Safe country of origin


Country Report: Safe country of origin Last updated: 19/04/23


Hungarian Helsinki Committee Visit Website

Section 2(h) of the Asylum Act explains a ‘safe country of origin’ as a country included in a list of countries approved by the Council of the EU or ‘the national list stipulated by a Government Decree’, or part of such a country.

The presence of a country in such a list is ‘a rebuttable presumption with regard to the applicant according to which no persecution is experienced in general and systematically in that country or in a part of that country, no torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is applied, and an efficient system of legal remedy is in place to address any injury of such rights or freedoms.’

If the applicant’s country of origin is regarded as ‘safe’, the application will be channelled into the accelerated procedure (see Accelerated Procedure).[1] In the event of applying the accelerated procedure to an applicant originating from safe country of origin, the applicant, when this fact is communicated to them, can declare immediately but within 3 days at the latest why in their individual case, the specific country does not qualify as a safe country of origin.[2] Where the safe country of origin fails to readmit the applicant, the refugee authority shall withdraw its decision and continue the procedure.[3]

In July 2015, Hungary amended its asylum legislation in various aspects and adopted a National List of Safe Countries of Origin,[4] which are the following:

  • EU Member States
  • EU candidate countries
  • Member States of the European Economic Area
  • US States that do not have the death penalty
  • Switzerland
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Kosovo
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

In 2018, the former Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Nikola Gruevski, was granted refugee status in an extremely rapid procedure within a few working days, despite his country of origin being candidate country to the EU.[5] The decision was met with heavy criticism by the HHC.[6]

This ground is not often applied in practice.




[1] Section 59(1) Asylum Act.

[2] Section 51(11) Asylum Act. 

[3] Section 51A Asylum Act.

[4] Government Decree 191/2015 (VII. 21.) on the national list of safe countries of origin and safe third countries. The original list did not include Turkey, but the country was inserted as of 1 April 2016.

[5] Euronews, ‘Fugitive ex-FYROM prime minister Gruevski granted asylum in Hungary’, 20 November 2018, available at:; The Guardian, ‘Anti-asylum Orbán makes exception for a friend in need’, 20 November 2018, available at:

[6] HHC, ‘Mi a helyzet a volt macedón kormányfő itteni menedékjogi eljárásával?’, 13 November 2018, available in Hungarian at:; ‘Egyre több a kérdőjel Gruevszki menedékkérelme körül’, 15 November 2018, available in Hungarian 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