The Asylum Law provides that the authorities responsible for asylum claims registration are: the Office of Asylum and Refuge (OAR), any Foreigners’ Office, Detention Centre for Foreigners (CIE) or police station.1
Persons willing to seek international protection to Spain must register a formal application during their first month of stay in Spain.2 When this time limit is not respected, the law foresees the possibility to apply the urgent procedure,3 although in practice the competent authority will reject any asylum application that does not comply with the 1-month deadline when it considers that no valid justification exists for the delay.
The process begins with the presentation of the request, which the applicant shall present in person or, if this is not possible, be represented by someone else. The formalization of the application, which consists in an interview and the completion of a form, will be always be realized in presence of a police official or an officer of the Asylum and Refuge Office (OAR).
Most registered shortcomings in access to asylum in Spain concern the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla. These obstacles are mainly due to the complex geopolitical position of the two Spanish enclaves, as they are located in the northern region of the African continent, forming Europe’s only land borders with Africa. It should be put in evidence in fact, that Spanish and Moroccan territories are separated by kilometres long wired fences, which in several occasions are assaulted by migrants in the desperate try to reach the Spanish side. Last reported collective episodes took place in December 2016 (see section on Access to the Territory).
In order to facilitate access to asylum at land borders, since November 2014 the Ministry of Interior has established asylum offices at the borders’ crossing points in Ceuta and Melilla.4 In the same way, since 2015 UNHCR has guaranteed its presence as well.