Information regarding the situation in Afghanistan
After the Taliban movement took control of the country this past summer, the security situation in Afghanistan changed drastically. The Swedish Migration Agency has now produced new legal guidance on Afghanistan that is used when the authority investigates a person’s need for protection. If you are from Afghanistan, this page provides information that may be relevant to your case and situation.
The situation in Afghanistan has changed drastically as a result of the Taliban’s takeover. The changes have taken place quickly and it is difficult to know how the Taliban will act and how the security situation will develop in the country. It is therefore the assessment of the Swedish Migration Agency that:
- the country now has more risk groups that include more people, compared to before the Taliban took power. The groups that may be in need of protection include people who have held key positions in, e.g., the military or the police, LGBTQI people, people who work for foreign governments or are perceived to support them, religious leaders or converts, journalists, human rights defenders, women and girls
- there is no effective protection to be obtained from the country’s authorities and internal displacement is only an option in exceptional cases
- due to the new situation in the country, people who have already received a deportation decision will be able to have their grounds for asylum re-examined.
The Swedish Migration Agency continues to closely monitor developments in Afghanistan and will, if necessary, update the legal guidance, which serves, among other things, as the basis for our decisions.
When the Swedish Migration Agency assesses that an asylum seeker is in need of subsidiary protection or protection as a refugee, the next step is to assess whether the person can be protected in another part of the country of which he or she is a citizen, i.e., become a refugee in her/his own country. This is called internal displacement. Only after it has been established that there is no protection to be had in the person’s own country can the possibility of protection in Sweden be considered. According to the Swedish Migration Agency’s latest assessment, the security situation in Afghanistan is too bad for internal displacement to be possible, except in clearly exceptional cases. The Swedish Migration Agency will decide what constitutes a “clearly exceptional case” when we start making decisions in these cases. In general, however, it is required that a person should be able to live a relatively normal life, have access to food and shelter, be able to support her/himself, and have access to healthcare and education for her/his children.
The decision and enforcement halt is removed
In response to the rapid deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan this past summer, as well as a major lack of information about the situation in the country, the Swedish Migration Agency introduced a so-called enforcement halt and decision halt for Afghanistan. This meant that the agency temporarily halted all deportations to Afghanistan and that we did not issue any rejection decisions in Afghan asylum cases.
In connection with the Swedish Migration Agency’s decision to now adopt a new judicial position on Afghanistan, the enforcement halt and the decision halt have been removed. This means that the Swedish Migration Agency will continue to work as usual to process asylum cases for Afghan citizens, and that there will be no difference in how cases from Afghanistan are assessed compared with other countries.
In cases where, despite everything, the possibility of issuing a deportation or refusal of entry decision is considered, the next question will be whether it is possible to fly to Afghanistan. As there is still a great deal of uncertainty about this issue, the Swedish Migration Agency does not know exactly what practical conditions exist for people to be able to travel back to the country.
Apply to have your protection reasons re-examined
If you have received a valid refusal of entry or deportation decision and there are new reasons why you cannot return to Afghanistan and you want these reasons to be examined, you have the opportunity to apply for a re-examination of your protection reasons.
The examination takes place in two steps. The Swedish Migration Agency will first review whether you can be granted a re-examination of your right to protection in Sweden. The agency then investigates your right to protection. This may mean that you might need to undergo a new oral investigation. Only after your case has been investigated can you receive a decision granting you a residence permit.
The right to have your grounds for asylum re-examined applies to people who have received a deportation decision and who are currently in Sweden.
If you have or have had a residence permit under the Upper Secondary School Act
If you are an Afghan citizen and have had a residence permit under the Upper Secondary School Act and still have a copy of your deportation decision, you can apply for a re-examination of your grounds for asylum.
It is perfectly understandable that persons who have family members and close relatives in Afghanistan are worried about recent developments.
In certain cases, your family member can be granted a residence permit to move to Sweden and join you here. Your family member must fulfil the same requirements as everyone who applies for a residence permit due to family ties. The Swedish Migration Agency cannot make exceptions or prioritize applications from Afghanistan. The application process is the same for everyone. When applying for a residence permit due to family ties your family member will also have to visit a Swedish embassy in New Delhi, Teheran or Islamabad.
It is primarily your nuclear family that can be granted a residence permit to move to you in Sweden. Nuclear family means spouse, registered partner or cohabitant, and children under 18 years of age. Only in exceptional cases can other family members be granted a residence permit to move to you in Sweden.
In order for your family member to be granted a residence permit so that they can come join you here, one of the main requirements is that you must be a Swedish citizen, have a permanent residence permit, or have a temporary residence permit with status as a refugee or person in need of alternative subsidiary protection.
If you have been granted a residence permit due to special or exceptionally distressing circumstances or impediments to enforcement, you will also have the opportunity for family reunification even though you do not have a permanent residence permit. The precondition is that you have a well-founded prospect of being granted a residence permit for an extended period of time.
If relatives outside the nuclear family want to move to Sweden
In order for your relatives, other than your nuclear family, to be granted a residence permit you must be able to prove that you and your relatives have lived together immediately before you moved to Sweden. You must also show that it is difficult for you to live apart because you are socially and emotionally dependent on each other, and that you were so already when you lived in your home country.
In these cases, the application must be submitted as soon as possible after you moved to Sweden. The general rule is that it is not possible to get a residence permit if the application is made after a long period of time has passed or if dependency between you has arisen after you moved to Sweden.
If you have come to Sweden as an unaccompanied child
If you came to Sweden as an unaccompanied child the requirements for your parents to be granted a residence permit to join you is usually that you have been given a residence permit in Sweden on the of grounds for asylum, and that you are still under the age of 18 at the time of the application.
The Swedish Migration Agency determines that Afghan passports fulfil the Swedish requirements on passports.
At present, if you, as an Afghan citizen, do not have a passport you do not need to obtain a new passport when applying for an extended residence permit on the grounds of impediments to enforcement, or studies at the upper secondary level, or to look for work after studies at the upper secondary level. It may be required in the future that you obtain a new passport when this is possible.
Family members who wish to move to Sweden
Anyone applying for a residence permit to move to Sweden to join a family member who is already here must have a valid passport. Ideally, it should be a national passport. However, in some cases persons who are unable to obtain a national passport can obtain an alien’s passport instead. If your family member (spouse, cohabiting partner, child under the age of 18 or parent of a child under the age of 18) who wishes to apply for a residence permit to move to Sweden does not have a passport, nor can get one, they can apply for an alien’s passport at a Swedish embassy or consulate when they apply for the residence permit.