Safe third country


Country Report: Safe third country Last updated: 10/07/24

A safe third country means a country of which the applicant is not a national or citizen and where:

  • Life and liberty are not threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion;
  • The principle of non-refoulement in accordance with the Convention is respected;
  • The prohibition of removal, in violation of the right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as laid down in international law, is respected;
  • The possibility exists to request refugee status and, if found to be a refugee, to receive protection in accordance with the Convention;
  • The applicant had resided in the safe country of origin for a meaningful period of time prior to his entry into Malta.

Under the International Protection Act, the concept of a safe third country can be used to determine if an application should be considered under the accelerated procedure as inadmissible.[1]

According to IPA, depending on the particular circumstances of the case, it could be determined that the concept of safe third country could apply.[2] However, no specific information was provided as regards the actual interpretation and application of the safe third country concept by the IPA. The latter confirmed that no decision has been taken on the basis of this concept in 2020, 2021 or 2022. NGOs and lawyers confirmed that, in their experience, the principle is never used.




[1] Articles 8(1)(g), 23 and 24(1)(c) of the International Protection Act, Chapter 420 of the Laws of Malta.

[2] Information provided by the Refugee Commission, 12 January 2018.

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