time limit laid down in paragraph 1, Member States may provide for that time limit to be extended to 10 working days.
Applications made on behalf of dependants or minors
- Member States shall ensure that each adult with legal capacity has the right to make an application for international protection on his or her own behalf.
- Member States may provide that an application may be made by an applicant on behalf of his or her dependants. In such cases, Member States shall ensure that dependent adults consent to the lodging of the application on their behalf, failing which they shall have an opportunity to make an application on their own behalf.
Consent shall be requested at the time the application is lodged or, at the latest, when the personal interview with the dependent adult is conducted. Before consent is requested, each dependent adult shall be informed in private of the relevant procedural consequences of the lodging of the application on his or her behalf and of his or her right to make a separate application for international protection.
- Member States shall ensure that a minor has the right to make an application for international protection either on his or her own behalf, if he or she has the legal capacity to act in procedures according to the law of the Member State concerned, or through his or her parents or other adult family members, or an adult responsible for him or her, whether by law or by the practice of the Member State concerned, or through a representative.
- Member States shall ensure that the appropriate bodies referred to in Article 10 of Directive 2008/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals <*> have the right to lodge an application for international protection on behalf of an unaccompanied minor if, on the basis of an individual assessment of his or her personal situation, those bodies are of the opinion that the minor may have protection needs pursuant to Directive 2011/95/EU.
<*> OJ L 348, 24.12.2008, p. 98.
- Member States may determine in national legislation:
(a) the cases in which a minor can make an application on his or her own behalf;
(b) the cases in which the application of an unaccompanied minor has to be lodged by a representative as provided for in Article 25(1)(a);
(c) the cases in which the lodging of an application for international protection is deemed to constitute also the lodging of an application for international protection for any unmarried minor.
Information and counselling in detention facilities and at border crossing points
- Where there are indications that third-country nationals or stateless persons held in detention facilities or present at border crossing points, including transit zones, at external borders, may wish to make an application for international protection, Member States shall provide them with information on the possibility to do so. In those detention facilities and crossing points, Member States shall make arrangements for interpretation to the extent necessary to facilitate access to the asylum procedure.
- Member States shall ensure that organisations and persons providing advice and counselling to applicants have effective access to applicants present at border crossing points, including transit zones, at external borders. Member States may provide for rules covering the presence of such organisations and persons in those crossing points and in particular that access is subject to an agreement with the competent authorities of the Member States. Limits on such access may be imposed only where, by virtue of national law, they are objectively necessary for the security, public order or administrative management of the crossing points concerned, provided that access is not thereby severely restricted or rendered impossible.
Right to remain in the Member State pending the examination of the application
- Applicants shall be allowed to remain in the Member State, for the sole purpose of the procedure, until the determining authority has made a decision in accordance with the procedures at first instance set out in Chapter III. That right to remain shall not constitute an entitlement to a residence permit.
- Member States may make an exception only where a person makes a subsequent application referred to in Article 41 or where they will surrender or extradite, as appropriate, a person either to another Member State pursuant to obligations in accordance with a European arrest warrant <*> or otherwise, or to a third country or to international criminal courts or tribunals.
<*> Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States (OJ L 190, 18.7.2002, p. 1).
- A Member State may extradite an applicant to a third country pursuant to paragraph 2 only where the competent authorities are satisfied that an extradition decision will not result in direct or indirect refoulement in violation of the international and Union obligations of that Member State.
Requirements for the examination of applications
- Member States shall ensure that applications for international protection are neither rejected nor excluded from examination on the sole ground that they have not been made as soon as possible.
- When examining applications for international protection, the determining authority shall first determine whether the applicants qualify as refugees and, if not, determine whether the applicants are eligible for subsidiary protection.
- Member States shall ensure that decisions by the determining authority on applications for international protection are taken after an appropriate examination. To that end, Member States shall ensure that:
(a) applications are examined and decisions are taken individually, objectively and impartially;
(b) precise and up-to-date information is obtained from various sources, such as EASO and UNHCR and relevant international human rights organisations, as to the general situation prevailing in the countries of origin of applicants and, where necessary, in countries through which they have transited, and that such information is made available to the personnel responsible for examining applications and taking decisions;
(c) the personnel examining applications and taking decisions know the relevant standards applicable in the field of asylum and refugee law;
(d) the personnel examining applications and taking decisions have the possibility to seek advice, whenever necessary, from experts on particular issues, such as medical, cultural, religious, child-related or gender issues.
- The authorities referred to in Chapter V shall, through the determining authority or the applicant or otherwise, have access to the general information referred to in paragraph 3(b), necessary for the fulfilment of their task.
- Member States shall provide for rules concerning the translation of documents relevant for the examination of applications.
Requirements for a decision by the determining authority
- Member States shall ensure that decisions on applications for international protection are given in writing.
- Member States shall also ensure that, where an application is rejected with regard to refugee status and/or subsidiary protection status, the reasons in fact and in law are stated in the decision and information on how to challenge a negative decision is given in writing.
Member States need not provide information on how to challenge a negative decision in writing in conjunction with a decision where the applicant has been provided with such information at an earlier stage either in writing or by electronic means accessible to the applicant.
- For the purposes of Article 7(2), and whenever the application is based on the same grounds, Member States may take a single decision, covering all dependants, unless to do so would lead to the disclosure of particular circumstances of an applicant which could jeopardise his or her interests, in particular in cases involving gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or age-based persecution. In such cases, a separate decision shall be issued to the person concerned.
Guarantees for applicants
- With respect to the procedures provided for in Chapter III, Member States shall ensure that all applicants enjoy the following guarantees:
(a) they shall be informed in a language which they understand or are reasonably supposed to understand of the procedure to be followed and of their rights and obligations during the procedure and the possible consequences of not complying with their obligations and not cooperating with the authorities. They shall be informed of the time-frame, the means at their disposal for fulfilling the obligation to submit the elements as referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2011/95/EU, as well as of the consequences of an explicit or implicit withdrawal of the application. That information shall be given in time to enable them to exercise the rights guaranteed in this Directive and to comply with the obligations described in Article 13;
(b) they shall receive the services of an interpreter for submitting their case to the competent authorities whenever necessary. Member States shall consider it necessary to provide those services at least when the applicant is to be interviewed as referred to in Articles 14 to 17 and 34 and appropriate communication cannot be ensured without such services. In that case and in other cases where the competent authorities call upon the applicant, those services shall be paid for out of public funds;
(c) they shall not be denied the opportunity to communicate with UNHCR or with any other organisation providing legal advice or other counselling to applicants in accordance with the law of the Member State concerned;
(d) they and, if applicable, their legal advisers or other counsellors in accordance with Article 23(1), shall have access to the information referred to in Article 10(3)(b) and to the information provided by the experts referred to in Article 10(3)(d), where the determining authority has taken that information into consideration for the purpose of taking a decision on their application;
(e) they shall be given notice in reasonable time of the decision by the determining authority on their application. If a legal adviser or other counsellor is legally representing the applicant, Member States may choose to give notice of the decision to him or her instead of to the applicant;
(f) they shall be informed of the result of the decision by the determining authority in a language that they understand or are reasonably supposed to understand when they are not assisted or represented by a legal adviser or other counsellor. The information provided shall include information on how to challenge a negative decision in accordance with the provisions of Article 11(2).
- With respect to the procedures provided for in Chapter V, Member States shall ensure that all applicants enjoy guarantees equivalent to the ones referred to in paragraph 1(b) to (e).