The concept of first country of asylum
A country can be considered to be a first country of asylum for a particular applicant if:
(a) he or she has been recognised in that country as a refugee and he or she can still avail himself/herself of that protection; or
(b) he or she otherwise enjoys sufficient protection in that country, including benefiting from the principle of non-refoulement,
provided that he or she will be readmitted to that country.
In applying the concept of first country of asylum to the particular circumstances of an applicant, Member States may take into account Article 38(1). The applicant shall be allowed to challenge the application of the first country of asylum concept to his or her particular circumstances.
The concept of safe country of origin
- A third country designated as a safe country of origin in accordance with this Directive may, after an individual examination of the application, be considered as a safe country of origin for a particular applicant only if:
(a) he or she has the nationality of that country; or
(b) he or she is a stateless person and was formerly habitually resident in that country,
and he or she has not submitted any serious grounds for considering the country not to be a safe country of origin in his or her particular circumstances and in terms of his or her qualification as a beneficiary of international protection in accordance with Directive 2011/95/EU.
- Member States shall lay down in national legislation further rules and modalities for the application of the safe country of origin concept.
National designation of third countries as safe countries of origin
- Member States may retain or introduce legislation that allows, in accordance with Annex I, for the national designation of safe countries of origin for the purposes of examining applications for international protection.
- Member States shall regularly review the situation in third countries designated as safe countries of origin in accordance with this Article.
- The assessment of whether a country is a safe country of origin in accordance with this Article shall be based on a range of sources of information, including in particular information from other Member States, EASO, UNHCR, the Council of Europe and other relevant international organisations.
- Member States shall notify to the Commission the countries that are designated as safe countries of origin in accordance with this Article.
The concept of safe third country
- Member States may apply the safe third country concept only where the competent authorities are satisfied that a person seeking international protection will be treated in accordance with the following principles in the third country concerned:
(a) life and liberty are not threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion;
(b) there is no risk of serious harm as defined in Directive 2011/95/EU;
(c) the principle of non-refoulement in accordance with the Geneva Convention is respected;
(d) the prohibition of removal, in violation of the right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as laid down in international law, is respected; and
(e) the possibility exists to request refugee status and, if found to be a refugee, to receive protection in accordance with the Geneva Convention.
- The application of the safe third country concept shall be subject to rules laid down in national law, including:
(a) rules requiring a connection between the applicant and the third country concerned on the basis of which it would be reasonable for that person to go to that country;
(b) rules on the methodology by which the competent authorities satisfy themselves that the safe third country concept may be applied to a particular country or to a particular applicant. Such methodology shall include case-by-case consideration of the safety of the country for a particular applicant and/or national designation of countries considered to be generally safe;
(c) rules in accordance with international law, allowing an individual examination of whether the third country concerned is safe for a particular applicant which, as a minimum, shall permit the applicant to challenge the application of the safe third country concept on the grounds that the third country is not safe in his or her particular circumstances. The applicant shall also be allowed to challenge the existence of a connection between him or her and the third country in accordance with point (a).
- When implementing a decision solely based on this Article, Member States shall:
(a) inform the applicant accordingly; and
(b) provide him or her with a document informing the authorities of the third country, in the language of that country, that the application has not been examined in substance.
- Where the third country does not permit the applicant to enter its territory, Member States shall ensure that access to a procedure is given in accordance with the basic principles and guarantees described in Chapter II.
- Member States shall inform the Commission periodically of the countries to which this concept is applied in accordance with the provisions of this Article.
The concept of European safe third country
- Member States may provide that no, or no full, examination of the application for international protection and of the safety of the applicant in his or her particular circumstances as described in Chapter II shall take place in cases where a competent authority has established, on the basis of the facts, that the applicant is seeking to enter or has entered illegally into its territory from a safe third country according to paragraph 2.
