Country Report: Dublin Last updated: 30/11/20


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Dublin statistics: 2019

Outgoing procedure

Incoming procedure


























































United Kingdom



Source: Migration Agency. The figures on transfers provided above refer to the number of transfer decisions, not to the number of transfers that were effectively carried out in practice.


Application of the Dublin criteria

In 2019, Sweden issued 3,641 and received 6,474 requests under the Dublin Regulation. Detailed statistics on which Dublin III Regulation criterion was used were not available at the time of writing (March 2020).

Sweden interprets the Dublin Regulation rules rather strictly and respects the hierarchy established by the Regulation. The Swedish Aliens Act refers to the Dublin Regulation rules but not in detail since the Regulation has direct effect is Swedish law.

All asylum seekers are fingerprinted if they are 14 years or older and checked both in the Eurodac and Visa Information System (VIS) databases. In 2019, 19,323 fingerprints were submitted and 5,782 hits were made in Eurodac and 5,763 in VIS, of which 1,991 indicated Dublin cases. The top five hit countries for Eurodac were Greece, Germany, Italy, Denmark and Norway and the top five countries of origin were Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, stateless persons.

The dependent persons and discretionary clauses

Sweden made 9 requests based on the “humanitarian clause” in 2018 and none based on the “dependent persons’ clause” respectively, and  received 71 and 7 incoming requests on those grounds.




Track 5A deals with cases under the Dublin Regulation. These cases are not sent to the Distribution Unit but channelled immediately into this track. The Dublin Unit had 37 officials at the end of 2019.

If another member state is deemed to be responsible and a transfer decision is made, a combined notification and return interview is held with the applicant. The transfer decision is enforceable and transfer travel planning can begin immediately. In Track 5A, there are no ID issues to consider so the focus of the Migration Agency is on the applicant’s attitude to transfer and the availability for executing the transfer.

The applicant is initially informed in writing and orally that a Eurodac or a VIS hit has been registered and is given the opportunity to register any objections to being sent to the assigned country. A decision is then made to formally transfer the person and this decision is communicated in person by the Migration Agency to the applicant. The applicant has to sign that this decision has been received. The reception officer then discusses the practicalities of the transfer to the designated country and indicates how soon this could take place. If the applicant appears willing to cooperate, a date is later fixed for the transfer. If the applicant does not cooperate, then the case will be handed over to the police for an enforced transfer. A decision is also made to reduce the daily allowance to the asylum seeker because of their unwillingness to cooperate. The applicant is informed of the right to appeal in person and the right to write it in their own language if need be but also told that an appeal will not have a suspensive effect unless the Migration Court makes a different assessment.

The Migration Agency has produced information sheets in several languages outlining the mechanisms of the Dublin Regulation, although technical issues such as the effects of the VIS system are not easily comprehensible to asylum seekers. The asylum seeker receives a copy of these and later a copy of the acceptance by the other Member State. The asylum seeker is informed that a request is being made and about the evidence the request is based on.


Individualised guarantees


The Migration Agency does not seek individualised guarantees prior to a transfer.[1]

In March 2019, the Migration Agency confirmed in its legal guidance regarding Dublin returns to Italy that no guarantees need be sought in advance when transferring families as the Italian authorities have reissued guarantees. It stated that: “Italy has, in a new circular to the Member States, provided new general guarantees regarding the reception of families of children transferred under the Dublin Regulation. It is the Migration Agency’s opinion that these guarantees are sufficient for transfers of families with children according to the Dublin Regulation to be made without individual guarantees being obtained.”[2]




Most Dublin transfers take place on a voluntary basis. However, a considerable number of applicants abscond, not least unaccompanied children. Asylum applicants are not detained when they are being notified that another country is responsible for assessing their asylum application. However, Dublin cases are accommodated in lodgings that are close to an airport or moved to such accommodation in connection with the impending transfer, instead of allowing them to settle initially anywhere in Sweden.

