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Bilateral agreements

Document-ID : 2015-06-01
Entry info force : 01.06.2015
Documentdate : 03.12.2014

Agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Norway and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation

THE HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES,

THE GOVERNMENTS OF

THE KINGDOM OF NORWAY, hereinafter referred to as “Norway”

and

THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN, hereinafter referred to as “Azerbaijan”,

DETERMINED to strengthen their co-operation in order to combat illegal immigration more effectively,

DESIRING to establish, by means of this Agreement and on the basis of reciprocity, rapid and effective procedures for the identification and safe and orderly return of persons who do not, or no longer, fulfil the conditions for entry to, presence in, or residence on the territory of Azerbaijan or Norway, and to facilitate the transit of such persons in a spirit of co-operation,

EMPHASISING that this Agreement shall be without prejudice to the rights, obligations and responsibilities of Norway and Azerbaijan arising from International Law and, in particular, from the Convention of 28 July 1951 on the Status of Refugees and its Protocol of 31 January 1967,

HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:

Article 1

Definitions

For the purpose of this Agreement:

(a) ‘Readmission’ shall mean the transfer by the Requesting State and admission by the Requested State of persons (own nationals of the Requested State, third-country nationals or stateless persons) who have been found illegally entering to, present in or residing in the Requesting State, in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement;

(b) 'Contracting Parties' shall mean Azerbaijan and Norway;

(c) 'National of Azerbaijan' shall mean any person who holds the citizenship of Azerbaijan in accordance with its legislation;

(d) 'National of Norway' shall mean any person who holds the nationality of Norway in accordance with its legislation;

(e) 'Third-country national' shall mean any person who holds a nationality other than that of Azerbaijan or Norway;

(f) 'Stateless person' shall mean any person who does not hold a nationality of any State;

(g) 'Residence permit' shall mean a permit of any type issued by Azerbaijan or Norway entitling a person to reside on its territory. This shall not include temporary permissions to remain on its territory in connection with the processing of an asylum application or an application for a residence permit;

(h) 'Visa' shall mean an authorisation issued or a decision taken by Azerbaijan or Norway which is required with a view to entry in, stay in or transit through, its territory. This shall not include airport transit visa;

(i) 'Requesting State' shall mean the State (Azerbaijan or Norway) submitting a readmission application pursuant to Article 6 or a transit application pursuant to Article 13 of this Agreement;

(j) 'Requested State' shall mean the State (Azerbaijan or Norway) to which a readmission application pursuant to Article 6 or a transit application pursuant to Article 13 of this Agreement is addressed;

(k) 'Competent Authority' shall mean any national authority of Azerbaijan or Norway entrusted with the implementation of this Agreement in accordance with Article 18 (1) thereof;

(l) 'Transit' shall mean the passage of a third-country national or a stateless person through the territory of the Requested State while travelling from the Requesting State to the country of destination.

Article 2

Fundamental Principles

1. While strengthening cooperation on preventing and combating irregular migration, the Requested and Requesting State shall, in the application of this Agreement to persons falling within its scope, ensure respect for human rights and for the obligations and responsibilities following from relevant international instruments applicable to the Contacting Parties, in particular from:

- the 1948 Universal Declaration of the Human Rights

- the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its protocols

- the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

- the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture

- the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its Protocol of 1967.

2. The Requested State shall in particular ensure, in compliance with its obligations under the international instruments listed above, the protection of the rights of persons readmitted to its territory.

3. The Requesting State should give preference to voluntary return over forced return where there are no reasons to believe that this would undermine the return of a person to the Requested State.

SECTION I

READMISSION OBLIGATIONS BY THE CONTRACTING PARTIES

Article 3

Readmission of own nationals

1. The Requested State shall readmit, upon application by the Requesting State and without further formalities other than those provided for in this Agreement, all persons who do not, or who no longer, fulfil the conditions in force for entry to, presence in, or residence on, the territory of the Requesting State provided that it is proved, or may be validly assumed on the basis of prima facie evidence furnished, that they are nationals of the Requested State.

