National asylum procedures

If it is established that Switzerland is responsible for processing an application for asylum, SEM staff examine the application carefully. The accelerated asylum procedures follow a strict process and timetable at each stage.

The maximum length of stay in a federal asylum centre is 140 days. Asylum seekers whose application cannot be dealt with during this time, for example because further information is required, are transferred to a cantonal asylum centre until their application has been fully processed.

Accelerated procedure

Once the preparatory phase has been completed, an interview is conducted to discover the asylum seeker’s reasons for claiming asylum. This is essential to be able to assess if there are sufficient reasons for processing the application, if the requirements for refugee status and the conditions for granting asylum are met or if there are any reasons why the asylum seeker cannot be removed. Each case is dealt with individually, and interviews are conducted in a transparent manner and transcribed verbatim. If it is clear from the interview that there are sufficient grounds for assessing the asylum seeker’s application, the staff at the asylum centre make an initial decision within eight days. If the asylum seeker is granted asylum or temporary admission at this stage, they are then transferred to one of the cantonal asylum centres.

If the asylum claim is rejected, the draft decision is then seen by a lawyer, who has 24 hours to respond to it. The decision may be amended on the recommendation of the lawyer and is then communicated to the asylum seeker, who may appeal against a negative decision within seven working days.

Extended procedure

If further information on the asylum seeker’s grounds for asylum is required following the interview, an extended procedure is conducted. The Confederation allocates the asylum seeker to one of the cantons, which then becomes responsible for all further steps in the process (integration in the case of asylum being granted; removal in the case of asylum being rejected). In the extended procedure, rejected asylum seekers have 30 days to appeal against the decision.

Enforcement phase

As soon as a removal order is issued, SEM conducts a further ‘departure interview’ with the asylum seeker. Those who receive a removal order must leave the federal asylum centre and the country before the end of the 140 days’ maximum stay.

The canton hosting the federal asylum centre is responsible for enforcing removal orders issued in the accelerated procedure or in the Dublin Procedure.

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