Safe third country

Bulgaria

Country Report: Safe third country Last updated: 21/04/21

Author

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee Visit Website

A “safe third country” is defined in the LAR as “a country other than the country of origin where the alien who has applied for international protection has resided and:

  • There are no grounds for the alien to fear for his/her life or freedom due to race, religion, nationality, belonging to a particular social group or political opinions or belief;
  • The alien is protected against the refoulement to the territory of a country where there are prerequisites for persecution and risk to his/her rights;
  • The alien is not at risk persecution or serious harm, such as torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
  • The alien has the opportunity to request refugee status and, when such status is granted, to benefit from protection as a refugee;
  • There are sufficient reasons to believe that aliens will be allowed access to the territory of such state.”[1]

Firstly adopted as a ground for inadmissibility in 2020 the “safe third country” concept was re-arranged as a ground to refuse the application as manifestly unfounded in Accelerated Procedure.[2] The law presently requires more detailed investigation in order a country to be considered as a “safe third country” including findings that the applicants will be accepted back to its territory.[3] The “safe third country” concept 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.

In 2020, the law transposed the requirement in Article 38(3)(b) of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive for an applicant to be granted a document in the language of the safe third country, stating that his or her claim was not examined on the merits.

As detailed in the section on Safe Country of Origin, Article 98 LAR provides for the possibility of safe third country lists as well as safe country of origin lists.

Since the concept has not been applied in recent years in practice, implementation setting standards in this respect, both administrative and judicial, are limited to non-existent. In principle, refusals based on the “safe third country” concept relate to countries where the applicant lived or resided for prolonged period of time before departure. Transit or short stay in countries are not considered as sufficient for safe third countries.

 

[1]        Additional Provision §1(9) LAR.

[2]       Article 13(1)(14) LAR.

[3]       Article 13(1)(14) 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