How your international protection application is assessed
This page has information about how the International Protection Office (IPO) assesses your application for international protection.
The IPO will decide if your application is admissible following the preliminary interview.
If your application is admissible, you will be given a questionnaire to complete. Later you will attend a personal interview. The IPO will then decide what to recommend to the Minister for Justice regarding your application. You can read a step-by-step guide to how your application is processed.
When is an application for international protection in admissible?
Some applications for international protection are inadmissible. This means that the applicant cannot apply for international protection for one of the reasons that are set out in the International Protection Act.
Already granted refugee status or with sufficient protection in another country
An application is inadmissible if another EU country has granted you refugee status or subsidiary protection.
It is also inadmissible if you were granted refugee status in a country outside the EU and that protection is still available to you, or you enjoy sufficient protection in that country. Sufficient protection includes protection against torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment.
Arriving from a safe third country
Your application is also inadmissible if you arrived from a safe third country. For a country to be considered safe for you, the IPO should consider the following:
- Your connection to that country. This includes the length of time you lived there, any relatives or people you are in a relationship with who are in that country, and any cultural connections you have to that country.
- If you will be allowed to re-enter that country
- The likelihood that you will be subjected to torture, other inhuman or degrading treatment there, or the death penalty.
A safe third country is not the same as a ‘safe country of origin’.
Decisions on admissibility
If the IPO recommends that your application should be inadmissible, it sends a report to the Minister for Justice. The Minister must inform you (and your legal representative) of the recommendation and give you a copy of the report that was prepared by the IPO. You can appeal this recommendation to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal within 10 working days.
If the appeal is not successful, or you do not appeal against the recommendation, your international protection application will be closed.
If your application is admissible, the IPO will continue to examine it and you will be sent a questionnaire to complete.
EU Dublin Regulation
Your application may be assessed under the EU Dublin Regulation if it appears that your international protection application should be dealt with by another Member State. This can happen at any stage of your application. The EU Dublin Regulation sets out the rules about which country is responsible for a person’s international protection application.
The IPO will tell you that it is examining your application under the EU Dublin Regulation and you can make written representations to the Chief International Protection Officer.
What the IPO looks at to make its recommendations
You must co-operate with the examining of your application. This means that you must submit all the information that is needed, and to comply with all the parts of the application process.
The IPO must examine your application individually. It must take into account:
- All relevant facts relating to your country of origin
- Relevant statements and documentation presented by you, including information as to whether you have been or may be subject to persecution or serious harm
- Your position and personal circumstances, including factors like your age and gender
- Whether you could get the protection of another country where you could claim citizenship
- Your general credibility
Evidence of persecution or serious harm
If you have already been subject to persecution or serious harm, you may not have documentary or other evidence to support this. In this situation, the international protection officer will not need confirmation of this if convinced that:
- You made a genuine effort to prove what you said in your application
- You provided all the evidence you had available and gave a reasonable explanation for not having other relevant evidence
- Your statements were coherent and plausible
- If you did not apply for international protection at the earliest possible time, you gave a reasonable explanation for not doing so
- Your general credibility has been established
The IPO can consider if another part of your country of origin can offer protection against persecution or serious harm, and if you could settle in that other part when all of your circumstances are considered.
International protection interview
The personal interview is your chance to tell the IPO about why you left your country, the things you have experienced or seen and why you are afraid to return. You should be interviewed in a language that you can understand.
The case worker will write down the information you give at this interview. Make sure they read it back to you so you can check that it is accurate. You can ask for the document to be corrected if you think you have been misunderstood, or you wish to give more details about something.
You might have to talk about things that have happened to you or your family that are upsetting for you to talk about. If you have a solicitor with you, they cannot answer questions on your behalf.
There may not be a personal interview if the international protection officer considers that:
- You should be declared a refugee without needing to be interviewed
- You are under 18 and not mature enough for an interview to help with the examination of your application
- You are unfit or unable to be interviewed due to enduring circumstances beyond your control
Recommendation of the international protection officer
Following the interview, the international protection officer prepares a written report with their recommendation. The 3 options for the recommendation are:
- That you should be declared a refugee
- That you should be declared a person with subsidiary protection
- That you should not be declared either a refugee or a person with subsidiary protection
The IPO sends its report to the Minister for Justice, who then sends you a written notification of the recommendation.
If the international protection officer recommends that you should be given a refugee declaration or subsidiary protection declaration, the Minister for Justice will follow this recommendation in most cases.
If the IPO recommends that you should not be given a refugee or subsidiary protection declaration, you can appeal to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal if you want to. If you do not appeal, or your appeal is not successful, the Minister will decide if you should be granted permission to remain in Ireland or not.