The Dublin Procedure
Switzerland has applied the Dublin Association Agreements since 12th December 2008. The 28 Member States of the European Union and the four associated states Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland compose the Dublin Area. These 32 states apply the same rules to determine the state responsible for examining a specific asylum application.
The Dublin Procedure is largely based on two regulations, one by the European Council and one by the European Commission, which lay down the criteria for determining the Member State responsible. These two regulations have thus been integral components of Swiss asylum and foreign national law since 12th December 2008.
The Dublin Procedure seeks to ensure that only one Member State examines each application for asylum. It does not harmonise the asylum procedure amongst the Member States, but merely defines the criteria for determining which Member State is responsible for conducting the asylum procedure. Once responsibility has been established, the individual asylum application is examined according to the respective national asylum law of the competent Member State.
The Dublin Regulations provide for each asylum application to be examined by one Member State only. This is done to prevent asylum seekers from lodging several asylum applications and also to ensure that at least one Member State is competent for each asylum seeker.
The Dublin Regulations can only apply to third-country nationals, i.e. persons who are not in possession of a Member State citizenship. If a citizen of a Member State nonetheless lodges an asylum application in Switzerland, the Dublin Regulations are not applicable; in this case, the provisions of a bilateral return agreement are applied.