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Readmission agreements


To facilitate the readmission to their own country of persons residing without authorisation in a Member State.


Council Recommendation of 30 November 1994 concerning a specimen bilateral readmission agreement between a Member State and a third country.

Council Recommendation of 24 July 1995 on the guiding principles to be followed in drawing up protocols on the implementation of readmission agreements.


To facilitate the readmission of third-country nationals to their country of origin, the Member States decided in 1994 to use a common specimen agreement as a basis for negotiation when a Member State wished to establish this type of relation with a third country. Guiding principles for implementing readmission agreements were adopted in 1995.

Specimen bilateral readmission agreement

Agreements must comply with the 1951 Geneva Convention and the 1967 Protocol on the status of refugees, internal treaties concerning extradition, transit, readmission of foreign nationals and asylum (in particular the 1990 Dublin Convention) and the 1950 European Human Rights Convention.

A readmission agreement facilitates the expulsion of third-country nationals. Contracting parties will readmit to their territory without any formality persons with the nationality of that country who are residing without authorisation in the other country or who have crossed its frontier illegally.

Upon application, transit is possible through the territory of the two contracting parties without any special documents.

Time limits are fixed for submission of an application for readmission and a reply. The costs of readmission are borne by the requesting contracting party.

Rules are laid down for personal data protection.

A Committee of Experts is to be set up to monitor the application and interpretation of the agreement.

In its conclusions of 4 March 1995, the Council also envisages the inclusion, on a case-by-case basis, of a readmission clause in joint agreements concluded by the Community with third countries.

Guiding principles to be followed in implementing readmission agreements

Standard forms are to be provided for the return/readmission of persons residing without authorisation. Specimens are annexed to the Resolution.

An accelerated procedure is followed for persons arrested in a border area. Notification is given in any form (telephone, fax, telex, etc.) and is carried out by the local border authorities.

The normal procedure involves a written application and a written reply using the specimen documents annexed.

Readmission of applicants is subject to proof or presumption, depending on the available identity documents. A number of other documents may be used to establish a presumption of nationality (driving licence, extract from civil register, statements by witnesses, particulars supplied by the person concerned or information from the authorities).

Proof of entry may be established by various stamps, travel documents or fingerprints and on presumption established inter alia by means of statements by the person concerned or officials, travel documents, hotel bills, or any data showing that the individual has used the services of a facilitator or travel agency.

Provision is made for a special form for readmission/return or transit under escort. It is not required for transit via an airport of the other State, where prior information is all that is needed.

4) deadline for the implementation of the legislation in the member states

Not applicable.

5) date of entry into force (if different from the above)

1994 Recommendation: 1 January1995.

1995 Recommendation: 1 July 1995.

6) references

Official Journal C 274, 19.09.1996

7) follow-up work

On 15 December 1997, the Schengen Executive Committee adopted a decision on the guiding principles to be followed with regard to evidence to be provided under readmission agreements between Schengen States (not published in the Official Journal). A common list of the types of evidence making it possible to determine that a person in an illegal situation has spent time in or transited through a State has been drawn up, as well as a list of the kinds of evidence enabling it to be presumed that such events have taken place. These lists are to be taken into account when future readmission agreements are concluded.

On 2 December 1999, the Council adopted a decision relating to readmission clauses in Community agreements and in joint agreements (not published in the Official Journal).

After the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty, the readmission clauses set out in 1995 were updated. They will be incorporated in all Community agreements and in all agreements between the European Community, its Member States and non-member States.

On 7 December 1999, Finland presented a proposal for a Council regulation determining obligations as between the Member States for the readmission of third-country nationals [Official Journal C 353, 07.12.1999].

Consultation procedure

This regulation will lay down Community rules relating to the readmission of nationals of non-member states who have illegally entered or stayed for a period in the Community. The point is to determine, when there are several possibilities, which Member State is responsible for the repatriation of that person.

8) implementing measures