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Summaries of EU Legislation

Expulsion decisions — mutual recognition by EU countries

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Expulsion decisions — mutual recognition by EU countries



Directive 2001/40/EC on the mutual recognition of decisions on the expulsion of non-EU nationals


It aims to ensure that a decision by a European Union (EU) country to expel a non-EU national present in another EU country is respected and complied with.


  • The expulsion orders apply to non-EU citizens who:
    • constitute a serious and present threat to public order or to national security and safety;
    • have been convicted of an offence that carries a minimum one-year prison sentence;
    • are believed, on the basis of serious grounds or solid evidence, to have committed, or intend to commit, such offences;
    • fail to comply with national entry or residence rules.
  • If the individual concerned has a valid residence permit, the country imposing the expulsion must consult the country which issued the permit.
  • EU countries applying the legislation must:
    • respect human rights and fundamental freedoms;
    • ensure the individual concerned can appeal against the expulsion order;
    • protect personal data and data security;
    • use all appropriate forms of cooperation and information exchange to implement the legislation;
    • compensate each other for financial costs involved. The arrangements are set out in Council Decision 2004/191/EC
  • The country issuing the expulsion order must provide the country enforcing it with all the necessary documents as quickly as possible.
  • The country enforcing the decision must ensure this does not violate the relevant international or national rules.
  • The legislation does not apply to family members of EU citizens.
  • Council Directive 2003/110/EC sets out the transit arrangements for illegal non-EU residents removed by air via another EU country.
  • Directive 2008/115/EC sets common standards and procedures for returning non-EU nationals that stay illegally.
  • Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 (Dublin III Regulation) lays down the criteria and procedures to determine which EU country is responsible for examining an asylum application.
  • In September 2005, the Council of Europe issued 20 guidelines on forced returns.


It has applied since 2 June 2001. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 2 December 2002.


UK and Ireland, although not in the Schengen passport-free area, apply the legislation and participate in its arrangements, as do Iceland and Norway, while Denmark does not.


Council Directive 2001/40/EC of 28 May 2001 on the mutual recognition of decisions on the expulsion of third country nationals (OJ L 149, 2.6.2001, pp. 34–36)


Council Directive 2003/110/EC of 25 November 2003 on assistance in cases of transit for the purposes of removal by air (OJ L 321, 6.12.2003, pp. 26–31)

Council Decision 2004/191/EC of 23 February 2004 setting out the criteria and practical arrangements for the compensation of the financial imbalances resulting from the application of Directive 2001/40/EC on the mutual recognition of decisions on the expulsion of third-country nationals (OJ L 60, 27.2.2004, pp. 55–57)

Directive 2008/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (OJ L 348, 24.12.2008, pp. 98–107)

Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (OJ L 180, 29.6.2013, pp. 31–59)

last update 09.01.2017