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The airport procedure

A special procedure, known as the "airport procedure", applies should people attempt to enter the country by air and apply for asylum.

This entails the asylum procedure being carried even out before the Federal Police decide whether an individual may enter the country, that is while they are still in the transit area, if the applicants are unable to identify themselves with a valid passport or replacement passport after having orally requested protection, or if they come from a safe third country.

Special arrangement

Since the airport procedure is operated subject to the "principle of immediacy", the Federal Office must interview applicants within two days of receiving the asylum application. It is then decided whether they are to be permitted to enter the country or the asylum application is to be rejected as "manifestly unfounded". If it is turned down, the Federal Police can refuse to permit them to enter.

Following on from a rejection, applicants have three days’ time to submit an application for temporary legal protection to an administrative court. They then receive legal advice from an independent lawyer free of charge. The administrative court can grant a further four days in which to submit grounds on request. If the administrative court approves the emergency application or has not ruled on it within 14 days, the asylum applicant may enter the country. This means that the airport procedure has a potential total duration of 19 days. The asylum applicants must however remain in the airport transit area until a final ruling has been handed down. If the appeal is turned down, they are sent back either to the place where their flight originated, or to their country of origin.

The airport procedure is only implemented at airports which can accommodate asylum applicants on the airport complex. This currently applies at Berlin-Schönefeld, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt/Main, Hamburg and Munich airports.

Hervorhebung_Gesetzgebung: Background information

An amendment was adopted in 1993 to Article 16 of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz), and in this context the right to asylum was reformulated in Article 16 a of the Basic Law and the airport procedure was introduced. Without the airport procedure, the Federal Police would have to permit anyone who has destroyed their passport and requests asylum to enter Germany because of the "principle of non-refoulement" that is contained in the Geneva Refugee Convention.

Hervorhebung_Gesetzgebung: The legal basis

Date 1 October 2016

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