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Who qualifies for international protection

Before a person can receive asylum, he/she must be recognised as a refugee or as a beneficiary of subsidiary protection.

What is the Qualification Directive?

The Qualification Directive establishes common grounds to grant international protection.

Its provisions also foresee a series of rights on protection from refoulement, residence permits, travel documents, access to employment, access to education, social welfare, healthcare, access to accommodation, access to integration facilities, as well as specific provisions for children and vulnerable persons.

The minimum standards in the previous Directive were to a certain extent vague, which maintained divergences in national asylum legislation and practices. The chances of a person to be granted international protection could vary tremendously depending on the Member State processing the asylum application.

Key achievements

The new Qualification Directive will contribute to improve the quality of the decision-making and ensure that people fleeing persecution, wars and torture are treated fairly, in a uniform manner.

  • It clarifies the grounds for granting international protection and leads to more robust determinations, thus improving the efficiency of the asylum process and prevention of fraud, and ensures coherence with the European court’s judgments.
  • It approximates to a large extent the rights granted to all beneficiaries of international protection (recognised refugees and recipients of so-called “subsidiary protection”) on access to employment and health care. It also extends the duration of validity of residence permits for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.
  • It ensures a better taking into account of the best interests of the child and of gender-related aspects in the assessment of asylum applications, as well as in the implementation of the rules on the content of international protection.
  • It improves the access of beneficiaries of international protection to rights and integration measures. It better takes into account the specific practical difficulties faced by beneficiaries of international protection.

Additional tools

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Related legislation
and documents


Subsidiary protection status

The recognition by an EU State of a non-EU national or a stateless person as a person eligible for subsidiary protection.


Subsidiary protection

The protection given to a non-EU national or a stateless person who does not qualify as a refugee, but in respect ...


Stateless person

Person who is not considered as national by any State under the operation of its law.


Refugee status

The recognition by an EU State of a non-EU national or stateless person as a refugee.



A person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political ...



The return by a State, in any manner whatsoever, of an individual to the territory of another State in which he or ...



A concept that encompasses all activities aimed at obtaining full respect for the rights of the individual in ...


Principle of non-refoulement

As a core principle of international refugee law, it provides that no one shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee ...



Human rights abuses or other serious harm, often, but not always, with a systematic or repetitive element.


Non-EU national

Any person not having the nationality of an EU State.



The legal bond between a person and a State that does not indicate the person's ethnic origin.


International protection

The actions by the international community on the basis of international law, aimed at protecting the fundamental ...


Country of origin

The country that is a source of migratory flows (regular or irregular).


Common European Asylum System (CEAS)

The establishment of a common asylum procedure and a uniform status for those who are granted asylum or ...


Asylum application

An application made by a non-EU national or a stateless person that can be understood as a request for international protection from an EU State, under the Geneva Convention. Any application for international protection is presumed to be an application for asylum unless a non-EU national or a stateless person explicitly requests another kind of protection that can be applied for separately.


Asylum applicant

A non-EU national or a stateless person who has made an application for asylum in respect of which a final decision has not yet been taken.



A form of protection given by a State, on its territory, based on the principle of non-refoulement and internationally ...