What is a safe country of origin?
A country of origin is considered to be safe if there is generally and consistently no persecution according to the Geneva Convention or risk of suffering serious harm according to the subsidiary protection definition. This is determined on the basis of:
- the legal situation in the country of origin;
- the application of the law;
- the general political circumstances;
- the extent to which protection is provided against persecution and abuse.
The assessment whether a country is a safe country of origin, is based on a series of information sources, among which information from other member states of the European Union, information from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Council of Europe and other relevant international organizations.
Which countries are included in the list?
The list of safe countries was last updated in the RD of 15 February 2019. This RD is effective since 1 March 2019.
At present, the following countries are considered as safe countries of origin: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of North-Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, India and Georgia. These are the same countries as the ones mentioned in the RD of 17 December 2017.
This list is updated at least once a year, but may be reviewed more quickly, if the situation has changed in the countries of origin.
The CGRS only grants protection status to an applicant from a safe country of origin if he gives fundamental reasons why the country is not a safe country of origin in his case.
If after an individual assessment of all elements, the applicant thus appears to meet the criteria of the Geneva Convention or the subsidiary protection definition, the CGRS decides to grant international protection status.
The CGRS can process the applications for international protection filed by applicants from a safe country of origin according to the accelerated procedure. When applying the accelerated procedure, the CGRS can use a shortened invitation, processing and appeal period of two calendar days, 15 working days and ten calendar days respectively. The shortened period of ten days to lodge an appeal in full jurisdiction with the Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL) only applies if the CGRS actually respects the processing period of 15 days, counting from the reception of the file transmitted by the Immigration Office.
Other specific procedures