- A third country can only be considered as a safe third country for the purposes of paragraph 1 where:
(a) it has ratified and observes the provisions of the Geneva Convention without any geographical limitations;
(b) it has in place an asylum procedure prescribed by law; and
(c) it has ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and observes its provisions, including the standards relating to effective remedies.
- The applicant shall be allowed to challenge the application of the concept of European safe third country on the grounds that the third country concerned is not safe in his or her particular circumstances.
- The Member States concerned shall lay down in national law the modalities for implementing the provisions of paragraph 1 and the consequences of decisions pursuant to those provisions in accordance with the principle of non-refoulement, including providing for exceptions from the application of this Article for humanitarian or political reasons or for reasons of public international law.
- When implementing a decision solely based on this Article, the Member States concerned shall:
(a) inform the applicant accordingly; and
(b) provide him or her with a document informing the authorities of the third country, in the language of that country, that the application has not been examined in substance.
- Where the safe third country does not readmit the applicant, Member States shall ensure that access to a procedure is given in accordance with the basic principles and guarantees described in Chapter II.
- Member States shall inform the Commission periodically of the countries to which this concept is applied in accordance with this Article.
- Where a person who has applied for international protection in a Member State makes further representations or a subsequent application in the same Member State, that Member State shall examine these further representations or the elements of the subsequent application in the framework of the examination of the previous application or in the framework of the examination of the decision under review or appeal, insofar as the competent authorities can take into account and consider all the elements underlying the further representations or subsequent application within this framework.
- For the purpose of taking a decision on the admissibility of an application for international protection pursuant to Article 33(2)(d), a subsequent application for international protection shall be subject first to a preliminary examination as to whether new elements or findings have arisen or have been presented by the applicant which relate to the examination of whether the applicant qualifies as a beneficiary of international protection by virtue of Directive 2011/95/EU.
- If the preliminary examination referred to in paragraph 2 concludes that new elements or findings have arisen or been presented by the applicant which significantly add to the likelihood of the applicant qualifying as a beneficiary of international protection by virtue of Directive 2011/95/EU, the application shall be further examined in conformity with Chapter II. Member States may also provide for other reasons for a subsequent application to be further examined.
- Member States may provide that the application will only be further examined if the applicant concerned was, through no fault of his or her own, incapable of asserting the situations set forth in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Article in the previous procedure, in particular by exercising his or her right to an effective remedy pursuant to Article 46.
- When a subsequent application is not further examined pursuant to this Article, it shall be considered inadmissible, in accordance with Article 33(2)(d).
- The procedure referred to in this Article may also be applicable in the case of:
(a) a dependant who lodges an application after he or she has, in accordance with Article 7(2), consented to have his or her case be part of an application lodged on his or her behalf; and/or
(b) an unmarried minor who lodges an application after an application has been lodged on his or her behalf pursuant to Article 7(5)(c).
In those cases, the preliminary examination referred to in paragraph 2 will consist of examining whether there are facts relating to the dependant’s or the unmarried minor’s situation which justify a separate application.
- Where a person with regard to whom a transfer decision has to be enforced pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 makes further representations or a subsequent application in the transferring Member State, those representations or subsequent applications shall be examined by the responsible Member State, as defined in that Regulation, in accordance with this Directive.
Exceptions from the right to remain in case of subsequent applications
- Member States may make an exception from the right to remain in the territory where a person:
(a) has lodged a first subsequent application, which is not further examined pursuant to Article 40(5), merely in order to delay or frustrate the enforcement of a decision which would result in his or her imminent removal from that Member State; or
(b) makes another subsequent application in the same Member State, following a final decision considering a first subsequent application inadmissible pursuant to Article 40(5) or after a final decision to reject that application as unfounded.
Member States may make such an exception only where the determining authority considers that a return decision will not lead to direct or indirect refoulement in violation of that Member State’s international and Union obligations.
