Useful information regarding the (legal) proceedings in connections with the applicants for the international protection and foreigners

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1. The proceeding with applicants for international protection

The main law governing the proceeding for obtaining international protection and the content of international protection in the Republic of Slovenia is International Protection Act (Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia No. 16/17 and further changes).

For the matters of the international protection at the first instance that are not regulated by this Act, a more general regulation applies – General Administrative Procedure Act (Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia No. 24/06 105/06 – ZUS-1, 126/07, 65/08, 8/10 in 82/13 and further changes).

What is international protection?

International protection is also called asylum. In the Republic of Slovenia, there are two kinds of international protection:

  • refugee status and
  • subsidiary protection status.

For what reasons can I get the refugee status?

Refugee status is granted to persons who have well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, political opinions, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or being part of a particular social group.

For what reasons can I get the subsidiary protection status?

Subsidiary protection can be obtained if you do not qualify for refugee status, but return to your country of origin would cause you serious harm (such as death, execution, torture, etc.).

2. Preliminary procedure – intention to file an application for international protection

In the Republic of Slovenia, only third country nationals can apply for international protection. (Third country nationals means that you are not Slovenian or any other EU country national.) The procedure is divided into two parts; the applicant first expresses thier intention to file an application for international protection, and subsequently on this basis, the applicant submits an application for international protection.

The intention to file an application for international protection can be made to any state or local government body upon arrival in the Republic of Slovenia. Since 2010, the application for international protection can no longer be submitted at the Slovenian diplomatic and consular representations abroad.

The authority where the foreigner has expressed an intention to file an application for international protection is obliged to inform the competent authority for international protection in the Republic of Slovenia. That is the Ministry of the Interior.

In practice, people frequently express intention to file an application for international protection to the police officers when they arrest them for entering the Republic of Slovenia without required documents and/or by avoiding official border crossings via land border with Croatia, or to the police at Ljubljana Airport after arriving to Slovenia by plane.

Between the time of expression of the intention to file an application for international protection and the actual submission of the application, the applicant must not be removed from the Republic of Slovenia. In a case of  crossing of the state border without required documents and/or by avoiding official border crossings, the proceedings for an offense are suspended until the completion of the international protection procedure (and if the procedure ends with the recognition of the status of international protection, the foreigner will not be punished).

After the intention to file an application for international protection is given and before the application is submitted, a procedure with a foreigner is conducted at the police station, if necessary with the assistance of an interpreter. During this procedure the police determinate the applicants identity as well as the route they took to come to the Republic of Slovenia, while the applicant gives a brief statement explaining what are their reasons for applying for the international protection and other basic personal data (the so-called “registration form” should be filled in). The police are required to provide an interpreter to carry out the process.

After the completion of the procedure at the police station, the applicant is taken to an accommodation institution for applicants for international protection – the Asylum Centre in Ljubljana, where the procedure of international protection at first instance begins.

If a foreigner had entered the Republic of Slovenia with counterfeit or forged documents required for entering the Republic of Slovenia, criminal proceedings may be instituted against them in accordance with the third paragraph of Article 251 of the Criminal Code (Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia No. 6/16, 54/15, 38/16 in 27/17 and further changes), regardless of the fact that they express their intention to file an application for international protection without delay. These procedures most often end with the use of the institute of suspensive procedure, but in some cases (especially if the identity of the applicant was not confirmed) also trough the execution of the entire criminal procedure and the final judgment. Several non-governmental organisations  warned the General Prosecutor’s Office as well as the local State Prosecutors about this practice, as it is, in the view of those non-governmental organisations, the result of a misinterpretation of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Geneva, 28.07.1951). The inadequacy of this practice is found in an example of refugees from Syria, who had to, before entering the application procedure, in the case of the suspensive procedure, transfer a minimum of 250 euros to the public institutions or humanitarian organisations that are listed on the General Prosecutor’s Office list (General Instructions for the Uniform Application of the Provisions of Article 162 of the Criminal Procedure Act on Suspension of Law Enforcement, page 3222, available at: https://www.uradni-list.si/1/content?id=102955).