2. The Requested State shall also readmit:

- minor unmarried children of the persons mentioned in paragraph 1, regardless of their place of birth or their nationality, unless they have an independent right of residence in the Requesting State,

- spouses, holding another nationality or being stateless, of the persons mentioned in paragraph 1, provided they have the right to enter and stay or receive the right to enter and stay in the territory of the Requested State, unless they have an independent right of residence in the Requesting State.

3. The Requested State shall also readmit persons, illegally present or residing in the Requesting State, who have renounced the nationality of the Requested State in accordance with the national laws of the latter since entering the territory of the Requesting State, unless such persons have at least been promised naturalisation by the Requesting State.

4.  After the Requested State has given a positive reply to the readmission application, the competent diplomatic or consular representation of the Requested State shall, irrespective of the will of the person to be readmitted, free of charge and not later than within five working days, issue the travel document required for the return of the person to be readmitted with a period of validity of 90 days. If the Requested State has not within five working days issued the travel document, it shall be deemed to accept the use of the Requesting State’s standard travel document for expulsion purposes (Annexes 7 and 8).

5. If, for legal or factual reasons, the person concerned cannot be transferred within the period of validity of the travel document that was initially issued, the competent diplomatic or consular representation of the Requested State shall, within five working days and free of charge, issue a new travel document with a period of validity of the same duration. If the Requested State has not within five working days issued the travel document, it shall be deemed to accept the use of the Requesting State’s standard travel document for expulsion purposes (Annexes 7 and 8).

Article 4

Readmission of third-country nationals and stateless persons

1. The Requested State shall readmit, upon application by the Requesting State and without further formalities other than those provided for in this Agreement, any third-country nationals or stateless persons who do not, or who no longer, fulfil the conditions in force for entry to, presence in, or residence on, the territory of the Requesting State provided that it is proved, or may be validly assumed on the basis of prima facie evidence furnished, that such persons:
 
(a) hold at the time of submission of the readmission application a valid visa or residence permit issued by the Requested State; or

(b) illegally and directly entered the territory of the Requesting State after having stayed on or transited through the territory of the Requested State.

2. The readmission obligation in paragraph 1 shall not apply if:
 
(a) the third country national or stateless person has only been in airside transit via an International Airport of the Requested State; or

(b) the Requesting State has issued to the third country national or stateless person a visa or residence permit before or after entering its territory unless that person is in possession of a visa or residence permit, issued by the Requested State, which has a longer period of validity; or

(c) the third-country national or stateless person enjoyed visa-free access to the territory of the Requesting State; or

(d) the Requested State has expelled the third-country national or stateless person to his/her state of origin or to a third State.

3. The Requesting State shall transfer third country nationals to be readmitted to their countries of origin and submit the respective readmission application to the Requested State only if such a transfer is deemed impossible.

4. Without prejudice to Article 5 (2), after the Requested State has given a positive reply to the readmission application, the Requesting State issues the person whose readmission has been accepted with its standard travel document for expulsion purposes (Annexes 7 and 8).

SECTION II

READMISSION PROCEDURE

Article 5

Principles

1. Subject to paragraph 2, any transfer of a person to be readmitted on the basis of one of the obligations contained in Articles 3 and 4 shall require the submission of a readmission application to the competent authority of the Requested State.

2. If the person to be readmitted is in possession of a valid travel document and, in the case of third country nationals or stateless persons, also a valid visa or residence permit of the Requested State, the transfer of such person can take place without the Requesting State having to submit a readmission application and, in the case of a national of the Requested State, also without having to submit a written notification referred to in Article 10 (1) to the Requested State.

3. Without prejudice to paragraph 2, if a person has been apprehended immediately at the state borders or their vicinity, including border crossing points of the Requesting State after illegally crossing the border coming directly from the territory of the Requested State, the Requesting State may submit a readmission application within two working days following this person’s apprehension (accelerated procedure).