- In cases referred to in paragraph 1, Member States may also:
(a) derogate from the time limits normally applicable in accelerated procedures, in accordance with national law, when the examination procedure is accelerated in accordance with Article 31(8)(g);
(b) derogate from the time limits normally applicable to admissibility procedures provided for in Articles 33 and 34, in accordance with national law; and/or
(c) derogate from Article 46(8).
- Member States shall ensure that applicants whose application is subject to a preliminary examination pursuant to Article 40 enjoy the guarantees provided for in Article 12(1).
- Member States may lay down in national law rules on the preliminary examination pursuant to Article 40. Those rules may, inter alia:
(a) oblige the applicant concerned to indicate facts and substantiate evidence which justify a new procedure;
(b) permit the preliminary examination to be conducted on the sole basis of written submissions without a personal interview, with the exception of the cases referred to in Article 40(6).
Those rules shall not render impossible the access of applicants to a new procedure or result in the effective annulment or severe curtailment of such access.
- Member States shall ensure that the applicant is informed in an appropriate manner of the outcome of the preliminary examination and, if the application is not to be further examined, of the reasons why and the possibilities for seeking an appeal or review of the decision.
- Member States may provide for procedures, in accordance with the basic principles and guarantees of Chapter II, in order to decide at the border or transit zones of the Member State on:
(a) the admissibility of an application, pursuant to Article 33, made at such locations; and/or
(b) the substance of an application in a procedure pursuant to Article 31(8).
- Member States shall ensure that a decision in the framework of the procedures provided for in paragraph 1 is taken within a reasonable time. When a decision has not been taken within four weeks, the applicant shall be granted entry to the territory of the Member State in order for his or her application to be processed in accordance with the other provisions of this Directive.
- In the event of arrivals involving a large number of third-country nationals or stateless persons lodging applications for international protection at the border or in a transit zone, which makes it impossible in practice to apply there the provisions of paragraph 1, those procedures may also be applied where and for as long as these third-country nationals or stateless persons are accommodated normally at locations in proximity to the border or transit zone.
CHAPTER IV. PROCEDURES FOR THE WITHDRAWAL OF INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION
Withdrawal of international protection
Member States shall ensure that an examination to withdraw international protection from a particular person may commence when new elements or findings arise indicating that there are reasons to reconsider the validity of his or her international protection.
- Member States shall ensure that, where the competent authority is considering withdrawing international protection from a third-country national or stateless person in accordance with Article 14 or 19 of Directive 2011/95/EU, the person concerned enjoys the following guarantees:
(a) to be informed in writing that the competent authority is reconsidering his or her qualification as a beneficiary of international protection and the reasons for such a reconsideration; and
(b) to be given the opportunity to submit, in a personal interview in accordance with Article 12(1)(b) and Articles 14 to 17 or in a written statement, reasons as to why his or her international protection should not be withdrawn.
- In addition, Member States shall ensure that within the framework of the procedure set out in paragraph 1:
(a) the competent authority is able to obtain precise and up-to-date information from various sources, such as, where appropriate, from EASO and UNHCR, as to the general situation prevailing in the countries of origin of the persons concerned; and
(b) where information on an individual case is collected for the purposes of reconsidering international protection, it is not obtained from the actor(s) of persecution or serious harm in a manner that would result in such actor(s) being directly informed of the fact that the person concerned is a beneficiary of international protection whose status is under reconsideration, or jeopardise the physical integrity of the person or his or her dependants, or the liberty and security of his or her family members still living in the country of origin.
- Member States shall ensure that the decision of the competent authority to withdraw international protection is given in writing. The reasons in fact and in law shall be stated in the decision and information on how to challenge the decision shall be given in writing.
- Once the competent authority has taken the decision to withdraw international protection, Article 20, Article 22, Article 23(1) and Article 29 are equally applicable.
- By way of derogation from paragraphs 1 to 4 of this Article, Member States may decide that international protection shall lapse by law where the beneficiary of international protection has unequivocally renounced his or her recognition as such. A Member State may also provide that international protection shall lapse by law where the beneficiary of international protection has become a national of that Member State.
