Accelerated procedure

Bulgaria

Country Report: Accelerated procedure Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee Visit Website

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.[1] 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) of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive, the asylum application can be found manifestly unfounded, if:

  1. The applicant raised issues that are not relevant to the examination of whether he or she qualifies as a beneficiary of international protection;[2]
  2. 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;[3]
  3. 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;[4]
  4. The applicant refuses to comply with an obligation to have his or her fingerprints taken;[5]
  5. 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;[6]
  6. 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;[7]
  7. The applicant arrives from a safe country of origin;[8] or
  8. 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.[9]

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.[10]

This decision should be taken within 10 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.[11] The law explicitly provides that such an opinion should not be requested in the accelerated procedure.

All grounds are applied in practice. In 2019, 828 asylum applicants have been rejected under the accelerated procedure. Of those, 566 came from Afghanistan, 76 from Iraq, 74 from Pakistan, 45 from Iran and 67 from other nationalities. More notably, 50 of them were processed in conditions of detention, of which 14 concerned asylum seekers in closed reception facilities, but 36 related to asylum seekers in pre-removal detention centres, in violation of the law (see Detention of Asylum Seekers).

 

Personal interview

 

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.

 

Appeal

 

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.

 

Legal assistance

 

The same rules and guarantees apply as in the Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance.

 


[1]           Article 13(1)(1)-(4) and 13(1)(6)-(14) LAR.

[2]           Article 13(1)(1)-(2) LAR.

[3]           Article 13(1)(3)-(4) LAR.

[4]           Article 13(1)(6)-(9) LAR.

[5]           Article 13(1)(10) LAR.

[6]           Article 13(1)(11) LAR.                                                  

[7]           Article 13(1)(12) LAR.

[8]           Article 13(1)(13) LAR.

[9]           Article 13(1)(14) LAR.

[10]          Article 70(1) LAR.

[11]          Article 58(9) LAR.

 

Table of contents

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