In 2019 Sweden received 6,474 Dublin incoming requests and made 3,641 outgoing requests to other Dublin States. A total of 3,002 transfers and other removals (including persons who have been granted asylum in another Dublin country) were carried out to another Dublin country in 2019, of which 2,302 were under the responsibility of the Migration Agency and thus left voluntarily and 700 were under the responsibility of the Police and include both voluntary and forced removals.[3]

The average processing time for all Dublin cases in 2019 i.e. until a transfer decision was issued, was 58 days, down from 72 in 2018.


Personal interview


According to a precedent-setting ruling by the Migration Court of Appeal,[4] all Dublin cases are subject to a personal interview conducted by the Migration Agency through an interpreter but without the presence of legal counsel. However, in the case of an unaccompanied child, the guardian is present and legal counsel can be appointed. The interview does not go into the asylum grounds in any detail but a brief outline of flight reasons is made in most of the interview documentation.

Questions are asked about relatives in other EU countries, previous stays in EU countries, the health condition of the applicant, any objections to being sent to the responsible EU Member State, and attitude towards leaving voluntarily.

A transcript of the interview is made but not normally communicated to the asylum seeker since it is only in Swedish. If there are close relatives in another EU country, Swedish authorities take no action to inform that country of the presence of a relative in Sweden but await a request from the other country regarding the desirability of family reunification and written consent from the family present in Sweden to be reunited.





The application is dismissed as inadmissible when the Dublin Regulation applies.[5] In Dublin cases, there is no legal counsel automatically appointed at first instance (except for unaccompanied children), so the asylum seeker must either appeal alone or seek the support of friends or NGOs. The appeals procedure is no different from the appeal system that applies in the Regular Procedure: Appeal.

In line with Article 27.3 (c) of the Dublin III Regulation, if an applicant requests for their appeal to have suspensive effect, the transfer is automatically suspended until the Court decides on whether to suspend the implementation of the transfer.[6] Moreover, appeals in Dublin cases are often expedited quickly by the Migration Court and the Migration Court of Appeal. The appeal body does not take into account the recognition rates in the responsible member state when reviewing the Dublin decision.

The Migration Court of Appeal made a reference for a preliminary ruling to the CJEU in the case of Karim, concerning the scope of the right to an effective remedy under the Dublin Regulation.[7] The referring court has asked the CJEU to clarify whether an applicant is entitled to challenge a Dublin transfer solely on the basis of systemic deficiencies or also on other grounds i.e. relating to the application of the responsibility criteria. The CJEU ruled on 7 June 2016 and found that in order for a correct application of the responsibility determination procedure under the Dublin III Regulation to take place, the applicant must be able to contest a transfer decision and invoke an infringement of the rule set out in Article 19(2) of the Regulation, i.e. where the applicant provides evidence that he she has left the territory of one Member State, having made an application there, for at least three months and has made a new asylum application in another Member State.[8]

The Migration Court of Appeal decided on 24 November 2016 to refer the case back to the Migration Court for new consideration.[9] The Migration Court in turn referred the case back to the Migration Agency which decided it was still a Dublin case and this standpoint was not changed by the courts on appeal.[10]


Legal assistance


Legal counsel is not made available at first instance in Dublin cases but can be requested at second instance.[11]

The Migration Court can appoint legal counsel in Dublin appeals but does take into account whether the grounds for appeal raise issues that could lead to a change in the decision. The difficulties with regard to access to legal assistance in the regular procedure are also applicable here (see Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance).


Suspension of transfers

To Hungary

In March 2019, the Migration Agency announced it considers that there are well-founded reasons to assume that there are currently such systemic deficiencies in the asylum procedure and reception conditions in Hungary referred to in Article 3(2) of the Dublin Regulation.[12] These deficiencies entail a risk of inhuman or degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 4 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

In the event that Hungary is found to be the responsible State in accordance with the Dublin Regulation, it is not possible to transfer the applicant there. In turn, this means that the Migration Agency will in these cases continue to examine the criteria set out in the Dublin Regulation in order to determine whether another Member State can be designated as responsible. In the event that such a state cannot be determined, Sweden is the responsible state for the examination of the application.[13]

Previously, the Migration Agency had not suspended all transfers to Hungary and still delivered Dublin decisions. However, only 10 persons were forcibly removed from Sweden to Hungary during 2017 according to statistics from Kriminalvårdens transporttjänst. If the decisions to remove to Hungary are not carried out within six months then the case automatically becomes Sweden’s responsibility. In 2017, 10 persons have been transferred to Hungary even though decisions were taken to transfer 57 persons there, which Hungary had accepted. In 2018 and 2019, no persons were transferred to Hungary.