2.2 The procedure at the first instance

2.2.1 Submission of an application for international protection

The Ministry of Interior manages the procedure of obtaining international protection at the first instance. Internal organization unit of the Ministry of Interior that manages international protection proceedings is called the Migration Office, which is part of the Migration and Naturalisation Directorate. The Migration Office is further subdivided into the Reception and Support Division and the Integration Division, which is responsible for accommodating applicants for international protection and the integration of persons with recognized international protection, and the Status Division, which is responsible for the substantive decisions on applications for international protection.

Prior to making the request, foreigners undergo a medical examination at the Asylum Centre to prevent the potential spread of disease an applicant might have and to determine the applicant’s medical condition.

It is important for the applicant to draw attention to those health problems resulting from their persecution.

The staff also takes a photo of the applicant as well as fingerprints for the purpose of verification at the EURODAC base. Persons under the age of 14 are not fingerprinted.

Before the start of the procedure, unaccompanied minors are placed with legal representatives, which are present at the application procedure and at any subsequent actions of the procedure.

Unaccompanied minors and unaccompanied children as those who have been separated from both parents and other relatives and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so. (Definition of the UN Committee of the Rights of a Child)

At the first instance, the International Protection Act does not provide free legal representation of applicants, however the legal representation is provided by a non-governmental organisation founded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Found. In addition to legal representation, the non-governmental organisation also provides the applicants with information regarding the course of the international protection procedure and their rights and duties.

Information will be provided through an interpreter in a language the applicant understands.

After the medical examination, taking a photograph and fingerprints, as well as informing the applicants, they apply for international protection (the so-called first interview). The procedure is conducted by an official of the Ministry of Interior, who first asks the applicants for their personal data and the information on the route they took from the country of origin to the Republic of Slovenia. This is followed by the main part of the application, where the applicant independently gives a statement of the reasons for the application. Finally, the statement may be supplemented by additional questions form the official and the legal representative of minors, if present.

            The applicant is asked about:

  • Their personal information;
  • Routh they took form their country of origin to the Republic of Slovenia;
  • Their personal documents (ID, passport, …);
  • Information about their family members;
  • Information about potential prior applications for international protection in the Republic of Slovenia or any other country;
  • The reasons why they  are applying for international protection.

During the first interview, it is very important that:

  • The applicant actively participates;
  • The applicant accurately and truthfully states their story;
  • When describing the important events, the applicant tells when and where they occurred;
  • The applicant pays particular attention to explaining why they would be at risk if they returns to their country of origin;
  • If the officer calls for some evidence (documents, photographs … that apply to applicants situation and the reasons why they had to leave their country of origin), the applicant must pay attention to the deadline set for submission of those evidence.

The procedure is conducted with the help of an interpreter who, at the end of the interview, orally translates the contents to the applicant, who can comment on them and the comments are recorded. By signing the record, the foreign gains the status of an applicant for international protection in the Republic of Slovenia.

It is important for the applicant to remember as accurately as possible what they told at the first interview, as similar, but more precise questions will follow at the second interview – this will confirm their credibility.

After the application is made, the applicant’s fingerprints are entered into the EURODAC database. EURODAC database is the European Union (EU) fingerprint database for identifying asylum seekers and irregular border-crossers over the age of 14. This enables authorities to determine whether asylum seekers have already applied for asylum in another EU member state or have travelled through another EU member state without required documents and/or by avoiding official border crossings (“principle of first contact”).

If, in accordance with the Dublin Regulation, another EU Member State is recognized as competent (that is to say this Member State is responsible for that applicant), the Ministry of the Interior issues a Dublin decision terminating the procedure in the Republic of Slovenia and (after its finality) the applicant is transferred the other competent Member State.

2.2.2 Accommodation in the Asylum Home and restriction of movement

During the procedure, the applicants are housed in the Asylum Centre in Ljubljana, the capital of the Republic of Slovenia. Prior to submitting the application (and the medical examination), foreigners are first housed in the reception rooms of the Asylum Centre, separately from the applicants who have already submitted their applications (usually for a day, exceptionally longer).

