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Dublin II Regulation

The objective of this Regulation is to identify as quickly as possible the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application, and to prevent abuse of asylum procedures.

ACT

Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 of 18 February 2003 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national.

SUMMARY

This Regulation establishes the principle that only one Member State is responsible for examining an asylum application. The objective is to avoid asylum seekers from being sent from one country to another, and also to prevent abuse of the system by the submission of several applications for asylum by one person.

The objective and hierarchical criteria are therefore defined in order to identify the Member State responsible for each asylum application.

Criteria

The criteria are to be applied in the order in which they are presented in the Regulation and on the basis of the situation existing when the asylum seeker first lodged his/her application with a Member State.

  • Principle of family unity

Where the asylum seeker is an unaccompanied minor, the Member State responsible for examining his/her application is the Member State where a member of his/her family is legally present, provided that this is in the best interest of the minor. In the absence of a family member, the Member State responsible is that where the minor has lodged his/her application for asylum.

For adults, where the asylum seeker has a family member who has been allowed to reside as a refugee in a Member State, or if the application for this person is underway, that Member State will be responsible for examining the asylum application, provided that the person concerned so desires.

In addition, asylum applications submitted simultaneously or on close dates by several members of a family can be examined together.

  • Issuance of residence permits or visas

Where the asylum seeker is in possession of a valid residence document or visa, the Member State that issued it will be responsible for examining the asylum application. Where the asylum seeker is in possession of more than one valid residence document or visa issued by different Member States, the responsibility for examining the asylum application will be assumed by the Member State that issued the residence document conferring the right to the longest period of residency.

The same rules apply where the asylum seeker is in possession of one or more residence documents that expired less than two years earlier or one or more visas that expired less than six months earlier, but where the asylum seeker has not left the territories of the Member States.

  • Illegal entry or stay in a Member State

Where the asylum seeker has irregularly crossed the border into a Member State, that Member State will be responsible for examining the asylum application. This responsibility ceases 12 months after the date on which the border has been illegally crossed.

When the asylum seeker has been living for a continuous period of at least five months in a Member State before lodging his/her asylum application, that Member State becomes responsible for examining the application. Where the applicant has been living for a period of time of at least five months in several Member States, the Member State where he/she lived most recently shall be responsible for examining the application.

  • Legal entry in a Member State

Where a third-country national applies for asylum in a Member State where he/she is not subject to a visa requirement, that Member State will be responsible for examining the asylum application.

  • Application in an international transit area of an airport

Where a third-country national applies for asylum in an international transit area of an airport of a Member State, that Member State shall be responsible for examining the application.

Exceptions

If no Member State can be designated on the basis of the criteria listed, the first Member State with which the asylum application was lodged will be responsible for examining it.

At the request of another Member State, any Member State may accept to examine an asylum application for humanitarian reasons based in part on family or cultural considerations, provided that the persons concerned consent.

Taking charge of the asylum applicant

The Member State designated as responsible for the asylum application must take charge of the applicant and process the application.

If a Member State to which an asylum application was submitted deems that another Member State is responsible, it can call on that Member State to take charge of the application. A request to take charge or to take back should provide all the information for the Member State requested to determine whether it is actually responsible. Where the requested State accepts to take charge of or to take back the person concerned, a reasoned decision stating that the application is inadmissible in the State in which it was lodged and that there is the obligation to transfer the asylum seeker to the Member State responsible is sent to the applicant.

Context

The Dublin II Regulation replaces the 1990 Dublin Convention which set the criteria relating to a country responsible for processing an asylum application. All EU Member States shall apply the Regulation, including Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 343/2003

17.3.2003

-

OJ L 50 of 25.2.2003

RELATED ACTS

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council 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 (Recast) [COM(2008) 820 final/2 – Not published in the Official Journal].
This proposal to amend the Dublin II Regulation aims to enhance the system's efficiency and to ensure that the needs of applicants for international protection are comprehensively addressed under the responsibility determination procedure. Moreover, in line with the Policy Plan on Asylum, the proposal is aimed at addressing situations of particular pressure on Member States' reception capacities and asylum systems, as well as situations where there is an inadequate level of protection for applicants for international protection.
Codecision procedure (COD/2008/0243)

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the evaluation of the Dublin system [COM(2007) 299 final – Official Journal C 191 of 17.8.2007].
According to the Commission, the objectives of the Dublin system have, on the whole, been achieved. The Commission explains that, owing to the lack of precise data from the Member States, it has not been able to evaluate the cost of the system, and that some concerns remain in terms of both the practical application and the effectiveness of the system.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

Last updated: 18.11.2011
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