The Dublin test
I have received a green card - what does that mean?
A green card means that you are currently undergoing approval proceedings. The approval proceedings are the first part of your asylum proceedings. You must have the card with you at all times: The card entitles you to stay temporarily and receive board in the initial reception centre or distributor accommodation. The card documents all procedural steps and you can prove your identity to police with it. The green card often entails territorial restrictions. This means that you may only spend time in a certain territory. This territory is indicated on the card. When you leave the boundaries of the territory, you may have to pay a high fine or you can be taken into pre-expulsion detention.
What happens in the approval proceedings?
In the approval proceedings, the Austrian Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum (BFA) checks whether Austria is responsible for the content-related processing of your application for asylum. It is checked whether you have demonstrably spent time in another country of the European Union or filed an application for asylum there. It is also checked whether you have a visa issued by another European country. According to the "Dublin Regulation", in all cases, only one country is responsible for checking an application for asylum. In the approval proceedings, you are entitled to legal advice. You can also take a person of trust with you to accompany you to your hearing. You will be asked about your trip to Austria, your personal circumstances and your reasons for fleeing your home country. An interpreter translates during this interview. At the end, a transcript of the hearing is issued that is back-translated into your language. Please check the transcript for errors. With your signature, you confirm that the transcript is correct. Have a copy of the transcript handed to you. After some time has passed, you will be informed whether Austria is responsible for checking your application. If Austria is not responsible for checking your application, your application will usually be rejected straight away in the approval proceedings.
What happens if Austria is not responsible for my asylum application?
If the Austrian Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum (BFA) decides that another country according to the "Dublin Regulation" is responsible for your asylum proceedings, you will then receive a corresponding written notification to this effect. You will usually be sent back to the EU country in which you first filed an application for asylum or in which you have demonstrably spent time. If your closest family members are already in a country of the EU, you are entitled to have your asylum proceedings handled in this country. Unaccompanied refugees who are still minors can at any rate stay in Austria, irrespective of whether they have already filed an application for asylum in another country.
You can lodge an appeal against the notification with the support of a legal counsel. Please note that you only have two weeks for the appeal against a negative decision.
What are the next steps if Austria is responsible for my asylum proceedings?
If Austria is responsible for your asylum proceedings, you will receive the so-called white card. The actual "content-related proceedings" thus commence. The white card is also called "residence permit card". You are given a new place to live, possibly in another part of Austria, and are assigned to a support facility in the federal provinces ("provincial accommodation"). Sometimes it takes time until a place becomes free. In Vienna, it is also possible for you to live in private accommodation. If you require assistance and protection, you will be given basic social benefits. This means that in addition to a place to live, you will also be given money for your livelihood or will be given board and you will have health insurance.