Upon placement in the reception rooms applicants are required to sign a statement written in a language they understand. By signing the statement, the applicant confirms that they are aware that leaving these premises means that they no longer wants international protection in the Republic of Slovenia.

After the application is submitted, they are moved to the main part of the Asylum Centre, which is divided into separate sections for adult men, minors and women and families. In addition to Ljubljana, the Asylum Centre has its department also in Logatec.

In addition to accommodation, applicants for international protection are entitled to free food, clothing and footwear, basic hygiene supplies and a monthly allowance (currently in the amount of 18 euros). In certain cases specified by law, the applicant may be housed, instead of being housed in the Asylum Centre, in other suitable institution or at a private address. Applicants are entitled to emergency treatment and they may, in individual cases, on a case-by-case basis, receive a wider range of treatment. They are also entitled to education, and, if nine months have passed since the submission of the application and other statutory conditions are also fulfilled, to employment and work.

The applicant gets an ID card with their photo proving their status as an applicant for international protection. During the procedure the applicant can move freely within the territory of the Republic of Slovenia, but must obtain a permit each time, they want to spend a night outside the Asylum Centre. If the applicant leaves the Asylum Centre arbitrarily and does not return within three days, their application is deemed withdrawn and the international protection procedure is terminated.

In statutory cases, the Ministry of Interior may issue a decision that restricts movement of an applicant. Order of the Ministry of the Interior may be issued when the movement restriction is necessary because of:

  • identification of the applicant,
  • suspicion of misrepresentation or misuse of procedure,
  • endangering the lives of others or property,
  • carrying out the Dublin procedure and handing over the applicant to the competent country.

Movement of the applicant may be restricted to three months with the possibility of a one-month extension (maximum total duration of four months). Applicants with the restriction of movement are housed at the Aliens Centre in Postojna, which is a closed-type police accommodation primarily intended to accommodate aliens in return procedures. As a milder measure compared to accommodation at the Aliens Centre, the Ministry of the Interior may restrict the applicant’s movement to the Asylum Centre area (accommodating them in the Asylum Centre by prohibiting them from leaving). Unaccompanied minors may be restricted to movement only in the Asylum Centre and not by accommodation at the Aliens Centre. With the exception of free movement, applicants whose movement has been restricted are entitled to the same scope of rights as other applicants.

Where the intention to seek international protection is expressed by a person who is accommodated as a foreigner in a return procedure at the Aliens Centre, they will not normally move to the Asylum Centre after the application is submitted. The Ministry of Interior takes the application for international protection at the premises of the Aliens Centre and then issues a restriction on movement (on suspicion of deception and misuse of procedure), so that the person remains as an applicant for international protection at the Aliens Centre for the duration of the restriction measure.

2.2.3 Regular and accelerated procedure

If, upon submission of the request, the Ministry of the Interior decides that it will rule on the matter (that is, the Ministry does not issue a Dublin or safe third country decision), the matter is assigned to the decision maker at the Division for Status Affairs. After examining the case, the decision maker invites the applicant to a personal interview (the second interview). At the personal interview, the decision maker details the reasons for obtaining international protection provided by the applicant in the application and any other facts and circumstances that may be relevant to the decision. At the end of the personal interview, the applicant may also be asked questions by the legal representative, if present, and the proxy. The process is conducted through an interpreter, who, at the end of the interview, orally translate the contents of the report to the applicant, on which they may comment.

The decision may be reached by the decision-maker in an accelerated procedure without conducting a personal interview, where they can accept the request based on available evidence or they may reject it as manifestly ill-founded. In order to reject an application as manifestly ill-founded, statutory reasons must be given (analogous to the reasons referred to in Article 23 (4) of the Procedural Directive).