Article 6

Readmission application

1. To the extent possible, the readmission application is to contain the following information:

(a) the particulars of the person to be readmitted (e.g. given names, surnames, date of birth, and – where possible – place of birth, and the last place of residence) and, where applicable, the particulars of minor unmarried children and/or spouse;

(b) in case of own nationals, indication of the means of proof or prima facie evidence of nationality as set out by Annexes 1 and 2 respectively;
(c) in case of third country nationals and stateless persons, indication of the means of proof or prima facie evidence of the conditions for the readmission of third-country nationals and stateless persons as set out by Annexes 3 and 4 respectively;
(d) photograph of the person to be readmitted;

2. To the extent possible, the readmission application shall also contain the following information:

(a) a statement indicating that the person to be transferred may need help or care, provided the person concerned has explicitly consented to the statement;

(b) any other protection, security measure or information concerning the health of the person, which may be necessary in the individual transfer case.

3.  A common form to be used for readmission applications is attached as Annex 5 to this Agreement.

4. A readmission application may be submitted by any means of communication including electronic ones e.g. fax, e-mails etc.

Article 7

Means of evidence regarding nationality

1. Proof of nationality pursuant to Article 3 (1) can be particularly furnished through the documents listed in Annex 1 to this Agreement, even if their period of validity has expired by up to 6 months. If such documents are presented, Azerbaijan and Norway shall mutually recognise the nationality without further investigation being required. Proof of nationality cannot be furnished through false documents.

2. Prima facie evidence of nationality pursuant to Article 3 (1) can be particularly furnished through the documents listed in Annex 2 to this Agreement, even if their period of validity has expired. If such documents are presented, Azerbaijan and Norway shall deem the nationality to be established, unless they can prove otherwise. Prima facie evidence of nationality cannot be furnished through false documents.

3. If none of the documents listed in Annexes 1 or 2 can be presented, or if they are insufficient, the competent diplomatic or consular representation of the Requested State concerned shall, upon a request from the Requesting State which is to be included in the readmission application, interview the person to be readmitted without undue delay at the latest within ten working days from the requesting day, in order to establish his or her nationality.

4. If the authenticity of the presented documents listed in Annexes 1 or 2 is challenged by the Requested State, the competent diplomatic or consular representation of the Requested State may interview the person to be readmitted within ten working days from the requesting day, in order to establish his or her nationality. If the Requested State has not, within ten working days, interviewed that person, the presented documents shall be deemed accepted as prima facie evidence of nationality.

Article 8

Means of evidence regarding third-country nationals and stateless persons

1. Proof of the conditions for the readmission of third-country nationals and stateless persons laid down in Article 4 (1) shall be particularly furnished through the means of evidence listed in Annex 3 to this Agreement; it cannot be furnished through false documents. Any such proof shall be mutually recognised by Azerbaijan and Norway without any further investigation being required.

2. Prima facie evidence of the conditions for the readmission of third-country nationals and stateless persons laid down in Article 4 (1) shall be particularly furnished through the means of evidence listed in Annex 4 to this Agreement; it cannot be furnished through false documents. Where such prima facie evidence is presented, Azerbaijan and Norway shall deem the conditions to be established, unless they can prove otherwise.

3. The unlawfulness of entry, presence or residence shall be established by means of the travel documents of the person concerned in which the necessary visa or other residence permit for the territory of the Requesting State is missing. A statement by the Requesting State that the person concerned has been found not having the necessary travel documents, visa or residence permit shall likewise provide prima facie evidence of the unlawful entry, presence or residence.

Article 9

Time limits

1. The application for readmission must be submitted to the competent authority of the Requested State within a maximum of 6 months after the Requesting State’s competent authority has gained knowledge that a third-country national or a stateless person does not, or does no longer, fulfil the conditions in force for entry, presence or residence. Where there are legal or factual obstacles to the application being submitted in time, the time limit shall, upon request by the Requesting State, be extended but only until the obstacles have ceased to exist.

2. A readmission application must be replied to in writing

- within two working days if the application has been made under the accelerated procedure (Article 5(3));

- within eighteen calendar days in all other cases.

This time limit begins to run with the date of confirmed receipt of the readmission request. Such confirmation shall immediately be made in writing. If there is no reply within this time limit, the transfer shall be deemed to have been agreed to.

