Safe country of origin


Country Report: Safe country of origin Last updated: 06/04/23


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 both chambers of the Parliament. 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.

At present, the list of safe countries consists of:

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

Serbia, North Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were added to the list following the entry into force of a law on 6 November 2014.[3] Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro were added with another law which took effect on 24 October 2015.[4] 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.[5] The bill was not reintroduced again before the federal elections of September 2021.

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 January 2022, and concluded that all eight countries continue to fulfil the requirements. The report does not mention intentions to add new countries to the list.[6] NGOs however regularly criticise the designation of some of the countries on the list.[7]


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 2022 with a total of 5,602 asylum applications (see Statistics).

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
Albania 17,236 6,089 2,941 2,573 1,220 1,897 2,522
Serbia 10,273 4,915 2,606 2,718 1,292 1,830 2,824
North Macedonia 7,015 4,758 2,472 2,258 823 4,542 5,602
Kosovo 6,490 2,403 1,224 875 560 444 499
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,109 1,438 870 633 401 1,538 1,364
Ghana 2,645 1,134 992 966 599 441 394
Montenegro 1,630 730 377 252 151 285 310
Senegal 767 378 366 365 187 144 153
Total 49,165 21,845 11,848 10,640 5,233 11,121 13,668

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


It should be noted that many asylum applications of persons from safe countries of origin are subsequent applications (e.g. 50.8% for North Macedonia, 30.8% for Albania, 53.5% for Serbia in 2022). 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/prohibition of removal was granted:

Recognition rates for nationals of selected ‘safe countries of origin’
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Albania 0.4% 1.8% 1.2% 0.9% 0.4% 0.4% 1.0%
North Macedonia 0.4% 1% 0.8% 0.2% 0% 0.1% 0.7%
Serbia 0.4% 1% 0.7% 0.1% 0% 0.4% 0.7%

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 and 1-12-2022, available in German at:




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

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

[3] 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.

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

[5] 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:

[6] Federal Government, Dritter Bericht zu der Überprüfung der Voraussetzungen zur Einstufung der in Anlage II zum Asylgesetz bezeichneten sicheren Herkunftsstaaten, 20/766, available in German at, 2-3.

[7] 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

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