Photo: Bernd Konrad/Swiss Refugee Council

DAWES - Dismiss an Application Without Entering into the Substance of the Case

A decision to dismiss an asylum application means the authorities will not examine it in depth.

In this case, the State Secretariat for Migration does not conduct an ordinary asylum procedure and does not determine whether the person is to be granted asylum in Switzerland.

Reasons for DAWES

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) dismisses an application if the asylum seeker:

  • can travel to a third country that is responsible under an international agreement for conducting the asylum and removal procedure (Dublin III Regulation);
  • can return to a safe third country (Safe Countries List issued by the Federal Council)  in which he or she was previously a resident;
  • was previously staying in a third country that had effective protection against refoulement to a country that threatened him or her with persecution or other serious abuses of human rights;
  • is not seeking protection in Switzerland but entered the country for other reasons (e.g., due to medical or economic problems); or
  • can continue to a third country for which he or she holds a visa and in which he or she can seek protection or in which persons with whom he or she has a close relationship live or in which dependants live.

In actual practice, the first reason occurs most frequently. If the SEM decides to dismiss the application, it also examines whether the removal is permitted, reasonable, and possible. If it is not, the SEM issues a decision to dismiss the application and temporarily admit the person.

Short appeal period

If the SEM decides to dismiss the application, an appeal must be filed with the Federal Administrative Court within five business days. Asylum seekers are allowed to remain in Switzerland until the court rules on the appeal.

Exception: Dublin procedure

If a country belonging to the European Union (as well as Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein) is responsible for processing the asylum application, the asylum seeker must wait outside Switzerland for the ruling on the appeal. In such cases, the person may apply for the suspensive effect of the appeal and await the final decision in Switzerland. In actual practice, the Federal Administrative Court is quick in issuing rulings in such cases.


If the SEM decides to dismiss an application shortly after entry when asylum seekers are still in the reception and processing centre, in a federal centre or in a special centre, they can be put in detention immediately.

Emergency Assistance

Asylum seekers given a legally valid dismissal decision must leave Switzerland by a departure deadline set for the short term. It is illegal for them to stay beyond that deadline.  They have no right to social assistance even if they are unable to depart immediately. They only receive emergency aid (accommodation, food, clothing and medical assistance) from social services or the pertinent cantonal migration office. The latter authority is also responsible for their deportation.