CHAPTER V. APPEALS PROCEDURES
The right to an effective remedy
- Member States shall ensure that applicants have the right to an effective remedy before a court or tribunal, against the following:
(a) a decision taken on their application for international protection, including a decision:
(i) considering an application to be unfounded in relation to refugee status and/or subsidiary protection status;
(ii) considering an application to be inadmissible pursuant to Article 33(2);
(iii) taken at the border or in the transit zones of a Member State as described in Article 43(1);
(iv) not to conduct an examination pursuant to Article 39;
(b) a refusal to reopen the examination of an application after its discontinuation pursuant to Articles 27 and 28;
(c) a decision to withdraw international protection pursuant to Article 45.
- Member States shall ensure that persons recognised by the determining authority as eligible for subsidiary protection have the right to an effective remedy pursuant to paragraph 1 against a decision considering an application unfounded in relation to refugee status.
Without prejudice to paragraph 1(c), where the subsidiary protection status granted by a Member State offers the same rights and benefits as those offered by the refugee status under Union and national law, that Member State may consider an appeal against a decision considering an application unfounded in relation to refugee status inadmissible on the grounds of insufficient interest on the part of the applicant in maintaining the proceedings.
- In order to comply with paragraph 1, Member States shall ensure that an effective remedy provides for a full and ex nunc examination of both facts and points of law, including, where applicable, an examination of the international protection needs pursuant to Directive 2011/95/EU, at least in appeals procedures before a court or tribunal of first instance.
- Member States shall provide for reasonable time limits and other necessary rules for the applicant to exercise his or her right to an effective remedy pursuant to paragraph 1. The time limits shall not render such exercise impossible or excessively difficult.
Member States may also provide for an ex officio review of decisions taken pursuant to Article 43.
- Without prejudice to paragraph 6, Member States shall allow applicants to remain in the territory until the time limit within which to exercise their right to an effective remedy has expired and, when such a right has been exercised within the time limit, pending the outcome of the remedy.
- In the case of a decision:
(a) considering an application to be manifestly unfounded in accordance with Article 32(2) or unfounded after examination in accordance with Article 31(8), except for cases where these decisions are based on the circumstances referred to in Article 31(8)(h);
(b) considering an application to be inadmissible pursuant to Article 33(2)(a), (b) or (d);
(c) rejecting the reopening of the applicant’s case after it has been discontinued according to Article 28; or
(d) not to examine or not to examine fully the application pursuant to Article 39,
a court or tribunal shall have the power to rule whether or not the applicant may remain on the territory of the Member State, either upon the applicant’s request or acting ex officio, if such a decision results in ending the applicant’s right to remain in the Member State and where in such cases the right to remain in the Member State pending the outcome of the remedy is not provided for in national law.
- Paragraph 6 shall only apply to procedures referred to in Article 43 provided that:
(a) the applicant has the necessary interpretation, legal assistance and at least one week to prepare the request and submit to the court or tribunal the arguments in favour of granting him or her the right to remain on the territory pending the outcome of the remedy; and
(b) in the framework of the examination of the request referred to in paragraph 6, the court or tribunal examines the negative decision of the determining authority in terms of fact and law.
If the conditions referred to in points (a) and (b) are not met, paragraph 5 shall apply.
- Member States shall allow the applicant to remain in the territory pending the outcome of the procedure to rule whether or not the applicant may remain on the territory, laid down in paragraphs 6 and 7.
- Paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 shall be without prejudice to Article 26 of Regulation (EU) No 604/2013.
- Member States may lay down time limits for the court or tribunal pursuant to paragraph 1 to examine the decision of the determining authority.
- Member States may also lay down in national legislation the conditions under which it can be assumed that an applicant has implicitly withdrawn or abandoned his or her remedy pursuant to paragraph 1, together with the rules on the procedure to be followed.