Reply to a readmission application may be submitted by any means of communication including electronic ones e.g. fax, e-mails etc.

3. Reasons for the refusal of a readmission request shall be given in writing.

4.  After agreement has been given or, where appropriate, after expiry of the time limits laid down in paragraph 2, the person concerned shall be transferred within three months. Upon request of the Requesting State, this time limit may be extended by the time taken to deal with legal or practical obstacles.

Article 10

Transfer modalities and modes of transportation

1. Without prejudice to Article 5 (2), before returning a person, the competent authorities of the Requesting State shall notify in writing at least three working days in advance the competent authorities of the Requested State regarding the transfer date, the border crossing point, possible escorts and other information relevant to the transfer.

2. Transportation may take place by any means including by air or sea. Return by air shall not be restricted to the use of the national carriers of Azerbaijan or Norway and may take place by using scheduled or charter flights. In the event of escorted returns, such escorts shall not be restricted to authorised persons of the Requesting State, provided that they are authorised persons by Azerbaijan or Norway.

3. If the transfer takes place by air, possible escorts shall be issued necessary visas at the airport free of charge.

Article 11

Readmission in error

1. The Requesting State shall take back any person readmitted by the Requested State if it is established, within a period of six months, and in case of third-country nationals or stateless persons 12 months, after the transfer of the person concerned, that the requirements laid down in Articles 3 and 4 of this Agreement are not met.

2. In such cases the procedural provisions of this Agreement shall apply mutatis mutandis and all available information relating to the actual identity and nationality of the person to be taken back shall be provided.

SECTION III

TRANSIT OPERATIONS

Article 12

Principles

1. The Contracting Parties should restrict the transit of third-country nationals and stateless persons to cases where such persons cannot be returned to the State of destination directly.

2. Azerbaijan shall allow the transit of third-country nationals or stateless persons if Norway so requests, and Norway shall allow the transit of third-country nationals or stateless persons if Azerbaijan so requests, if the onward journey in possible other States of transit and the readmission by the State of destination is assured.

3. Transit can be refused by Azerbaijan or Norway:
  
(a) if the third-country national or the stateless person runs the real risk of being subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or the death penalty or of persecution because of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion in the State of destination or another State of transit; or

(b) if the third-country national or the stateless person shall be subject to criminal sanctions in the Requested State or in another State of transit; or

(c) on grounds of public health, national security, public order or other national interests of the Requested State.

4. Azerbaijan or Norway may revoke any authorisation issued if circumstances referred to in paragraph 3 subsequently arise or come to light which stand in the way of the transit operation, or if the onward journey in possible States of transit or the readmission by the State of destination is no longer assured. In this case, the Requesting State shall take back the third-country national or the stateless person, as necessary and without delay.

Article 13

Transit procedure

1.  An application for transit operations must be submitted to the competent authority of the Requested State in writing and is to contain the following information:

(a) type of transit (by air, sea or land), possible other States of transit and intended final destination;

(b) the particulars of the person to be transited (e.g. given name, surname, maiden name, other names used/by which known or aliases, date of birth, sex and – where possible – place of birth, nationality, language, type and number of travel document);

(c) envisaged border crossing point, time of transfer and possible use of escorts;

(d) a declaration that in the view of the Requesting State the conditions pursuant to Article 12 (2) are met, and that no reasons for a refusal pursuant to Article 12 (3) are known of.

A common form to be used for transit applications is attached as Annex 6 to this Agreement.

A transit application may be submitted by any means of communication including electronic ones e.g. fax, e-mails etc.

2. The Requested State shall, within five working days after receipt of the application and in writing, inform the Requesting State of the admission, confirming the border crossing point and the envisaged time of admission, or inform it of the admission refusal and of the reasons for such refusal. If there is no reply within five working days the transit shall be deemed to have been agreed to.

Reply to a transit application may be submitted by any means of communication including electronic ones e.g. fax, e-mails etc.

3. If the transit operation takes place by air, the person to be transited and possible escorts shall be exempted from having to obtain an airport transit visa.

