On the 12th of January 2023, the CJEU gave a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of the transfer period in the context of take back requests as defined in the Dublin Regulation III (CJEU Staatssecretaris van Justitie en Veiligheid v B, F and K, C‑323/21, C‑324/21 et C‑325/21).  The Court examined two questions regarding Articles 23 and 29 of this Regulation providing that a transfer of a third-country national (TCN) from a Member State (MS) to the responsible MS should be within six months (with some exceptions prolonging the time limit). If this limit is exceeded, the requesting MS becomes responsible to process the application for international protection.

The first question examined the situation where a take back request of MS is accepted by the initial MS, but the TCN requested international protection in a third MS. The question then arose what the impact is of this new request on the take back request of the second MS. The Court stated that the second MS is responsible to process the request when it exceeded the time limit, irrespective of whether the first MS accepted a potential take back request of the third MS. Furthermore, the Court declared that the time limit should not be suspended or prolonged for reasons that the second MS cannot transfer the TCN because the national absconded or resided in the third MS. The CJEU stated that the third MS may only transfer the TCN to the second MS. However, when the third MS exceeds their time limit, this third MS becomes responsible to process the request of the TCN.

The second question discussed whether TCN, which had submitted a request of international protection in three different MS, should have remedies against the take back request of third MS to the first MS in order to be transferred to the second MS. The Court stated that the TCN should have effective and immediate remedies enabling them to challenge the take back request in the third MS.