Accelerated procedure is shortened procedure in which the applicant’s request may be rejected for many different reasons. These are some of the reasons:

  • if the applicant came to the Republic of Slovenia solely for economic reasons;
  • if the applicant stated in the application only insufficient, irrelevant and negligible facts;
  • if the applicant does not qualify for international protection;
  • if the applicant misrepresents the reasons for international protection;
  • if the applicant refuses to take their fingerprints and refuses to be photographed;
  • if the applicant did not submit the application  as soon as possible;
  • if the applicant submitted the application only to delay or prevent their removal from the Republic of Slovenia;
  • if the applicant substantiated their application on the basis of forged documents;
  • if the applicant intentionally destroyed or disposed of their identification document or other documents;
  • if the applicant has previously submitted a different application stating other personal data;
  • if the applicant originates from safe country of origin;
  •  if the applicant commits a crime of endangering the national security or public order and has been banned from the country and the deadline for entering in the European Union has not yet expired;
  • if the applicant has concealed that they have previously applied for international protection;
  • if the applicant, before the decision on his application was made, tried to  enter another country without required documents and/or by avoiding official border crossings

The applicant may file all the evidence supporting his application within the time limit set for them in the application procedure. If there is a second interview (personal interview), until the end of the second interview. All submitted documentation, including any information about the country of origin,  can be submitted in a foreign language. The Ministry of Interior will translate the documentation without any charge for the applicant.

After conducting a personal interview and before issuing the decision, the decision maker sends the applicant country of origin information based on which they intend to justify their decision. The applicant may submit their comments on the submitted information within the set deadline.

2.2.4 Decision

Third-country nationals in the Republic of Slovenia may obtain two different international protection statuses – (a) refugee status or (b) subsidiary protection status. The conditions for granting one or the other status are analogous to those of the Qualification Directive (Articles 13 and 18).

The decision maker establishes the conditions for granting international protection in a single procedure, first assessing the conditions for granting refugee status and only, if not fulfilled, the conditions for granting subsidiary protection status.

Refugee status is granted to a person (a) without a time limit and the subsidiary protection status is granted for a (b) fixed period (different from case to case, usually for a period of one to three years) with the possibility of extension.

In addition, the extent of the rights of persons with subsidiary protection status are equal to persons with refugee status.

Rejection of the application for international protection (negative decision) may be reached by rejecting the application after the case has been assessed in the ordinary procedure or rejecting the application as manifestly ill-founded in an accelerated procedure.

            The following shall be taken into account when deciding on an application:

  • information and statements from the application,
  • information obtained at the personal interview,
  • evidence and documentation provided by the applicant,
  • evidence obtained by the Migration Office,
  • documentation obtained prior to the submission of the application,
  • general and specific country of origin information.

It is advised to submit all the evidence as soon as the application for international protection is submitted. If the applicant obtains the evidence during the procedure,they should present it to the officials as soon as possible.

The applicant should state specifically the facts and circumstances that led them to leave the country of origin. Always tell the truth. The applicant should not rely on the need to say something unless the official asks. The applicant is required to state all the facts justifying the fear of persecution or serious harm. In case the applicant does not understand the question, they should ask for further clarifications.

Applicants receive the decisions as soon as possible. In practice, that means several days (in the accelerated procedure) to several months (in the ordinary course of the procedure). Applicants shall receive written decisions in the Slovenian language. A summary is provided in a language that the applicant understands.

The applicant receives the decision in person, unless they have a proxy. In that case, the proxy is obliged to inform the applicant.

In the case of a negative decision, the applicant has the right to judicial protection.

2.3 Judicial proceedings

There are no appeals against decisions issued in the international protection procedure; the remedy available to the applicants is an administrative dispute – a judicial review of an issued administrative act, which is initiated by the filing of a lawsuit against the Ministry of the Interior. In the court proceedings, the applicant acts as the plaintiff and the Ministry of the Interior as the defendant. The lawsuit is decided by the Administrative Court of the Republic of Slovenia based in Ljubljana.

Refugee counsellors are available for free to applicants in accordance with the International Protection Act to bring a lawsuit and represent them in court. These are law graduates appointed to the position of refugee counsellors by the Ministry of Justice on the basis of a public call for tenders who have completed education and examinations in the field of international protection.

A list of refugee counsellors: https://spvt.mp.gov.si/imenik-svetovalcev-za-azil-begunce.html.

Typical examples of decisions against which an applicant may file an administrative dispute are:

  • the negative decision was issued in the ordinary course of action (deadline for submission of a lawsuit is 15 days)
  • the negative decision was issued in an accelerated procedure (the deadline for submission of a lawsuit is 8 days),
  • decision on restriction of movement (deadline for submission of a lawsuit is 3 days),
  • Dublin decision (deadline for submission of a lawsuit is 8 days) and
  • safe third party decision (deadline for submission of a lawsuit is 8 days).

A lawsuit against a negative decision suspends the execution of the contested act, but in all other cases, the action does not suspend execution. In such cases, the applicant may prevent enforcement (especially removal from the country) by requesting, together with the lawsuit, suspension of the contested act.

As a rule, the Administrative Court decides on the case based on written documentation and does not call a hearing in the case. The exception to this is the restriction of procedures in which an oral hearing of the applicant is required by law.

If the Administrative Court upholds the action, it annuls the decision. When further proceedings or further decisions are required in a case, as a rule, the court does not decide independently, but returns the case to the Ministry of the Interior for reconsideration.

2.3.1 The Supreme Court

The parties (the applicant and the Ministry of the Interior) may appeal against the judgment of the Administrative Court to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia within 15 days. The appeal shall suspend the execution of the judgment pending the decision of the Supreme Court.

Refugee counsellors are available for free for applicants to help them file the appeals and represent them before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court upholds or dismisses the appeal. In cases where further proceedings or further adjudication are required, the Supreme Court, as a rule, not only adopts a decision, but returns the case to a first-instance court or to the Ministry of the Interior.

An appeal to the Supreme Court is the highest ordinary legal remedy available to applicants, which is why by exhaustion thereof the procedure for international protection is finalized.

2.3.2 Constitutional Court

A constitutional appeal may be lodged with the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia against a judgment of the Supreme Court within 15 days. The constitutional complaint alleges a violation of a specific human right or fundamental freedom in the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, which is reached by the impugned decision or order.

The filing of a constitutional complaint does not in itself delay the execution of the impugned decision or order, but the Constitutional Court may order the suspension of the execution if the execution could have  damaging consequences, which would be difficult to remedy.

By issuing a decision of the Constitutional Court, all legal remedies available in the Republic of Slovenia have been exhausted.

3. The proceeding with foreigners who do not apply for international protection

Entry and stay in the Republic of Slovenia is regulated by the Foreigners Act (Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia No. 9/18 and 62/19 and further changes) which also defines procedures with persons who enter into the Republic of Slovenia illegally and thus stay in Slovenia according to the provisions of this Act is illegal.

All foreigners must have a valid travel document, visa or residence permit (entry address) to enter, leave and stay in the Republic of Slovenia. The law does not regulate a humanitarian visa.

Illegal entry into the Republic of Slovenia is an entry beyond the border control (border crossing), entry across the green border or use of a forged, foreign or otherwise modified passport and other documents required for entry, or if a person gives false information to the border control authorities.

In the event that the foreign is intercepted during the illegal crossing of the state border or in connection with it, the police may return the foreign on the basis of so called readmission agreements. Readmission agreements of foreign who is residing illegally are used to return a foreign from EU Member States to the country of transit or country of origin. These procedures are short and speedy and must be carried out without a written decision within 72 hours of the arrest. In such procedures, the police surrender the alien to the security authorities of the receiving country; in the case of Slovenia, this is mostly Croatia.

If a foreigner cannot be returned under these agreements, they are accommodated at the Postojna Aliens Centre and issued a return decision. The Police can issue two types of return decisions, namely a decision setting a deadline for a foreigner to leave the country (the so-called voluntary return decision) and a decision on a (forced) return if the foreigner did not leave within the voluntary return deadline and if, in the case of individual treatment, at the very outset of the proceedings, reasons are given indicating the dangers of escape and the reasons for public order, public security and national security.

