General (scope, grounds for accelerated procedures, time limits)
The accelerated procedure is designed to examine the credibility of the asylum application, but also the likelihood of the application being fraudulent or manifestly unfounded. The asylum application can also be found manifestly unfounded if the applicant did not state any reasons for applying for asylum related to grounds of persecution at all, or, if his or her statements were unspecified, implausible or highly unlikely.
In accordance with the transposition of Article 31(8) and 39 of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive, the asylum application can be found manifestly unfounded, if:
- The applicant raised issues that are not relevant to the examination of whether he or she qualifies as a beneficiary of international protection;
- The applicant has made clearly inconsistent and contradictory, clearly false or obviously improbable representations which contradict country-of-origin information, thus making his or her claim clearly unconvincing;
- The applicant has misled the authorities by presenting false information or documents or by withholding relevant information or documents or destroying documents with respect to his or her identity and/or nationality;
- The applicant refuses to comply with an obligation to have his or her fingerprints taken;
- The applicant entered or resides the territory or stays lawfully and, without good reason, has not presented himself or herself within a reasonable time to the authorities to submit an application for international protection;
- The applicant entered the territory or stays unlawfully and, without good reason, has not presented himself or herself immediately to the authorities to submit an application for international protection as soon as possible;
- The applicant arrives from a safe country of origin;
- The applicant arrives from a safe third country, provided that s/he will be accepted back to its territory; which cannot be used as a sole ground for considering the application manifestly unfounded unless:
- there is a connection between the applicant and the third country concerned on the basis of which it would be reasonable for that person to go to that country and, a case-by-case consideration is implemented of the safety of the country for a particular applicant; and,
- the applicant is provided with a document informing the authorities of the third country, in the language of that country, that the application has not been examined in substance, or
- The applicant is making an application merely in order to delay or frustrate the enforcement of an earlier or imminent decision which would result in his or her removal.
The authority responsible for taking decisions at first instance on asylum applications in the accelerated procedure is the SAR, through caseworkers specially appointed for taking decisions in this procedure. The accelerated procedure is a non-mandatory phase of the status determination, applied only by a decision of the respective caseworker, if and when information or indications are available to consider the asylum application as manifestly unfounded.
This decision should be taken within 14 working days from applicants’ formal registration by the SAR. If the decision is not taken within this deadline the application has to be examined fully following the rules and criteria of the Regular Procedure, with all respective safeguards and deadlines applied.
The law provides that, upon receiving the asylum application, caseworkers are obliged to request a written opinion from the State Agency for National Security (SANS) which, however, is to be taken into consideration if and when a decision on the substance of the claim is taken within the regular (“general”) procedure. The law explicitly provides that such an opinion should not be requested in the accelerated procedure.
All grounds are applied in practice. In 2021, 1,112 asylum applicants have been rejected under the accelerated procedure. Of those, 735 came from Afghanistan, 111 from Iraq, 98 from Pakistan, 78 from Morocco, 16 from Algeria, 12 from Iran, 11 from Tunisia, 10 from Turkey and 197 from other nationalities. Nationalities from certain countries such as Algeria, Morocco Tunisia and Bangladesh thus continue to be systematically treated as manifestly unfounded applicants under the accelerated procedure with zero recognition rates, i.e. 100% rejection.
Turkish and Afghan nationals also continued to be subject to unfair and discriminatory treatment with very low recognition rates, namely 10% for Afghan nationals and 8% for Turkish nationals. Since 2016, Afghanistan has been the top nationality of applicants in Bulgaria, for five consecutive years. As of the end of 2021, Afghan cases began to gradually change with some high profile cases and increased statements for personal risk of persecution. As a result, the annual recognition rate of Afghan applicants reached a national record of 10% – but overall the rejection rate remained at 90%. It is yet to be seen whether the national authorities’ attitude and treatment of Afghan nationals will change in general. As of the end of 2021, most subsequent applications lodged by Afghan nationals who filed them post-August 2021 events continued to be treated by the national asylum agency as inadmissible.
The questions asked during interviews in the accelerated procedure aim at establishing facts relating to the individual story of the applicant, although in less detail in comparison with the interviews conducted during the regular procedure. Facts such as travel routes, identity and nationality are in principle exhaustively addressed prior to the accelerated procedure at the stages of registration and/or the Dublin procedure.
Appeals in the accelerated procedure have to be submitted within 7 calendar days (excluding public holidays) after notification of the negative decision, as opposed to the 14-calendar-day deadline in the Regular Procedure: Appeal. Another major difference with the regular asylum procedure is related to the number of judicial appeal instances. In the accelerated procedure, there is only one judicial appeal possible, whereas in the regular procedure there are two appeal instances.
Lodging an appeal has automatic suspensive effect vis-à-vis the removal of the asylum seeker. The court competent to review first instance decisions in the accelerated procedure is the Regional Administrative Court of the county in which the appellant resides. The court has the obligation to ascertain whether the assessment of the credibility or the manifestly unfounded character of the claim is correct in view of the facts, evidence and legal provisions applicable. Asylum seekers have to be summoned for a public hearing and in practice are asked to shortly summarise their reasons for fleeing their country of origin and seek protection elsewhere.
In general, asylum seekers do not face significant obstacles to lodging an appeal in the accelerated asylum procedure within the 7-day deadline. The obstacles referred to under the regular procedure appeal apply, e.g. lack of legal aid and interpretation issues.
The same rules and guarantees apply as in the Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance.
 Article 13(1) LAR.
 Article 13(1)(1)-(2) LAR.
 Article 13(1)(3)-(4) LAR.
 Article 13(1)(6)-(9) LAR.
 Article 13(1)(10) LAR.
 Article 13(1)(11) LAR.
 Article 13(1)(12) LAR.
 Article 13(1)(13) LAR.
 Article 13(1)(14) LAR.
 Article 13(1)(15) LAR.
 Article 70(1) LAR.
 Article 58(10) LAR.