Safe country of origin


Country Report: Safe country of origin Last updated: 10/07/24


Teresa Fachinger, Paula Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik and Marlene Stiller

The Constitution defines as safe countries of origin the countries ‘in which, on the basis of their laws, enforcement practices and general political conditions, it can be safely concluded that neither political persecution nor inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment exists’.[1]


List of safe countries of origin

Member states of the European Union are by definition considered to be safe countries of origin.[2] The list of safe countries of origin is an addendum to the law and has to be adopted by the parliament and the Bundesrat. If the situation in a safe country of origin changes and it can no longer be considered to be safe within the meaning of the law, the Federal Government may issue a decree to remove this country from the list for a period of 6 months. In 2023, Georgia and Moldova have been added to the list of safe countries of origin.[3] From December 2023, the list of safe countries consists of:

  • Ghana;
  • Senegal;
  • Serbia;
  • North Macedonia;
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina;
  • Albania;
  • Kosovo;
  • Montenegro
  • Georgia

Serbia, North Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were added to the list following the entry into force of a law on 6 November 2014.[4] Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro were added with another law which took effect on 24 October 2015.[5] As explained in the previous updates of this report, several bills were tabled with the aim to add certain countries to the list of safe countries (such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in April 2016) or Georgia in 2018 but the draft bill was removed from the Bundesrat’s agenda in February 2019 as it became obvious that it would be rejected again.[6] The bill was not reintroduced again before the federal elections of September 2021. In 2023, the discussion on safe countries of origin resurfaced again and led to heated discussions among the governing parties, as well as between the government and the opposition. The oppositional party Christian Democrats (CDU) claims that also other North African states such as e.g., Algeria and Tunisia should be recognised as safe countries of origin. In December 2023, the standing conference of Ministers of Interior and Senators of the state adopted a resolution to include Armenia, India and the Maghreb states to the list of safe countries of origin.[7] However, the Federal government only included Moldova and Georgia to the list. The governing party The Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) voiced concern to the concept of safe third countries as such but in the end consented nevertheless to the decision to include Moldova and Georgia to the list.[8] The oppositional party The Left and several NGOs questioned the safety in both countries. Pro Asyl claimed that in Moldova discrimination against Roma people is widespread and in Georgia there has been a backlash to democracy and the rule of law.[9] Clara Bünger from The Left claims that in Georgia the rights of LGBTIQ* are not respected.[10]

Since 2015, the Federal Government has to issue a report every two years to determine whether the requirements to be designated a safe country of origin continue to apply, based on the political and legal situation in each country as well as the practical enforcement of existing laws. The last such report was published in March 2024, and concluded that all eight countries continue to fulfil the requirements. The report does not mention the December 2023 additions that were Georgia and Moldova yet as it only reports about the situation in the respective countries between October 2021 and October 2023.[11] NGOs however regularly criticise the designation of some of the countries on the list.[12]


Procedural consequences

Applications of asylum seekers from safe countries of origin shall be considered as manifestly unfounded, unless the applicant presents facts or evidence which justify the conclusion that they might be persecuted in spite of the general situation in the country of origin.

Since March 2016, accelerated procedures can be carried out for applicants from safe countries of origin. However, this is only possible in branch offices of the BAMF to which a ‘special reception centre’ has been assigned, and in 2020 the procedure was applied in comparatively few cases, and only in arrival centres or AnkER centres in Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia (see Accelerated procedure).

The number of applications from asylum seekers from safe countries of origin significantly decreased in recent years and have remained on a low level since 2018. This notwithstanding, North Macedonia is among the top 10 countries of origin of asylum applicants in 2023 with a total of 5,999 asylum applications (see Statistics). From Georgia, the newly added safe country of origin, 9,399 people have applied for asylum in 2023, ranking Georgia number six amongst the top 10 countries of origin.

