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Questions on the Dublin Agreement answered – what does it mean for asylum seekers?

The Dublin agreement is a European Law that determines which country is responsible for examining an asylum application which is normal the country the asylum seeker first entered Europe.

This aim of this is to make sure applicants don’t apply severally to different countries seeking asylum in different Dublin states. These include the member countries of the EU plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The UK remains bound by the Dublin Regulation until December 31, 2020.

Was the agreement disrupted by the pandemic?

Due to the pandemic, travel was suspended to contain the virus. While the Dublin Regulation continued to apply, most transfers between the Dublin member states were suspended from mid-March onwards.

In June, travel and border restrictions all over Europe began to be lifted, making it possible for countries to resume Dublin transfers. The European Asylum Support Office told InfoMigrants on June 24, 2020 that: “Member States have indicated that they plan on gradually organizing more Dublin transfers in the weeks to come, all whilst respecting the public health and safety measures in place.”

Germany reactivates the Dublin agreement to return refugees to other countries

What are the criteria for deciding why a country could be responsible for examining an asylum application?

  • If you are an asylum seeker who entered Europe and had your fingerprints taken in one Dublin country but you are now in a different Dublin country, then that country will ask the first country to “take you back”. 
  • If you applied for asylum in one Dublin country and were rejected by a final decision there, and then you moved to another Dublin country and did not apply for asylum, you may be sent back to the initial arrival country or returned to your country of origin or permanent residence or sent to a safe third country.
  • If a country accepts responsibility for examining your application, you will be transferred within 6 months of the date when that country accepted responsibility or, if you challenge the decision, within 6 months from the time the court or tribunal decides that you may be sent to that country. This time limit can be extended to 18 if you run away from the authorities or to 12 months if you are imprisoned.
  • You have the right to say that you disagree with a decision to send you to another Dublin country. This is called an ‘appeal’ or ‘review’. You can request a suspension of the transfer during the appeal. (The question whether to file an appeal should be discussed with a lawyer or counselling service.)
  • You can be detained if the authorities consider that there is a significant risk that you will run away (abscond) because you do not want to be sent to another Dublin country. You have the right to challenge the detention order.

If an asylum seeker leaves the EU soon after applying what happens?

Only one country examines the application for asylum but it becomes null if the person who was seeking asylum leaves the country for more than three months.

But if the applicant comes back before the end of the period then they are still viable.

What happens if I apply for asylum in two Dublin states?

There is no free choice when it comes to the country in which you can apply for asylum. The Dublin rules determine which state is responsible for treating an application for asylum. In general, it is the state where you entered the Dublin area first.

Does the agreement consider family reunification?

Under the Dublin Regulation, families and relatives who are separated across different European countries can be reunited during their asylum claim.

Unaccompanied children can apply to join a parent, legal guardian or sibling, aunt, uncle or grandparent who is living in Europe.

Adults can apply to join their family members (spouse/partner or children) in another Dublin country if the family member is an asylum seeker or refugee, or has been granted subsidiary protection.

Source: Info-migrants