The three phases of the asylum procedure

The asylum procedure in Denmark

If you want to apply for asylum, the first step is to register with the police or at Center Sandholm in Allerød. In Sandholm, you will have your photo and fingerprints taken, and you will be asked to state name, date of birth, and country of origin and to hand over any ID documents. An asylum seeker card will be issued immediately, which serves as your personal ID. After the registration, you will be accommodated by Danish Red Cross in the center. Read more about the centers here.

After a few days, you will be summoned by the Danish Immigration Service to fill out a written asylum form. This can be done in any language. Shortly after, you will be called in for the first personal interview with Danish Immigration Service. It takes place in Sandholm, and an interpreter will be present. The interview will last for 3-6 hours. Immigration Service will first determine which of the four procedures your case should follow: 1) the Dublin procedure (see more under Dublin Regulation), 2) the Manifestly Un-founded procedure, 3) the Manifestly Well-founded procedure, or 4) the Normal procedure. 

Refugees Welcome has a leaflet in 10 languages with good advice for asylum seekers.  

Read in detail about how cases are processed in our report "Well-founded Fear – credibility and risk assessment in Danish asylum cases".

Special issues regarding women are described in detail in our report "They don't know how much stress we have – women in the asylum system and the integration process."

PHASE 1 (arrival):
• Very low cash allowance, food provided by the cafeteria 
• No internship or education
• Living at the reception center Sandholm

If you have had a visa issued, have close family members, your fingerprints have been registered or you already have a residence permit in a country which signed the Dublin Regulation, then your case will follow the Dublin procedure. Denmark will request the other country to take over the asylum case. If you disagree with Immigration Service’s ruling, DRC Danish Refugee Council will assist you with a complaint to the Refugee Appeals Board (Flygtningenævnet), but the decisions are rarely overruled.    

If the case is not considered a Dublin case, the asessment of the case will begin in Denmark. Now you are in phase 2 and will be moved to an accommodation center. You also have the right to apply for humanitarian residence permit, but this is very rarely granted.

PHASE 2 (processing of the case): 
• Move to accommodation center in Jutland
• Basic cash allowance (pocket money) + maybe money for self-catering (depending on the center)
• Internship + basic language education (Danish or English)

Manifestly Unfounded cases (ÅG or ÅGH). A case is determined to be manifestly unfounded if people from your country are hardly ever granted asylum or if your grounds for seeking asylum are deemed to be obviously weak or invalid. Your asylum case is then rejected. However, DRC Danish Refugee Council will also call you in for an interview, as they can impose veto in all Manifestly Unfounded cases if they disagree, and the case will then go back to normal procedure. If your case is under the manifestly unfounded procedure, you do not receive any cash allowance and must stay in a center with a cafeteria. 

Manifestly Well-founded is a faster procedure for asylum seekers who are very likely to be granted asylum. The procedure often only requires one interview. Manifestly well-founded cases are usually processed in a few months, depending on the general waiting time. 

Most asylum cases go through the Normal procedure, which includes a second and maybe third interview with the Immigration Service, taking place after some months. In the second interview, you will be asked to elaborate on your answers provided in the first interview and there might be results from investigations initiated after the first interview.

You will receive a letter with the decision. If it's a permit, you will be assigned to a municipality that holds the responsibility for overseeing the following 3-year integration period.

If the decision is negative, the case will automatically be appealed to the Refugee Appeals Board. After a two-weeks "thinking break" you will be called in for a meeting with the Return Agency who will offer you 20,000 DKK and certain advantages if you stop the case. However, if you want to appeal, you will be appointed a lawyer after your own choice. The lawyer will summon you to a meeting and prepare the case. Usually, the board meeting will take place several months after the rejection and you will attend in person together with your lawyer and an interpreter. 

The Refugee Appeals Board consists of 3 members: The board’s chair is a judge, the remaining members are appointed by the Ministry of Integration and the Danish Bar and Law Society. In practice, there are several boards working in tandem. Around 20% of the rulings are reversed, and most of the rulings are unanimous. The board’s ruling is final and cannot be appealed. You can apply to have your case reopened, but this will only happen if new important information has emerged after the ruling of the case – either in the form of personal circumstances, a change in the situation in your country of origin or a general change of practice in similar cases. See more under How is an asylum case determined?      

PHASE 3 (if you had a final rejection): 
• Meeting with Return Agency about Return Contract
• Ban on entry if the contract is not signed
• Move to departure center Avnstrup or Kærshovedgård, depending on your family situation
• No cash allowance (pocket money) or self catering
• No internships
• Risk of imprisonment in the Ellebæk Prison
• Daily reporting and regular meetings with the Return Agency.

Read more about what happens after a final rejection on the page Rejection of asylum – then what? or download our report "A Firm Hand – Denmark's policy on rejected asylum seekers and return".