Safe country of origin


Country Report: Safe country of origin Last updated: 21/04/23


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The safe country of origin concept was introduced in the Aliens Act in 2012. Applications from safe countries of origin are examined under the Accelerated Procedure.[1]

According to the law, countries can be considered safe if the rule of law in a democratic system and the prevailing political circumstances allow concluding that, in a general and durable manner, there is no persecution or real risk of serious harm, taking into consideration the laws and regulations and the legal practice in that country, the respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the ECHR and the principle of non-refoulement and the availability of an effective remedy against violations of these rights and principles.[2]

After receiving detailed advice from the CGRS, the government approves the list of safe countries of origin upon the proposal of the Secretary of State for Migration and Asylum and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The list must be reviewed annually and can be adjusted.[3] The Royal Decree of 14 January 2022 on Safe Countries of Origin reconfirmed the list of safe countries of origin adopted in 2017: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern-Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, India and Georgia.[4]

To refute the presumption of the safety of his or her country of origin, the applicant must present serious reasons explaining why the country cannot be considered safe in their situation. It remains unclear how far this burden of proof is any different than the one resting on asylum seekers throughout the procedure.

In 2021, a total of 1,769 persons from safe countries of origin applied for asylum. The breakdown per nationality was as follows (no figures were provided for 2022):


2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Kosovo 320 242 194 70 164
Albania 882 668 680 447 588
FYROM / North Macedonia 251 194 190 89 177
India 52 81 46 18 16
Bosnia-Herzegovina 44 23 45 34 72
Montenegro 5 8 20 5 9
Serbia 232 198 220 134 150
Georgia 468 695 563 266 593
Total 2,254 2,109 1,958 1,063 1,769

Source: CGRS.


[1] Article 57/6/1(1)(b) Aliens Act.

[2] Article 57/6/1(3) Aliens Act.

[3] Article 57/6/1 Aliens Act.

[4]  Royal Decree of 14 January 2022, available in French at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation