Dublin III > Germany

update: 20/04/2016

In early 2016 the German Ministry of the Interior informed about prolonging the temporary stop of Dublin-deportations to Greece for another 6 months. This means since 2011 at least until June 2016 there will be no "Dublin"-deportations from Germany to Greece. It is unclear until now, what will happen after June 2016 up to now.

There is no deportation stop to any other countries then Greece. But "Dublin"-deportations (also to Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Malta e.g.) are more and more contested. Some courts decide in many single cases against Dublin-deportations, especially in cases of people the authorities consider being "vulnerable" (minors, families with small children, persons with serious health problems or traumatisation). To Malta minors or families with small children will not be deported. If you have been fingerprinted in another country than Greece it is very important to contact a specialized lawyer and/or counselling group. Even if your fingerprints are found and the authorities plan to deport you within Europe, there are some possibilities to try to prevent a deportation. If you don’t succeed with legal remedies, there are more ways to avoid being deported. Some useful hints you may find below.

How does the Dublin-regulation work?

Usually, the authorities will take your fingerprints upon registration to compare them with data from other EU-countries in the computerized system called Eurodac. The authorities will also ask you, which way you arrived (your travel route). Based on this information, they will decide if they are responsible to process your asylum application or if another country (that you passed through earlier) is responsible for that. If they find your fingerprint or any other information to prove that you have been in another EU-country (other than Greece), they will ask this country to take you back. If this country does not refuse within the legal time frame or does not answer at all (within 4 months after your fingerprints have been taken in Germany), you will receive a letter informing you about your scheduled deportation.

The good news is: in many cases the people, who had to give their fingerprints before in another cuntry will not be deported back in the end. According to our experiences, particularly in 2015, we would even say that fewer and fewer people are deported. Fingerprints in EURODAC cannot be “deleted” or “cleared”, but there are certain time limits for the deportation. So for example after Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary etc. became responsible for you, there is a time limit of 6 months to carry out the deportation. IMPORTANT: it is NOT 6 months from your arrival in another country, but six months after a date that can only be found in your file in the migration office. You need help to understand your personal time limit. This time limit can be extended to 18 months if you were “hiding”, what means that the authorities think you went underground.

Information: Unaccompanied minors (under the age of 18) have no legal limitation to stay in any specific country. They can even apply for asylum several times within Europe. As long as they don’t receive any papers they can move freely. If they are fingerprinted in the first country and registered there falsely as adults, in Germany they will still not be sent back if registered as under-aged here. Beware that this practice does not apply to all EU countries. We know for example that the Netherlands consider the age you have given in your first interview in an EU country as decisive. That means for example, if you have been registered in Bulgaria as an adult, you will be an adult in the Netherlands as well. Beware that you have to register your asylum application with the competent asylum authority before you turn 18! Beware, that in the moment you are made older by the authorities after an age-testing and you are not registered as a minor you are again in danger to be threatened with being deported under Dublin!

What can I do if there is a risk that I will be deported to another Dublin state?

Here you will find some useful information, which way a deportation from Germany based on the so called Dublin-regulation can be avoided. This is possible in many cases and you can be sure that you have a lot of reasons to be hopeful not to get deported. How to do that:

1) Build your own team!

Like in most other struggles, you can succeed to stop a deportation if you are able to build a team. For your team you need some experts: counsellors who have knowledge about Dublin-deportations and how to stop them, most probably also a lawyer, maybe a good doctor and/or psychologist. And most importantly: friends who will support you to not give up.

2) Document your own story in for example Italy, Hungary or Bulgaria, the country you are threatened to be deported!

In order to document the bad living circumstances, mistreatment and human rights violations which you suffered in the country they want to deport you to, collect photos and any other forms of evidence that show your problems there, keep a copy of papers from doctors or NGOs about illnesses or injuries if possible in your Facebook or email-account to be able to get it back later. It is also helpful to write down in advance all your stories of persecution plus all difficulties you encountered on the road to and through Europe. There might be traumatizing experiences you yourself don’t consider important but which your lawyer can use to argue against your intended deportation. Maybe you can write down some data and stories as soon as possible (the more time is passing, the more you will forget). Many people for example tend to forget the name of the prison they were kept in or the date when they were imprisoned. Personal experiences, which you should definitely mention: if you have experienced pushbacks at the border, if police and/or military have beaten, kicked or threatened you, if you have been imprisoned, if you have been homeless or without food for longer times and if you have faced difficulties there that made it impossible for you to build your future there.

3) Contact support groups and look for counselling after arrival!

If you had to give fingerprints for example in Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia or any other country that belongs to the European Union, you should contact support-groups in your city as soon as possible. In most cases you will also need a lawyer. Seek advice from support groups for contacts to good, experienced lawyers to prevent a deportation based on the Dublin III Regulation. Some useful contacts in Germany you may find here: http://w2eu.info/germany.en/articles/germany-contacts.en.html.  Or you just get into contact with proasyl@proasyl.de. They can give you an advice how to find a counselling office and a good and trustful lawyer near your place of living.

3) Take a lawyer and fight for your rights in front of a court!

Good lawyers are very useful in the procedure, but seek advice which lawyers have experience with Dublin-cases before. Usually they take money for supporting your case. Even if you lack money, you can probably arrange to pay the lawyer in monthly rates with the social welfare money – it makes a lot of sense to invest this money. The moment when you receive a letter with a deportation order is the latest moment when YOU HAVE TO SEEK HELP of a lawyer IMMEDIATELY. There is only one week time for the lawyer to appeal before the court against your deportation. In the best case you will have already taken a lawyer in advance and you will be prepared to fight against your deportation. Don’t wait until the last moment! The chances to stop a Dublin-deportation in front of a court are often given, when it is about Hungary, Italy, Bulgaria or Malta, because many judges know that the situation for refugees is very bad there. But there is a huge difference between the different courts and you cannot choose the court which is responsible for you. About the legal steps read the chapter below.

4) In case you have medical or psychological problems look for a good doctor and/or psychologist!

In order to appeal against your deportation it is important to express your vulnerabilities and – if you have any - evidence on why your living circumstances in the country they want to deport you to were so sub-standard that you cannot return. Vulnerable groups such as families with children under 2 years, sick persons, the mentally ill, single mothers etc. are more likely not to be deported. Prepare a good documentation of your vulnerability. Lawyers need documents to argue on your behalf, so start early to collect any written evidence by doctors, psychologists, social workers etc.

5) Mention Family links if possible already in your first interview!

If you have any family members in Germany, explain to your lawyer and the authorities why you rely on the help of your relatives or why they rely on you. This dependency can be another factor supporting your claim that you cannot be returned to another EU-country, for example, if you have your elderly mother who cannot take care of herself, or an underage relative with no other family members nearby etc. It is good to mention all sorts of family links – authorities can decide not to follow the Dublin-procedure because of family links.

6) Even if the court will finally decide against you, there are many other ways to stop a deportation:

There are many people who manage to prevent Dublin-deportations even after negative court decisions. There is a time limit for the deportation: from the moment the country became “responsible” for you and/or after a negative court-decision, there are only 6 months given in which the authorities have to carry out the deportation. After this time limit expired, Germany will be responsible. So there are many people who managed to exceed that time limit:

a) they had been (mentally or physically) sick to a degree that they could not travel (mental state: i.e. that you are a danger for yourself or others; physical state: i.e. heart disease),

b) they resisted against the deportation and it was too late for the authorities to book a next flight,

c) some churches offer asylum and protect refugees who are under threat of deportation, which is called church asylum. To find a church that might help you, you need to ask local friends where to ask for.

d) there can be decisions to transfer the responsibility to the country of arrival, if there is a political decision or will to do so. For all these steps you need a good network of friends around you to support you.

Attention: In Germany there are many new asylum applications right now so the asylum system including the registration system and the comparison of fingerprints is blocked sometimes for weeks and even months. The resulting delays lead in some cases to the expiration of time-limits defined in law concerning the Dublin deportations so that a forced return based on fingerprints cannot be carried out anymore. The more time is passing by, the better for you. BUT your lawyer needs to check the time limits by himself by getting your permit to look into your file.

Good luck and a lot of strength for you for the future!

Legal steps that can be taken with the help of a lawyer against the deportation:

If you do not want to be deported, you can try to convince the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt) that they should make use of the sovereignty clause and carry out the asylum procedure in Germany. However, this is very difficult.

In the majority of cases, you have to go to an administrative court and request a deportation suspension, obliging the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to carry out the asylum procedure in Germany.

You will get a deportation order (Abschiebebescheid) before you can get deported. It is a big yellow letter. You have to lodge an appeal against your deportation with the local administration within two weeks after you received it (the date when you received the letter is noted on the yellow envelope. Attention: this is the date that counts, not the date when you had it in your hands. So you need to check your postbox every day!). The problem is that this appeal does not have suspensive effect which means that you can still be deported even though the court has not decided about your appeal yet. Therefore, you should also lodge an urgent appeal for the suspensive effect (Eilantrag für aufschiebende Wirkung) which means that you ask the court to order a suspensive effect for the appeal. Attention: the urgent appeal for the suspensive effect (Eilantrag für aufschiebende Wirkung) can only be lodged within 1 week after you received the yellow letter! Your urgent appeal should be well-reasoned. You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible and explain to them in detail why you do not want to be deported, for instance, describing what has happened to you in another Dublin state.

If you are sick, disabled or traumatized, you should get a medical certificate from a doctor to prove this. If there are other asylum seekers who are not doing well and who may not be able to ask for help themselves, please help them get to a counseling agency, doctor or lawyer.

If the urgent appeal is rejected, you could lodge a complaint at the Constitutional Court of Germany and if the complaint is rejected by the Constitutional Court, you could lodge a complaint at the European Court of Human Rights. These steps don’t make sense in all cases and you need to speak with your lawyer, if she/he thinks it is possible or not.

How to resist against a deportation last minute:

If it is already too late for legal steps and you are under immediate deportation threat the information on how to resist against a deportation might be important for you to read:



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