Safe third country


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


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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 appreciate the development of common standards within the EU in this regard. Practice shows that the safe third country concept is regularly applied by the Swedish Migration Agency.[1]


Safety criteria

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 they:

  • 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 they do not have equivalent protection,
  • Has the opportunity to apply for protection as a refugee.

In a legal opinion issued in April 2021 the Migration Agency provides details on the application of the safe third country concept. The opinion details that the possibility of applying 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.[2]


Connection criteria

Chapter 5, Section 1b(3) of the Aliens Act also requires a connection to the country concerned that makes it reasonable for them to travel there. An application may not be dismissed if:[3]

  • 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.





[1] Swedish Migration Agency, Statistics, 18 January 2023, available at:;
Swedish Refugee Law Center, Rättsäkerheten och säkra ursprungsländer, available in Swedish with an English summary at:

[2] Migration Agency, Rättsligt ställningstagande angående avvisning av ansökan om uppehållstillstånd med stöd av 5 kap. 1 b § utlänningslagen, RS/065/2021, 23 April 2021, available in Swedish at:, 10.

[3] Ch. 5, Section 1b(3) Aliens Act. See also Migration Court of Appeal, UM 3266-14, MIG 2015:12, 20 August 2015, available 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