The following table shows statistics for asylum applications by relevant nationalities:

Asylum applications by nationals of ‘safe countries of origin’
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Albania 17,236 6,089 2,941 2,573 1,220 1,897 2,522 2,233
Serbia 10,273 4,915 2,606 2,718 1,292 1,830 2,824 3,526
North Macedonia 7,015 4,758 2,472 2,258 823 4,542 5,602 5,999
Kosovo 6,490 2,403 1,224 875 560 444 499 700
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,109 1,438 870 633 401 1,538 1,364 1,132
Ghana 2,645 1,134 992 966 599 441 394 485
Montenegro 1,630 730 377 252 151 285 310 299
Senegal 767 378 366 365 187 144 153 177
Georgia 9,399
Moldova 2,832
Total 49,165 21,845 11,848 10,640 5,233 11,121 13,668 26,782

Source: BAMF, Asylgeschäftsstatistik (statistics on applications, decisions and pending procedures), available in German at: (2020), (2021), (2022) And (2023).


It should be noted that many asylum applications of persons from safe countries of origin are subsequent applications (e.g., 48.2% for North Macedonia, 48.1% Kosovo, 48,3% Bosnia Herzegovina, 46.3% for Serbia in 2023). Hence the number of newly arriving asylum seekers from these countries is considerably lower than the numbers provided above.

To illustrate the developments of protection rates of ‘safe countries of origin’, the following table includes decisions on first applications from Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia. The figures include all cases in which refugee status, subsidiary protection or (national) humanitarian protection / a removal ban was granted:

Recognition rates for nationals of selected ‘safe countries of origin’
2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Albania 1.2% 0.9% 0.4% 0.4% 1.0% 0.8%
North Macedonia 0.8% 0.2% 0% 0.1% 0.7%  


Serbia 0.7% 0.1% 0% 0.4% 0.7% 0.4%

Source: BAMF, Antrags-, Entscheidungs- und Bestandsstatistik, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and Asylgeschäftsstatistik (statistics on applications, decisions and pending procedures), 1-12/2019, 1-12-/2020, 1-12-2021, 1-12-2022 and 1-12-2023, available in German at:




[1] Article 16a(3) Basic Law.

[2] Section 29a(2) Asylum Act.

[3] Gesetz zur Bestimmung Georgiens und der Republik Moldau als sichere Herkunftsstaaten, BGBl. I Nr. 382, 22 December 2023, available in German at:

[4] Gesetz zur Einstufung weiterer Staaten als sichere Herkunftsstaaten und zur Erleichterung des Arbeitsmarktzugangs für Asylbewerber und geduldete Ausländer, BGBl. I, No. 49, 5 November 2014, 1649.

[5] Asylverfahrensbeschleunigungsgesetz, BGBl. I, 23 October 2015, 1722.

[6] Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Einstufung der Demokratischen Volksrepublik Algerien, des Königreichs Marokko und der Tunesischen Republik als sichere Herkunftsstaaten, 68/16, available in German at:; Bundesrat, ‘Keine Zustimmung: Gesetz zu sicheren Herkunftsstaaten’, 10 March 2017, available at:; Spiegel, ‘Bundesrat verschiebt Abstimmung über sichere Herkunftsländer’, 15 February 2019, available in German at:

[7] Innenministerkonferenz (IMK), Sammlung der zu Veröffentlichung freigegebenen Beschlüsse, 8 December 2023, available in German at:, 13.

[8], Moldau und Georgien ja, Maghreb-Staaten nein, 4 September 2023, available in German at:

[9] Pro Asyl, Stellungnahme zum Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Bestimmung Georgiens und der Republik Moldau als sichere Herkunftsstaaten, 25 August 2023, available in German at:

[10] Clara Bünger, Georgien und Moldau dürfen nicht als »sichere Herkunftsstaaten« eingestuft werden!, 12 October 2023, available in German at:

[11] Federal Government, Vierter Bericht zu der Überprüfung der Voraussetzungen zur Einstufung der in Anlage II zum Asylgesetz bezeichneten sicheren Herkunftsstaaten, 20/10750, available in German at:

[12] See for example Flüchtlingsrat Tühringen, Sogenannte “sichere” Herkunftsländer, August 2021, available in German at:; PRO ASYL, Neuer Anlauf für einen rechtswidrigen Gesetzentwurf: Erweiterung der »sicheren Herkunftsländer«, 21 September 2018, available in German at: Pro Asyl, Was heißt hier sicher? Wie die Innenminister*innen Geflüchtete entrechten wollen, 27 June 2023, available in German 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