Who decides on my case?

Examination of asylum applications

The IPA will examine your application and make a decision in accordance with European and Maltese legislation and the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees.

The IPA will schedule an interview with you through the contact details that you have provided. The purpose of the personal interview is to ask you questions about your reasons for fleeing your country and assess your claim.  

Your interview is an important step in the asylum procedure. It is essential that you present as much evidence and information as you can. It is preferable to request the assistance of interpreters in case your mother tongue is not English (the language in which the interview is conducted). If you face difficulties communicating with the interpreter assigned to you during the interview, you have the right to inform the caseworker and request the services of another interpreter. Don’t worry if you are nervous; you can ask for breaks and clarifications when you need them.

If, for any reason, you cannot attend your interview, you must inform the IPA as soon as possible. If you could not attend the interview for health reasons, you must produce a medical certificate from a doctor to prove this. Otherwise, you risk your application being treated as withdrawn.

Based on the interview and assessment of your claim, the IPA can reach one of the following decisions:

  • grant refugee status
  • grant subsidiary protection status
  • grant temporary humanitarian protection,
  • reject your application.

The IPA will communicate the decision on your application to you in writing.

It is important you always provide IPA with your updated contact details as they will notify you by phone that your decision is ready, and you must attend a decision notification appointment at their premises. It is also possible that the notification is done via email or mail. You will receive a copy of your decision letter, interview transcript, and evaluation report.

⬇️ Select below to find out more about this process ⬇️

What happens if I am granted refugee status? ⬇️

The decision letter will provide you with information on the type of protection status you are granted (refugee, subsidiary protection, or temporary humanitarian protection) and your rights, entitlements and obligations.

You are also now known as a beneficiary of international protection (if you have been granted either refugee status or subsidiary protection) or beneficiary of national protection (if you have been granted temporary humanitarian protection).

What can I do if I am granted subsidiary protection, but I think I should have been granted refugee status? ⬇️

In this case, you have a right to appeal your grant of subsidiary protection to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) within 15 days, starting from the day you received the decision.

The procedure is set out in the question below (Rejected application) and is the same even though you have been granted a status.

Please see our section on “Rights and Obligations” for beneficiaries of international protection.

What can I do if my asylum application is rejected? ⬇️

If you have received a negative decision, you have the right to appeal this decision before the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT) within 15 days, starting from the date you received the decision. However, please note that if your application has been rejected as manifestly unfounded or deemed inadmissible, the decision is automatically reviewed by the IPAT.

You have a right to free legal representation during the appeals procedures. Visit our Legal aid section to find a complete list of the available actors/organisations that can support you during the appeal procedure.

Steps of the appeals procedure:

  • Step 1: Within 15 days of receiving your IPA decision, you must find a legal representative who will meet with you, write submissions and send them to the IPAT on your behalf.
  • Step 2: You may be given a hearing date by the IPAT for you to attend with your legal representative so that members of the IPAT can ask questions about your appeal to you and/or your legal representative.
  • Step 3: The IPAT will issue a decision on your case and send it to you in writing.

 Having considered your appeal, the IPAT may decide to:

  • confirm the original decision of the IPA (to reject your application, if it has been rejected by IPA; or to grant you subsidiary protection in case you appealed against being granted subsidiary and not refugee status)
  • overturn the original decision and return the case to the IPA for re-examination
  • overturn the original decision and grant international protection (refugee status or subsidiary protection) if you received a negative decision by IPA, or grant you refugee status if you were granted subsidiary protection by IPA.

If you come from a safe country of origin and your asylum application gets rejected, IPAT will automatically review the first instance decision within 3 days.

Can my application for asylum be examined in another European country? ⬇️

The Dublin III Regulation contains a set of rules that determine which EU Member State is responsible for examining each asylum application.

The States which are a party to the Dublin III Regulation are also known as Dublin Member States:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.


➡️ Should you require the assistance of a lawyer, you can approach JRS, aditus foundation and Legal Aid Malta.

The examples of the rules below are not exhaustive but only indicative.

What are the General conditions of the Dublin procedure? ⬇️

If you are below the age of 18 and a member of your family (parent, sibling, grandparent, uncle/aunt) remains regularly in a Dublin Member State, this country is responsible for the examination of your application. If you are below the age of 18 and no members of your family remain legally in any of the Dublin States, your application will be examined by Malta.

If you are an adult and your spouse or minor child(ren) reside in one of the Dublin States as beneficiaries of international protection or as asylum seekers, if you so wish, the State where they reside will undertake responsibility for examining your asylum application.

If, before entering Malta, you entered another Dublin State, whether regularly or not, this State is responsible for examining your application. If you have entered irregularly, this responsibility expires after 12 months.

If another Dublin State is responsible for the examination of your application and accepts to examine it, then you will be transferred to the other Dublin State, at the latest within six months from the date this State accepted to examine your application.

Please visit the EU official website for more information on the Dublin III Regulation.

What if I am a Vulnerable asylum seeker? ⬇️

After lodging your application for international protection and, depending on the authorities’ capacity, you may be requested to undergo a procedure called a Vulnerability Assessment. The scope of this assessment is for the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS) to identify whether you fall under any of the following vulnerability categories:

  • Minor (including unaccompanied and separated child)
  • Pregnant
  • Single parent with minor child(ren)
  • Person with one or more disabilities
  • Elderly person
  • Person with serious illness(es)
  • Person with mental health disorder(s)
  • Person who has been subjected to torture, rape or other serious forms or psychological, physical or sexual violence, such as female genital mutilation.

Attention! Please note that the list is not exhaustive

In case you are found to fall under one (or more) of the above categories, your specific needs should be taken into consideration by the Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS).

Specialized care (including mental health and psychosocial support) according to your needs should be provided to you with your informed consent.

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