Unaccompanied minors who are nationals of third countries

Table of Contents:

Unaccompanied minors who are nationals of third countries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Unaccompanied minors who are nationals of third countries


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.


Unaccompanied minors who are nationals of third countries

1) Objective

To establish guidelines for the treatment of unaccompanied minors, with regard to matters such as the conditions for their reception, stay and return and, in the case of asylum seekers, the handling of applicable procedures.

2) Community Measure

Council Resolution 97/C 221/03 of 26 June 1997 on unaccompanied minors who are nationals of third countries.

3) Content

1. This Resolution concerns third-country nationals below the age of eighteen, who arrive on the territory of the Member States unaccompanied by an adult responsible for them whether by law or custom, and for as long as they are not effectively in the care of such a person.

2. This Resolution does not apply to third-country nationals who are members of the family of nationals of a Member State of the European Union, nor to nationals of a Member State of the European Free Trade Association party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area and the members of their family, whatever the latter’s nationality may be, where, pursuant to the Treaty establishing the European Community or the Agreement on the European Economic Area respectively, rights to freedom of movement are being exercised.

3. Member States may, in accordance with their national legislation and practice, refuse admission at the frontier to unaccompanied minors in particular if they are without the required documentation and authorizations. However, in the case of unaccompanied minors who apply for asylum, the Resolution on Minimum Guarantees for Asylum Procedures is applicable, in particular the principles set out in paragraphs 23 to 25 thereof.

4. In this connection, Member States should take appropriate measures, in accordance with their national legislation, to prevent the unauthorized entry of unaccompanied minors and should cooperate to prevent illegal entry and illegal residence of unaccompanied minors on their territory.

5. Unaccompanied minors who, pursuant to national provisions, must remain at the border until a decision has been taken on their admission to the territory or on their return, should receive all necessary material support and care to satisfy their basic needs, such as food, accommodation suitable for their age, sanitary facilities and medical care.

6. Member States should endeavour to establish a minor’s identity as soon as possible after arrival, and also the fact that he or she is unaccompanied. Information on the minor’s identity and situation can be obtained by various means, in particular by means of an appropriate interview, which should be conducted as soon as possible and in a manner in keeping with his age.

7. Every unaccompanied minor should have the right to apply for asylum. However, Member States may reserve the right to require that a minor under a certain age, to be determined by the Member State concerned, cannot apply for asylum until he has the assistance of a legal guardian, a specifically appointed adult representative or institution.

8. Where a minor is not allowed to prolong his stay in a Member State, the Member State concerned may only return the minor to his country of origin or a third country prepared to accept him, if on arrival therein – depending on his needs in the light of age and degree of independence – adequate reception and care are available. This can be provided by parents or other adults who take care of the child, or by governmental or non-governmental bodies.

9. Member States should take account of these guidelines in the case of all proposals for changes to their national legislations. In addition, Member States should strive to bring their national legislations into line with these guidelines before 1 January 1999.

4) Deadline For The Implementation Of The Legislation In The Member States

5) Date Of Entry Into Force

6) References

Official Journal C 221 of 19.7.1997

7) Follow-Up Work

8) Commission Implementing Measures

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