Asylum decision

The Asylum Act (AsylA) regulates the granting of asylum and the legal status of refugees in Switzerland, together with the temporary protection of persons in need of protection and their return (Art. 1 AsylA).

Art. 31a AsylA 

Under Article 31a paragraph 1 letters a-e AsylA and Article 31a paragraph 3 AsylA, the SEM will normally dismiss an application for asylum if the asylum seeker:

  • can return to a safe third country under Article 6a paragraph 2 letter b AsylA in which he or she was previously resident (Art. 31a Abs. 1 lit. a AsylA);
  • can travel to a third country that is responsible under an international agreement for conducting the asylum and removal procedures (Art. 31a Abs. 1 lit. b AsylA);
  • can return to a third country in which he or she was previously resident (Art. 31a Abs. 1 lit. c AsylA);
  • can continue to a third country for which he or she holds a visa and where he or she can seek protection (Art. 31a Abs. 1 lit. d AsylA);
  • can continue to a third country where persons with whom he or she has a close relationship or dependants live (Art. 31a Abs. 1 lit. e AsylA);
  • does not meet the requirements of Article 18 AsylA, and in particular if the application for asylum is made exclusively for economic or medical reasons (Art. 31a Abs. 3 AsylA).

If the prerequisites for processing an asylum application are fulfilled, the State Secretariat for Migration first examines whether applicants are eligible for refugee status under the provisions of Article 3 of the Asylum Act. Persons requesting asylum are granted refugee status if their reasons for claiming asylum are credible, and if they are in danger of persecution as defined under the Asylum Act. Persons who do not fulfil the provisions for obtaining refugee status will have their application rejected and be ordered to leave Switzerland.

In the next stage of the asylum procedure, the State Secretariat for Migration examines whether the asylum seeker whose application has been rejected can indeed be expelled from Switzerland. This stage consists of three steps: The Swiss asylum authorities must examine, first, whether the removal of a person is admissible (that is, whether it is in accordance with Switzerland’s international obligations); second, whether it is reasonable to remove a person to his home country or a third country on account of the general situation in the country in question; and third, whether the removal of the person is possible. If any one of these three conditions is not fulfilled, the State Secretariat for Migration grants that person temporary protection in Switzerland.

Asylum seekers who are not eligible for refugee status and whose removal from Switzerland is admissible, reasonable and possible, are set a deadline by which they must leave Switzerland.

Applicants have the right to appeal against a negative decision or the dismissal of a case by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). The appeal must be submitted to the Federal Administrative Tribunal (FAT).

When submitting an appeal, appellants must observe the following provisions:

  • Deadlines
    An appeal against a negative decision must be submitted to the FAT within thirty days after notification of the negative decision by SEM. An appeal against the dismissal of a case must be submitted to the FAT within five working days.
  • Petition, statement of reasons, documentary evidence
    The appeal should contain a clear request or petition (for example: the appellant requests temporary protection or political asylum). Appellants should state the reasons for their re-quest and provide documentary proof if possible.
  • Language, signature, enclosures
    The appeal must be written in one of the official languages of Switzerland (German, French or Italian) and signed either by the appellant or a legal representative. The appeal must be submitted in duplicate and include any available documentary proof. A copy of the SEM decision should also be enclosed.

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