The police may also order a restriction of entry into the Republic of Slovenia from six months to five years by a forced return decision.

4. Permission to remain in the Republic of Slovenia

Foreigners who have not applied for international protection and who do not yet have a residence in the Republic of Slovenia may be, under certain condition, retained in the Republic of Slovenia. Mostly, when it is not possible for them to be returned to their country of origin:

  • the foreigner’s removal from the country with the principle of non-refoulement (explained below) is not allowed,
  • the foreigner does not have and cannot obtain a valid passport of the country of their origin,
  • due to the foreigner’s medical condition, the doctor does not recommend immediate removal from the country,
  • the foreigner has to prolong the permitted residence in the country due to the death or serious illness of a family member residing in the Republic of Slovenia,
  • it is necessary to ensure the urgent participation of a foreigner in proceedings before a state body of the Republic of Slovenia,
  • a minor foreigner stays in the Republic of Slovenia and attends primary school until the end of the school year,
  • acountry is not willing to accept a foreigner of which he is a national or in which they has the last known residence as a stateless person,
  • removal is not possible as it is not possible to guarantee the transportation of a foreigner from the country by land, air or water,
  • removal is not possible because circumstances such as natural and other disasters that prevent return are occurring in the country of origin,
  • in the case of an unaccompanied minor foreigner, where non-removal is required by their guardian in a specific case.

The permission to remain in the Republic of Slovenia is issued by the police at the request of the foreigner or ex officio for a period of six months. The permission may be renewed at the request of the foreigner or ex officio for the reasons referred to in the previous paragraph. A foreigner who is allowed to stay in the Republic of Slovenia is issued a police card with a permission to remain in the Republic of Slovenia.

Persons who are allowed to stay in the Republic of Slovenia are entitled to emergency health care, basic care (financial social assistance), as well as the right to primary education for the minors.

The principle of non-refoulement in accordance with the Slovenian law and the principles of customary international law means the obligation of the Republic of Slovenia not to remove a foreigner to a country in which their life or their freedom would be endangered due to race, religion, nationality, affiliation with a particular social group or political belief or to a country where they may be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

5. The Dublin Regulation

The Dublin Regulation is an EU Regulation No. 604/2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (also called the Dublin III). The application is handled by a single Member State, the one that is responsible according to the criteria of the Regulation.

The Dublin procedure: based on fingerprints of the applicant it is verified if the applicant for international protection already applied in any other country of the European Union. If so, your application will be dealt with in the so-called Dublin procedure.

This is the procedure for determining which country is responsible for examining the application. If this it is not the Republic of Slovenia, the applicant is handed over to a country which is responsible (for example: if an applicant has previous asked for international protection in Austria, Austria is responsible for handling their application, and the applicant will be returned to Austria).

There are also other reasons under which the application will not be handled in the Republic of Slovenia.

The fact that a particular application will not be dealt with in the Republic of Slovenia is written on an order. This order may be brought before the Administrative Court of the Republic of Slovenia. However, the lawsuit will not prevent a return to the country responsible for handling the case.

Where it is not possible to determine a responsible country on the basis of these criteria, the first country in which an application for international protection has been lodged is responsible. Each country has the right to send an applicant to a safe third country when this is in accordance with the rules and safeguards laid down in Directive 2013/32/EU.

The country responsible for these criteria is determined on the basis of the situation that existed when the applicant first applied for international protection. The criteria are applied in order.

5.1 Minors

The best interests of the child are taken into account.

Minors are represented by legal representatives who are professionally trained and qualified to ensure that the best interests of the child are respected.

Countries shall take particular account of:

  • the possibility of family reunification,
  • the well-being and social development of the minor,
  • safety and security, especially when there is a risk of a minor being a victim of trafficking in human beings,
  • opinion of a minor in accordance with their age and maturity.

