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  • Where in Switzerland can I ask for asylum?
    You may ask for asylum at Swiss border (border control, also at the airport) or at a federal asylum center.
  • How can I ask for asylum?
    You may ask for asylum orally. You may also use our written template.
  • What does the asylum procedure look like?
    Please read our handout.
  • May I work during the asylum procedure?
    During the first three months of the asylum procedure working is not allowed. Afterwards it is possible in certain cantons, with restrictions though. Please ask the migration authorities of your canton. You can find a list of the authorities here.
  • I did not say the truth in my first interview. What shall I do now?
    Explain at the beginning of your second interview that and why you did not say the truth in your first interview. Please be aware that untrue statements decrease your credibility and therewith also diminish your chances for a positive decision.
  • What is important with regard to the second interview?
    Please read our handout.
  • After my second interview I received a negative decision. What does that mean and what can I do now?
    This means that you are neither accepted as a refugee in Switzerland nor will you receive temporary protection. Depending on your asylum procedure, you have between 5 and 30 days to appeal this decision. Please immediately request to view your files, you may use our template and contact an attorney or a legal aid center to discuss the further steps. If AsyLex has capacity, we’re happy to write a free appeal for you, please contact us here. If you do not appeal the decision or if the appeal has been rejected, you are obliged to leave Switzerland. For this purpose, the cantonal migration authorities generally ask you to cooperate with regard to the procurement of your papers. You are obliged to cooperate, otherwise detention under the law of foreign nationals may be ordered.
  • How long does the asylum procedure take?
    Depending on the constellation, the decision might be taken very quickly (especially for asylum seekers coming from so called “safe countries”). Since March 2019 the accelerated procedure has been introduced. You can find more information about the different steps and their duration on the website of the Swiss Refugee Council. In general, however, the asylum procedure should not take longer than maximum one year.
  • I did not receive asylum, but temporary protection. What is that supposed to mean?
    Probably in your case the asylum requirements (see question no. 15) were not fulfilled, but you cannot be returned to your country of origin nevertheless. This might be because such a return would be unlawful since the general security situation in your country of origin is critical; impossible, for example because the authorities in your country of origin do not cooperate; or not reasonable, for example because of your health condition. In specific cases, temporary protection as a refugee is also possible, especially if the grounds for asylum only arose after you left your home country. Temporary protection is limited to one year but it may be extended – which normally is the case. Compared to accepted refugees, this status has several disadvantages: the reunification with family members is possible after three years only and in general you will receive less social security assistance (Sozialhilfe) or only emergency assistance (Nothilfe) as financial support. If you do not agree with the decision to receive temporary protection instead of refugee status, you may appeal this decision within 30 days. Please ask immediately to view your files. Also contact an attorney or a legal aid center immediately. If AsyLex has the capacity, we may support you in this situation, please contact us here.
  • The migration authorities ordered detention pending deportation. What can I do?
    Ask immediately for judicial review of your detention. If AsyLex has the capacity, we may support you in this situation, please contact us here.
  • For how long detention pending deportation may be ordered?
    In principle the maximum duration of detention is 6 months. The court may extend the duration another 12 months (i.e. total maximum is 18 months).
  • I got a final removal decision, but my country of origin does not take me back. What can I do?
    If circumstances changed significantly or if you have new evidence on the threats in your country of origin, you might ask for reconsideration. Otherwise you will remain in Switzerland “illegally”. You will only receive emergency assistance (Nothilfe) but no social security assistance (Sozialhilfe) and you will not be allowed to work. After five years in Switzerland you have the possibility to ask for a permit based on a hardship case. The requirements are very strict and are handled differently in every canton.
  • My decision says that I have to return to another Dublin state. Why is this the case and what can I do against it?
    Within the Dublin area (most European countries) there is a general rule that the country, where the asylum seeker was registered first, will be responsible for the whole asylum procedure. Therefore it is likely that you are registered in another country already, e.g. by way of fingerprint. You may appeal this decision within 5 days. Please be aware of the fact that chances are rather low since also health problems do generally not prevent a return to another Dublin state. If you want to make an appeal nevertheless, you should immediately contact an attorney or a legal aid center. If AsyLex has the capacity, we may support you in this situation, please contact us here.
  • I would like to bring my family members to Switzerland. How can I do that?
    This depends on your status: Asylum seekers (N permit) may ask to reunite their case with their close family members (spouse, minor children), if these other family members are in another Dublin state. Most countries in Europe are Dublin states. Make sure that you inform the migration authorities (SEM) as soon as possible about such family members. Please be aware of the fact that you cannot chose which Dublin state will treat the requests for your family, depending on the constellation it might be the country where your family members are and not Switzerland. Accepted refugees (B permit) may ask to be reunited with close family members (spouse, minor children) in Switzerland. People with temporary protection (F permit) may ask to be reunited with close family members (spouse, minor children) in Switzerland after 3 years. Please be aware of the fact that the permission procedure for family reunification takes some time.
  • After I had received asylum in Switzerland I travelled to my country of origin. Will I lose my asylum status?
    Travelling to the country of origin is generally not possible. It leads to the withdrawal of the refugee status since obviously there is no more threat in the country of origin and protection is not needed anymore.
  • To whom does Switzerland grant asylum?
    Switzerland grants asylum to people who are subject to serious disadvantages in their country of origin based on their race, religion, political views or social group (or who have a well-founded fear of such threat). Such serious disadvantages are threat to life, physical integrity or freedom as well as measures that exert Intolerable psychological pressure. Please find more information in our handout.
  • May I ask for asylum in Switzerland when I am abroad (from outside Switzerland)?
    In principle, asylum can only be requested on Swiss territory. Asking for asylum from abroad is not possible. The only possibility is to ask for a humanitarian visa. Humanitarian visas are only issued in very specific situations, such as medical emergencies. For more information, please see here (in German only); you can find the application form here („Schengen Visa Application Form“). You have to apply in person at a Swiss embassy. If you are originally from Afghanistan and have fled to a third country due to the events in August 2021, or are still in Afghanistan but have family in Switzerland, you can use this tool which will guide you step by step through the application process. If AsyLex has the capacity, we can support you in this situation, please contact us here.
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