Safe third country

Bulgaria

Author

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

A “safe third country” is defined in the LAR, as amended in October and December 2015, as “a country other than the country of origin where the alien who has applied for international protection has resided and:

(a)   There are no grounds for the alien to fear for his/her life or freedom due to race, religion, nationality, belonging to a particular social group or political opinions or belief;

(b)   The alien is protected against the refoulement to the territory of a country where there are prerequisites for persecution and risk to his/her rights;

(c)   The alien is not at risk persecution or serious harm, such as torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

(d)   The alien has the opportunity to request refugee status and, when such status is granted, to benefit from protection as a refugee.

(e)   There are sufficient reasons to believe that aliens will be allowed access to the territory of such state.”1

The “safe third country” concept is a ground for inadmissibility (see Admissibility Procedure). As detailed in the section on Safe Country of Origin, Article 98 LAR provides for the possibility of safe third country lists as well as safe country of origin lists.

Since the concept has not been applied in recent years in practice, implementation setting standards in this respect, both administrative and judicial, are limited to non-existent. In principle, refusals based on the “safe third country” concept relate to countries where the applicant lived or resided for prolonged period of time before departure. Transit or short stay in countries are not considered as sufficient for safe third countries.

The LAR has not transposed the requirement in Article 38(3)(b) of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive for an applicant to be granted a document in the language of the safe third country, stating that his or her claim was not examined on the merits.

  • 1. Additional Provision 1(9) LAR, as amended by Law 101/2015 of 11 December 2015.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti