Photo: Bernd Konrad/Swiss Refugee Council

Appeal Procedure

Appeals against decisions of the State Secretariat of Migration (SEM) to reject or dismiss asylum applications can be filed with the Federal Administrative Court (FAC).

If the FAC grants the appeal, it has the option of nullifying the decision and remitting the case to the State Secretariat of Migration (SEM) to be ruled on again or of issuing its own decision to accept the application (“modification decision”). The FAC denies any appeal that it feels is unfounded.

Anyone can file an appeal against a SEM decision regardless of his or her knowledge of the law. The same applies to asylum seekers. However, asylum seekers can also turn to a legal aid office or an attorney and have them prepare and file the appeal.

Free legal aid

The independent legal aid offices at cantonal level help to write the appeal. They provide free legal assistance in cases with prospects of success. After receiving an adverse decision, asylum seekers are advised to contact the cantonal legal aid office assigned to them as quickly as possible.

If they prepare an appeal, it is vital that they comply with the appeal deadline and observe the language requirements and formal criteria. The reason for pursuing the appeal should be clearly evident.

Appeal deadlines

These appeal deadlines apply to all asylum applications submitted before 28.02.2019. In the accelerated procedure, which came into force on 01.03.2019, other deadlines apply to the filing of an appeal.

The decision on the asylum application mandates the appeal deadlines by which a person can file appeals with the Federal Administrative Court. This time limit varies with the type of decision and asylum procedure (Art. 108 AsylA). It is:

30 days

  • in the event of an adverse asylum decision (where asylum is not granted); or

5 working days

The clock on the departure period stops ticking down as soon as the appeal against the SEM decision is filed. The appellee can generally await the outcome of the appeal proceedings in Switzerland.


The removal order is not stopped in connection with certain decisions to dismiss (above all, in the Dublin procedure) and certain decisions involving immediate enforcement.

Clear-cut applications

The objective of an appeal must be clearly stated in the appeal: asylum or temporary admission. The person must explain why he or she does not agree with the SEM decision and must submit evidence if possible.

Language and formal criteria

The appeal must be rendered in writing and be written in one of the official languages of Switzerland (i.e., German, French or Italian). The appeal must be signed and filed in duplicate. The available items of evidence and a copy of the decision must also be submitted.