- CHAPTER VI. GENERAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS
Challenge by public authorities
This Directive does not affect the possibility for public authorities of challenging the administrative and/or judicial decisions as provided for in national legislation.
Member States shall ensure that authorities implementing this Directive are bound by the confidentiality principle as defined in national law, in relation to any information they obtain in the course of their work.
Member States shall each appoint a national contact point and communicate its address to the Commission. The Commission shall communicate that information to the other Member States.
Member States shall, in liaison with the Commission, take all appropriate measures to establish direct cooperation and an exchange of information between the competent authorities.
When resorting to the measures referred to in Article 6(5), the second subparagraph of Article 14(1) and Article 31(3)(b), Member States shall inform the Commission as soon as the reasons for applying those exceptional measures have ceased to exist and at least on an annual basis. That information shall, where possible, include data on the percentage of the applications for which derogations were applied to the total number of applications processed during that period.
No later than 20 July 2017, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Directive in the Member States and shall propose any amendments that are necessary. Member States shall send to the Commission all the information that is appropriate for drawing up its report. After presenting the report, the Commission shall report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this Directive in the Member States at least every five years.
As part of the first report, the Commission shall also report, in particular, on the application of Article 17 and the various tools used in relation to the reporting of the personal interview.
- Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Articles 1 to 30, Article 31(1), (2) and (6) to (9), Articles 32 to 46, Articles 49 and 50 and Annex I by 20 July 2015 at the latest. They shall forthwith communicate the text of those measures to the Commission.
- Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with Article 31(3), (4) and (5) by 20 July 2018. They shall forthwith communicate the text of those measures to the Commission.
- When Member States adopt the provisions referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or be accompanied by such a reference on the occasion of their official publication. They shall also include a statement that references in existing laws, regulations and administrative provisions to the directive repealed by this Directive shall be construed as references to this Directive. Member States shall determine how such reference is to be made and how that statement is to be formulated.
- Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this Directive.
Member States shall apply the laws, regulations and administrative provisions referred to in Article 51(1) to applications for international protection lodged and to procedures for the withdrawal of international protection started after 20 July 2015 or an earlier date. Applications lodged before 20 July 2015 and procedures for the withdrawal of refugee status started before that date shall be governed by the laws, regulations and administrative provisions adopted pursuant to Directive 2005/85/EC.
Member States shall apply the laws, regulations and administrative provisions referred to in Article 51(2) to applications for international protection lodged after 20 July 2018 or an earlier date. Applications lodged before that date shall be governed by the laws, regulations and administrative provisions in accordance with Directive 2005/85/EC.
Directive 2005/85/EC is repealed for the Member States bound by this Directive with effect from 21 July 2015, without prejudice to the obligations of the Member States relating to the time limit for transposition into national law of the Directive set out in Annex II, Part B.
References to the repealed Directive shall be construed as references to this Directive and shall be read in accordance with the correlation table in Annex III.
Entry into force and application
This Directive shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Articles 47 and 48 shall apply from 21 July 2015.
This Directive is addressed to the Member States in accordance with the Treaties.
Done at Brussels, 26 June 2013.
DESIGNATION OF SAFE COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN FOR THE PURPOSES OF ARTICLE 37(1)
A country is considered as a safe country of origin where, on the basis of the legal situation, the application of the law within a democratic system and the general political circumstances, it can be shown that there is generally and consistently no persecution as defined in Article 9 of Directive 2011/95/EU, no torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and no threat by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict.
In making this assessment, account shall be taken, inter alia, of the extent to which protection is provided against persecution or mistreatment by:
(a) the relevant laws and regulations of the country and the manner in which they are applied;
(b) observance of the rights and freedoms laid down in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and/or the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights and/or the United Nations Convention against Torture, in particular the rights from which derogation cannot be made under Article 15(2) of the said European Convention;
(c) respect for the non-refoulement principle in accordance with the Geneva Convention;
(d) provision for a system of effective remedies against violations of those rights and freedoms.