Asylum application for unaccompanied minors

Each year, hundreds of minors separated from their parents submit an application for asylum in Switzerland. Specific provisions in international and national law apply to the situation of young migrants in Switzerland named Unaccompanied minor asylum seekers (RMNA).

Protection and assistance

Article 22 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) provides protection and assistance to specific child asylum-seekers and refugees:

"Members States shall take appropriate measures for a child who is seeking refugee status or who is considered a refugee (...), whether unaccompanied or accompanied by his parents or any other person, enjoy the protection and appropriate humanitarian assistance in the enjoyment of applicable rights set forth in this Convention and other international instruments on human rights (...).

Where neither the father nor the mother, nor any other member of the family can not be found, the child shall be granted, according to the principles of this Convention, the same protection as any other child permanently or temporarily deprived of his family environment for any reason whatsoever."

Trusted person

Section 17 para. 3 of the Asylum Act Law (LAsi) provides that the competent cantonal authorities shall immediately appoint a trusted person responsible for representing the interests of unaccompanied minors during:

  • The procedure at an airport and stay in a registration center if determining factors for the asylum decision are accomplished
  • The procedure following the attribution of a canton to the minor

Guardianship and trusteeship

Art. 307 al. 1 CCS related art. 327a CCS on guardianship and art. 306 al. 2 CC on curatorship provides guardianship or trusteeship measures for minors who can not receive the protection required by their parents. For more information, see "Legal Representation".

Age determination

Is considered "minor" anyone who has not yet reached the age of 18 years, in accordance with Article 14 CCS. In the case where the minority of an asylum applicant is in doubt during the establishment of facts, the authorities may use an expert assessment to determine his age as defined in Article 7 para. 1 of the Ordinance 1 on asylum relative to the procedure (OA1). As long as the age has not been established and that a doubt exists, the person should be treated as a minor.


According to Article 7 para. 5 OA1, those conducting the hearing of a minor asylum applicant must "take into account the particular aspects of minority." An important judgment the Federal Administrative Court (TAF) emphasizes the need for a hearing "appropriate to the age and reactions of the applicant" (Reference: E-1928/2014).

Priority treatment

According to Article 17 para. 2a Asylum Act came into force in 2014, asylum applications of unaccompanied minors must be "given priority".

Right of appeal

The minor asylum seeker has the right to appeal against a negative decision. Article 53a OA1 provides that if the minor has neither a guardian or a curator, "the first instance decision must be notified to the person concerned and the trusted person."

Legal representation

Any minor whose parents can not ensure protection have the right to a legal representative who assists him, follows him and safeguards his personal and material interests.