General remarks on identification

Timely identification

Applicants for international protection in general are in a vulnerable situation, given the uncertainly of their status in a foreign country. Some applicants, however, would require further special support to enable them to participate on equal footing in the asylum procedure. A girl who has experienced sexual violence would hardly speak openly in front of a uniformed male border guard; a person who has been subjected to torture may not be able to provide details of his/her experience due to the effects of trauma on his/her memory; an applicant with a hearing disability may be unable to hear the case officer and the interpreter. Consequently, those applicants may need time, support, services and assistance in order to effectively present their cases.

The responsible officers at the first stages of contact with applicants for international protection and everyone involved throughout the process should be aware of potential special needs. Indicators and special needs should be recorded as soon as possible when they are detected and this information should be communicated to the relevant organisations/officials in order to provide the necessary guarantees and support.

The issue of detention

Another general point which should be made is that within the context of the recast Reception Conditions Directive, detention should only be used as a last resort for those seeking international protection: only when it proves necessary on the basis of an individual assessment of each case and if other less coercive alternative measures cannot be applied effectively. In the case of persons with special needs, detention should furthermore take into account that their special needs have to be met and that their health, including mental health, shall be of primary concern to national authorities (Article 11 RCD recast).

Without prejudice to the above, the tool looks into the specific guarantees which need to be in place in case an applicant with special needs is detained.


Throughout the tool the importance of recording and communicating information relevant to the identification of persons with special needs is underlined. It must also be noted that the information collected during this process might have a private and/or confidential character. 

Privacy refers to freedom from intrusion into one's personal matters and personal information (e.g. personal data protection laws).

Confidentiality refers to the treatment of information. When information is held in confidence, and is therefore confidential, it can only be shared if allowed for in national law and to authorised organisations. The shared information is limited in scope only to the information necessary for these parties in order to carry out their functions.  If not allowed for in law, the holder of the information will need to be given consent by the individual to share the information with another organisation (e.g. personal information shared for example with an attorney, a physician, a psychologist generally cannot be divulged to third parties without the express consent of the client/patient). 

Privacy and confidentiality safeguards must be put in place and applied regarding information handling, according to national practice.

After retrieving the results you can print or save a report in a pdf file. Before printing/saving, you can make notes directly in the report, including a reference to the case and notes on identification and/or on support measures. The notes you enter are not processed or saved in the online tool and are protected from interference. They will be printed with the report or saved in the pdf version once you export the file.