The Dublin Regulation
The Dublin Regulation is an agreement between the EU member states which ensures that an application for asylum submitted in an EU country is handled by one, and only one, country. The Regulation is included in Denmark's general reservation regarding Justice and Home Affairs, but Denmark has acceded the Regulation through a parallel agreement.
The Regulation prevents the same application from being processed by several EU countries at the same time, and ensures that an asylum seeker is not re-directed from state to state simply because no one will take the responsibility of processing his/her case.
In Denmark's case, the Dublin Regulation came into effect on 1 April 2006 as the replacement for the Dublin Convention. To a large extent, the contents of the Dublin Regulation are the same as the Dublin Convention.
The Regulation establishes responsibility for an asylum application
The Regulation establishes, first and foremost, definitive criteria as to which EU country is responsible for handling an asylum application. According to these criteria, in order of priority, the responsibility rests with:
The country where the applicant's closest family already resides.
The country which has issued a residence permit or visa to the applicant (if applicable).
The first EU country that the applicant has entered, whether lawfully or unlawfully.
The country where the applicant has previously applied for asylum (if applicable).
How is the Regulation applied in practice?
When a foreign national comes to Denmark and appeals for asylum, the National Aliens Division is charged with establishing the identity, nationality and travel route of the asylum seeker. To achieve this, the National Aliens Division will investigate whether the applicant has already been in contact with immigration authorities in any other EU country. If this is the case, the asylum seeker's case may not be processed in Denmark.
If, in accordance with the Dublin Regulation, the Immigration Service establishes that another EU country is responsible for an asylum application, the service will normally ask this country to assume responsibility for processing it. If the state in question agrees to do so, the asylum seeker will be transferred to that country for processing.
If the Immigration Service discovers that an asylum seeker’s application is already being processed in another EU country, he/she will be returned to that country.
The initial process of determining whether an application for asylum should be processed in Denmark or another EU country takes an average of three months to complete, although it may take as long as six months. This time frame refers to cases that are ultimately handled in Denmark.