The country responsible for the unaccompanied minor is the country in which the minor’s family member or brother or sister is legally present, provided the child’s best interests are met. In this process of  determining which country is responsible, the assistance of an international or other relevant organization (e.g. the Red Cross) is sought. If the relatives are in several different countries, the responsible country is determined based on the maximum benefit of the unaccompanied minor.

Where an unaccompanied minor has a relative who is legally residing in another country, and it is determined on an individual basis that the relative can take care of them, the country shall unite the unaccompanied minor with their relative if it is in the best interests of the child.

In the absence of a family member, brother, sister or relative, the unaccompanied minor is the responsibility of the country in which they sought international protection, in accordance with to their best interests. (So they are not handed to another country, even if they have applied for international protection in another country. This is an exception.)

5.2 Family members, who are entitled to the international protection

Where an applicant has a family member, irrespective of whether the family was previously established in the country of origin and is the applicant is entitled to reside in the country as a beneficiary of international protection, that country shall be responsible for dealing with family reunification, provided that the applicant express a request in writing.

5.3 Family members, who are applicants for international protection

Where the applicant has a family member in another EU member state and the family member’s application for international protection has not yet went through the first substantive decision in a that country, that country shall be responsible for examining the application for international protection, provided that the persons concerned have made such request in writing.

5.4 Family procedure

Where several family members and/or underage unmarried siblings simultaneously submit applications for international protection to the same country or at dates close enough for the processes to be carried out jointly and where the application of the criteria of the regulation would mean their separation, the responsible country is the country responsible for accepting the largest number of persons concerned or, failing that, the one responsible for the oldest of those according to the criteria.

5.5 Issuance of residence documents or visas

Where an applicant holds a valid residence document, the responsible country is the one that issued this document.

Where the applicant holds a valid visa, the country which issued the visa is the responsible one (or the country for which it was issued, for example, when the Austrian Embassy issues a visa to the Republic of Slovenia, the Republic of Slovenia has the responsibility).

Where the applicant holds more than one valid residence or visa document:

  • it is the responsibility of the country which issued the residence document granting the longest duration of residence, or, if the validity periods are the same, or it is the responsibility of the country which issued such documents with  the latest expiry date;
  • in the case of different visas of the same type, it is the responsibility of the country which issued the visa with the latest expiry date;
  • where visas are of different types, the issuing country with the longest validity period or, where the validity periods are the same, the State with the latest date of issuing such documents shall be the responsible one.

5.6 Entering into the country and/or residence

Where, on the basis of evidence or circumstances, the applicant is found to have crossed the border by land, sea or air illegally on arrival from a third country, the responsibility of the country into which they entered in this manner is the responsible country  for examining the application for international protection. The responsibility expires 12 months after the date of illegal crossing of the border.

If the country can no longer be held responsible and if, on the basis of evidence or circumstances, it is established that the applicant – who entered the territory of the country illegally or for whom the circumstances of entry cannot be determined – has lived continuously in the country before applying for international protection for at least five months, that country shall be responsible for examining the application for international protection.

If they have lived in different countries for at least five months, the country in which they last lived is responsible for their application.

5.7 Entry without a visa obligation

If the applicant enters the territory of a country which is not subject to the visa requirement, that country is responsible for the application.

5.8 Application for international protection in the international transit area of the airport

Where a third-country national or a stateless person applies for international protection in the international airport of the country of destination, that country is responsible for the application.

6. The discretionary clause

Each country may decide to examine an application for international protection lodged with it by a third-country national or a stateless person, even if such treatment is not its responsibility in accordance with the criteria of the Dublin Regulation.

7. Admission and readmission procedure

The process of designating a responsible country for examining the application begins as soon as the application for international protection is first filed in one country – .e. when the applicant actually made the request on the record before an official at the Asylum Centre.

Where the country in which the application for international protection was lodged considers that another country is responsible for examining the application, it may, as soon as possible and in any event within three months from the date of application (or within two months, in the case when fingerprints are already in the EURODAC system), require the other country to accept the applicant.

In the absence of a request for admission within this period, the country in which the application was lodged is responsible for examining the application for international protection.

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