The Dublin agreement is a mechanism in the European Union, which helps identify which country is responsible for processing the asylum application of someone belonging to a non-EU country or a stateless person.

In other words, the law determines which country will process the application of a person seeking asylum under the Geneva Convention.

Signatories to the Dublin regulation include the EU’s 28 member states, and Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.

The regulation is also referred to as Dublin III (EC 604/2013), which replaces the earlier EU Dublin regulations Dublin II (343/2003) and the original Dublin Convention, which was signed in 1990.

Once a migrant applies for asylum, officials record his basic information and take fingerprints. To establish the responsibility for asylum, officials take several criteria into consideration. These include, in hierarchical order, family considerations, recent possession of a visa or residence permit of a member state, and whether an applicant has entered the EU legally or illegally.

In most cases, the applicant also appears for a personal interview with officials processing asylum documents, to explain to them why they are at risk in their homeland and seek protection in Europe.

The purpose of the regulation is to determine which country is responsible for processing an asylum seeker’s application. Usually, this is the first EU member state that the migrants set their foot on. The regulation also strives to ensure that each application gets a fair examination in one country of the European Union.

The Dublin system assumes that asylum laws and practices are at the same level in all European Union countries and those applicants will be afforded equal status of protection everywhere within the EU. However, asylum practices vary from country to country. Member states at EU borders have also complained that the system puts all the burden of migrants on them, since they are usually the first point of refugees fleeing to Europe.

Another problem with the Dublin system is that people applying for asylum often have to wait for some time without knowing whether their application will be accepted. During this period, they are forced to live in detention centers and are separated from their families. In some cases, their appeals are never heard, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

More information on asylum applications and the Dublin system in Germany can be found on the website of the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. 

For more on asylum procedures in the European Union, click here.

Sources:,  UN High Commission for Refugees


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