Detention of vulnerable applicants



Persons who have been victims of torture or are otherwise vulnerable are not excluded from being detained, despite international recommendations to exclude them.

According to Ch. 10, Section 2 of the Aliens Act, a child may be detained in 2 circumstances:

  1. “It is probable that the child will be refused entry with immediate enforcement” and “there is an obvious risk that the child will otherwise [abscond] and thereby jeopardise an enforcement that should not be delayed”;1 or

  2. For the purpose of enforcing a refusal of entry or an expulsion order.2

In both cases, there is an express condition that alternatives to detention (“supervision”) have proved insufficient to meet the purpose pursued.3 Children may not be detained for over 72 hours or, in exceptional circumstances, another 72 hours, hence in total maximum 6 days.4 A child cannot be separated from its guardians through the detention of either the guardian or the child.5 Where the child has no guardian in Sweden, detention may only be applied in exceptional circumstances.6

Children are very seldom detained in practice. Figures for 2016 show that 108 children were detained on average for 3.9 days.

  • 1. Ch. 10, Section 2, para 1 Aliens Act.
  • 2. Ch. 10, Section 2, para 2 Aliens Act.
  • 3. Ch. 10, Section 2, para 1(3) and para 2(2) Aliens Act.
  • 4. Ch. 10, Section 5 Aliens Act.
  • 5. Ch. 10, Section 3 Aliens Act.
  • 6. Ch. 10, Section 3 Aliens Act.

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