The “safe third country” concept is a ground for inadmissibility in Sweden (see Admissibility Procedure). There is no list of safe third countries. However, following the large influx of arrivals in 2015, the (then) Swedish government publicly announced that it would be positive to the development of common standards within the EU to this regard. Practice shows that the safe third country concept is regularly applied by the Migration Agency.
Chapter 5, Section 1b(3) of the Aliens Act provides that an application may be dismissed if the applicant can be returned to a country where he or she:
- Does not risk being subjected to persecution;
- Does not risk suffering the death penalty or being subjected to corporal punishment, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
- Is protected against being sent on to a country where he or she does not have equivalent protection,
- Has the opportunity to apply for protection as a refugee.
In a legal opinion issued in December 2018, the Migration Agency provides details on the application of the safe third country concept. The opinion details that the possibility to apply for refugee status in a third country should not only exist formally but also be observed in practice. Accordingly, the country must fulfil the requirements of a fair asylum system, effective remedies, and protection from removal where risks of refoulement are invoked, on the basis of available country information.
Chapter 5, Section 1b(3) of the Aliens Act also requires a connection to the country concerned that makes it reasonable for him or her to travel there. An application may not be dismissed if:
- The applicant has a spouse, a child or a parent who is resident in Sweden and the applicant does not have equally close family ties to the country to which a refusal-of-entry or expulsion order may be enforced; or
- The applicant, because of a previous extended stay in Sweden with a residence permit or right of residence, has acquired special ties to this country and lacks such ties or ties through relatives to the country to which a refusal-of-entry or expulsion order may be enforced.
The legal opinion issued by the Migration Agency in December 2018 clarifies that, for the safe third country concept to be applied, the applicant must hold stronger ties to the third country concerned than to Sweden. Stay in the third country is not required. Examples of reasonable connection include marriage with a citizen of the country.
 Migration Agency, Rättsligt ställningstagande angående avvisning av ansökan om uppehållstillstånd med stöd av 5 kap. 1 b § utlänningslagen, 44/2018, 6 December 2018, available in Swedish at: https://bit.ly/2L00rv8, 7.
 Migration Agency, Rättsligt ställningstagande angående avvisning av ansökan om uppehållstillstånd med stöd av 5 kap. 1 b § utlänningslagen, 44/2018, 6 December 2018, 7.