To Greece

In February 2018, the Migration Agency decided to reinstate transfers to Greece. The decision was made with reference to the recommendation from the European Commission, which was issued almost a year earlier.[14] The Migration Agency does not take any particular measures with regard to transfer to Greece, but they do take into consideration the recommendations from the Commission.[15] In 2019, 1,047 transfers request were made to Greece, of which 955 decisions were taken. The number of transfers carried out effectively in practice was not available at the time of writing (March 2020).

The situation of Dublin returnees

Dublin returnees with a final negative decision in Sweden are normally taken into custody on arrival and measures taken to facilitate their removal. If their case is still pending in Sweden and there is no final negative decision, then they are placed in an accommodation centre near a point of departure and continue the procedure in their ongoing case.  

During 2018, the Aliens Act was amended concerning responsibility for the reception of Dublin returnees which means that the police authority takes over the responsibility from the Migration Agency regarding the reception of persons who have been accepted in accordance with the Dublin Regulation when there is a legally enforceable decision on cancellation or expulsion.[16]

Transfers to Sweden for “take back” cases with a legally enforceable removal order in Sweden are not automatically provided with accommodation by the Migration Agency or the Police on arrival if they are unwilling to return voluntarily to their home country. This applies also to families with children. Since the changes to the Law on the Reception of Asylum Seekers (LMA) in 2016 only families with minor children can be allowed to stay in this accommodation while the removal order is pending and after the one-month period for voluntary return has passed. Families who leave this accommodation for another EU country and are returned according to the Dublin Regulation have no right to re-access accommodation from the Migration Agency. There have been recent cases come to the knowledge of FARR of Afghan families returned from Germany and France who are forced into destitution unless they agree to return to Afghanistan voluntarily. In the latter case they can access accommodation and obtain a daily allowance.

[1] Information provided by the Migration Agency, August 2017.

[2] Migration Agency, Rättsligt ställningstagande angående överföring av barnfamiljer till Italien i enlighet med Dublinförordningen (EU) nr 604/2013, SR 08/2019, 25 March 2019, available in Swedish at: https://bit.ly/2Puxgiq, which replaced the 2016 guidance.

[3] Migration Agency, Annual Report 2019, available in Swedish at: http://bit.ly/382Zbh6.

[4] Migration Court of Appeal, MIG 2007:4, UM 607-06, 22 January 2007, available at: http://bit.ly/2oZzsl1.

[5] Ch. 5, Section 1c Aliens Act.

[6] Ch. 12, Section 9 a Aliens Act.

[7]CJEU, Case C-155/15 Karim v. Migrationsverket, OJ 2015 C198/23.

[8] CJEU, Case C-155/15 Karim v. Migrationsverket, Judgment of 7 June 2016, available at: http://bit.ly/2kKfKa9.

[9] Migration Court of Appeal, MIG 2016:24, UM 6068-14, 24 November 2016, available at: http://bit.ly/2km3Qpk.

[10]Information provided by Migration Agency, February 2018.

[11] There is a right to free legal assistance if a person is detained for more than 3 days as a measure related to expulsion or transfer. Also, certain vulnerable asylum seekers (deaf and mute for example) can be granted free legal assistance.

[12] Migrationsverket, Rättslig kommentar angående överföringar till Ungern i enlighet med Dublinförordningen, SR 06/2019, 4 March 2019, available in Swedish at: http://bit.ly/2HEERcY.

[13]Migrationsverket, Rättslig kommentar angående överföringar till Ungern i enlighet med Dublinförordningen, SR 06/2019, 4 March 2019, available in Swedish at: http://bit.ly/2HEERcY.

[14] Recommendation C(2016) 8525 of 8 December 2016

[15]Information from the Migration Agency, Dulbin Unit, July 2019.

[16] Chapter 10, Section 13 Aliens Act.


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