Safe country of origin


Country Report: Safe country of origin Last updated: 30/04/24


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An asylum request can be declared manifestly unfounded in case the asylum seeker is from a safe country of origin.[1] Asylum requests from applicants presumed to come from safe countries of origin are handled in the Accelerated Procedure (“Track 2”) by the IND.

In case an asylum seeker is from a safe country of origin, it is presumed that they have no well-founded fear of persecution nor a risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR. However, the IND has to assess in every individual case whether, based on the applicant’s statements, this country is indeed safe for the asylum seeker. In other words, the IND must consider whether the authorities of the applicants’ country of origin, in practice, comply with their obligations under the relevant human rights treaties.

The IND cannot maintain the presumption of safe country of origin if the asylum seeker demonstrates that their country of origin cannot be regarded as a safe country for them. In that case, the IND has to assess whether the asylum seeker is eligible for international protection.[2]

Should it become clear during the Track 2 procedure that the asylum seeker might have a well-founded fear for persecution in their country of origin (for example because of their sexual orientation), more thorough assessment by the IND is required. As a result, the asylum request is further assessed in Track 4. Switching from Track 2 to Track 4 may also occur when there is medical evidence, demonstrating that the asylum seeker is vulnerable and in need of special procedural guarantees.

List of safe countries of origin

Anticipating an EU list of safe countries of origin, the State Secretary communicated at the end of 2015 the intention to draft a national list of safe countries of origin.[3] As provided in the recast APD and Article 3.105ba of the Aliens Decree, this national list was annexed to the Aliens Regulation. In 2022, it was also added to the Aliens Circular. The list contains countries in which, according to the Dutch government, nationals are presumed not to be at risk of persecution, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. The Council of State ruled in a judgement in April 2021[4] that the State Secretary had to reassess the list of safe countries of origin every two years and that this reassessment should be carried out through the same procedure used for the designation of a country as a safe country of origin. This reassessment replaced the ‘quick reassessment’ that was normally carried out by the IND and focused only on sources from the US State Department and Freedom House – only if these sources showed significant changes in the country, would the IND carry out a ‘full reassessment’ consulting all sources stated by Article 37(3) Procedures Directive.

The period of mandatory reassessment expired on 4 November 2021, resulting in removing Algeria[5] from the safe country of origin list and adding some exempted groups and groups of special attention to the designation of Mongolia,[6] Morocco, Tunisia and Georgia as safe countries of origin.[7] In addition, the State Secretary decided to shorten the list of safe countries of origin in order to decrease the periodical efforts to reassess their situation. Twelve countries – from which an extremely limited number of asylum seekers arrived – were removed from the list: Andorra, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City and Switzerland.[8] All safe countries of origin still need to be reassessed every two years, meaning many countries were reassessed again at the end of 2023. The current list of safe countries of origin is included below. In addition, the IND needs to constantly monitor whether there are signs that the safety situation in a country designated as a safe country of origin is deteriorating.

As of 1 January 2024, the following countries have been designated as safe countries of origin:[9]

  • EU Member States
  • Albania
  • Armenia*
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Brazil*
  • Georgia *
  • Ghana*
  • India*
  • Jamaica*
  • Kosovo
  • North Macedonia
  • Morocco*
  • Mongolia*
  • Montenegro
  • Senegal *
  • Serbia *
  • Trinidad and Tobago*
  • Tunisia*
  • United States of America
  • Ukraine* (suspended)

* Some groups or regions are exempted from the designation of safe country of origin. These cases will be handled in Track 4 (for example: LGBTQI+ persons in Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Senegal, Jamaica, Brazil, Armenia and Morocco or the exclusion of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia).

Due to recent developments with Russia, the designation of Ukraine as a safe country of origin has been suspended until 28 November 2023.[10] Until then, the safe countries of origin concept will not be applied to Ukrainian asylum seekers. Since November 2023, this designation has not been prolonged, but in practice the safe country of origin concept is not applied to Ukraine. For more information on the current Dutch policies regarding Ukraine, see Annex on Temporary Protection in the Netherlands.

The United Kingdom has been deleted from the list on 8 February 2023, as very few people from the UK apply for asylum in the Netherlands.[11]

Following the coup d’état that took place in Tunisia in the summer of 2021, numerous Regional Courts requested that the State Secretary reassess the designation of Tunisia as a safe country of origin.[12] On 20 December 2021, State Secretary announced that Tunisia would remain a safe country of origin because the short thematic official message of 14 December 2021 shows that the political events in Tunisia have not led to (major) changes in the security and human rights situation.

Application of the concept of safe country of origin

The State Secretary can designate a country as a safe country of origin, while exempting specific groups such as LGBTQI+ individuals or women, or specific areas such as the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir in India. According to the Council of State, exempting specific areas is only allowed if there is a clear dividing line between the safe and not-safe part of the country.[13] In these cases, the safe country of origin-concept does not apply and those belonging to this group or region do not have a higher burden of proof. The asylum request is handled in Track 4.

On 25 May 2022, the State Secretary decided for procedural and economic reasons to no longer use the ‘groups with higher concern’[14] in response to a ruling of the Council of State.[15] The Council of State had ruled that the consequences of designating a specific ‘group with higher concern’ for the assessment framework are unclear and that the State Secretary should either give a substantial interpretation to this concept or abolish it. All groups with higher concern will henceforth be treated as exempted groups.




[1] Article 30b(1)(b) Aliens Act.

[2] Paragraph C2/7.2 Aliens Circular.

[3] KST 19637, 3 November 2015, No 2076.

[4] Council of State, ECLI:NL:RVS:2021:738, 7 April 2021, available in Dutch at:

[5] KST 19637, No 2743, 11 June 2021, available in Dutch at:

[6] KST 19637, No 2778, 4 November 2021, available in Dutch at:

[7] KST 19637, No 2726, 6 May 2021, available in Dutch at:

[8] KST 19637, No 2778, 4 November 2021, available in Dutch at:

[9] Paragraph C7/1.2 Aliens Circular.

[10] KST 19637, No 3163, 4 November 2021, available in Dutch at:

[11] Stcrt 2023, nr. 3235, available in Dutch at:

[12] E.g. Regional Court Haarlem, 26 November 2021, ECLI:NL:RBDHA:2021:14730, available in Dutch at:

[13] Council of State, ECLI:NL:2017:1838, 7 July 2017, available in Dutch at:

[14] For further information about this concept and how it was used, see previous updates to this country report, available at:

[15] KST 19637, no. 2894, available in Dutch at: Council of State, ECLI:NL:RVS:2022:985, 5 April 2022, available in Dutch 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