Photo: Bernd Konrad/Swiss Refugee Council

Dismissed Asylum Seekers

Dismissed asylum seekers are individuals who have received a removal order in an asylum procedure and must leave Switzerland.

Swiss law does not provide for an identification document for dismissed asylum seekers. Several cantons let the asylum seekers hold onto their N-Permit (for asylum seekers) or issue a provisional identification document.

Right to stay in Switzerland

A removal order obligates the dismissed asylum seeker to leave Switzerland. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) sets the departure deadline. After this deadline passes, it is illegal for the person to stay in Switzerland because his or her residence permit is no longer valid. If the person concerned does not leave Switzerland by the deadline, the canton orders deportation (Art. 69 FNA). To enforce return, various coercive measures can be ordered, several of them even before a removal decision takes legal effect (Art. 75-78 FNA).

Request for recognition as a hardship case

Dismissed asylum seekers who have resided in Switzerland for more than five years can file a request with the competent cantonal authorities to be recognised as a hardship case. His or her place of residence must always have been known to the authorities and he or she must never have gone into hiding. Further he or she must be especially well integrated in Switzerland. If a personal hardship case exists, the cantonal authorities can issue a residence permit with the consent of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) (Art. 14 AsylA; Art. 31 Ordinance on Admission, Stay and Gainful Employment (OASGE), in French).

Place of residence

Dismissed asylum seekers can file a request for emergency assistance with the canton responsible for the deportation (Art. 80 para. 1 AsylA). The cantonal authorities determine their place of residence and assign accommodations to them.

Gainful employment and education

After expiry of the departure date, dismissed asylum seekers are prohibited from engaging in gainful employment. This provision applies even if an extraordinary legal remedy has been applied for and the enforcement of removal has been suspended (Art. 43 para. 2 AsylA). 

Extension of the work permit

Under certain circumstances, the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) may allow the cantonal authorities to extend permits for certain categories of persons to pursue gainful employment beyond the expiry of the departure deadline (Art. 43 para. 3 AsylA).

Basic education

Children of dismissed asylum seekers have the right to adequate and free basic education (Art. 19 Federal Constitution (FC)). If certain requirements are met, dismissed asylum seekers may also be admitted to basic vocational education and training (Art. 30a OASGE).

Welfare and health insurance

Dismissed asylum seekers are excluded from social assistance (Art. 82 para. 1 AsylA). They are only entitled to emergency assistance as authorised by the Federal Constitution (Art. 12 FC) unless third parties are required to support them (Art. 81 AsylA). The persons concerned may apply to the competent canton for emergency assistance. As long as these persons are still in an asylum centre of the Confederation, the Confederation is responsible for providing social assistance (Art. 80 AsylA).


The person concerned must cooperate in the enforcement of the removal order and in assessment of his or her own emergency situation (Art. 83a AsylA). In actual practice, one cannot deny emergency assistance to a person even if he or she is engaging in illegal conduct because the right to emergency assistance is directly linked to human dignity (Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland 131 I 166).

Dismissed asylum seekers must be insured against illness (Art. 3 Health Insurance Act (HIA), in French).

Family reunification

Dismissed asylum seekers and their families have no right to family reunification during the asylum procedure.

Integration measures

Dismissed asylum seekers and their families have no right to benefit from the integration measures subsidised by the Confederation (Art. 18 Ordinance on the Integration of Foreign Nationals (OIFN) (in French); Art. 55 para. 2 FNA).