4. The competent authorities of the Requested State shall, subject to mutual consultations, assist in the transit operations, in particular through the surveillance of the persons in question and the provision of suitable amenities for that purpose.

5. Transit of the persons shall be carried out within 30 days of receipt of consent to the request.

SECTION IV

COSTS

Article 14

Transport and transit costs

Without prejudice to the right of the competent authorities to recover the costs associated with the readmission from the person to be readmitted or third parties, all transport costs incurred in connection with readmission and transit operations pursuant to this Agreement as far as the border of the State of final destination shall be borne by the Requesting State.

SECTION V

DATA PROTECTION AND RELATION TO OTHER INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS

Article 15

Data Protection

The communication of personal data shall only take place if such communication is necessary for the implementation of this Agreement by the competent authorities of Azerbaijan or Norway as the case may be. The processing and treatment of personal data in a particular case shall be subject to the domestic laws of Azerbaijan and Norway. Additionally the following principles shall apply:

(a) personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully;

(b) personal data must be collected for the specified, explicit and legitimate purpose of implementing this Agreement and not further processed by the communicating authority nor by the receiving authority in a way incompatible with that purpose;

(c) personal data must be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose for which they are collected and/or further processed; in particular, personal data communicated may concern only the following:

– the particulars of the person to be transferred (e.g. given names, surnames, any previous names, other names used/by which known or aliases, sex, civil status, date and place of birth, current and any previous nationality),

– passport, identity card or driving licence (number, period of validity, date of issue, issuing authority, place of issue),

– stop-overs and itineraries,

– other information needed to identify the person to be transferred or to examine the readmission requirements pursuant to this Agreement;

(d) personal data must be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date;

(e) personal data must be kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purpose for which the data were collected or for which they are further processed;

(f) both the communicating authority and the receiving authority shall take every reasonable step to ensure as appropriate the rectification, erasure or blocking of personal data where the processing does not comply with the provisions of this Article, in particular because those data are not adequate, relevant, accurate, or they are excessive in relation to the purpose of processing. This includes the notification of any rectification, erasure or blocking to the other Contracting Party;

(g) upon request, the receiving authority shall inform the communicating authority of the use of the communicated data and of the results obtained therefrom;

(h) personal data may only be communicated to the competent authorities. Further communication to other bodies requires the prior consent of the communicating authority;

(i) the communicating and the receiving authorities are under an obligation to make a written record of the communication and receipt of personal data.

Article 16

Relation to other international obligations

1. This agreement shall be without prejudice to the rights, obligations and responsibilities of Azerbaijan and Norway arising from International Law including from international conventions to which they are party, in particular from the international instruments listed in Article 2, and:

- the international conventions determining the State responsible for examining applications for asylum lodged,

- international conventions on extradition and transit,

- multilateral international conventions and agreements on the readmission of foreign nationals such as the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation.

2. Nothing in this Agreement shall prevent the return of a person under other formal or informal arrangements.

SECTION VI

IMPLEMENTATION AND APPLICATION

Article 17

Joint readmission committee

1. The Contracting Parties shall provide each other with mutual assistance in the application and interpretation of this Agreement. To this end, they may set up a joint readmission committee (hereinafter referred to as “the committee”) which will, in particular, have the task:

(a) to monitor the application of this Agreement;

(b) to address issues arising out of the interpretation or application of the provisions in this Agreement;

(c) to decide on implementing arrangements necessary for the uniform application of this Agreement;

(d) to recommend amendments to this Agreement and its Annexes.

2. The committee shall be composed of representatives of Azerbaijan and Norway.

3. The committee shall meet where necessary at the request of one of the Contracting Parties.

4. The committee shall establish its rules of procedures.

5. Disputes which cannot be resolved by the committee shall be settled through consultations between the Contracting Parties.

Article 18

Implementing provisions

1. The Contracting Parties shall notify each other within 30 calendar days from the date of entry into force of the Agreement through diplomatic channels of the competent authorities, their contact data and border crossing points.

2. The Contracting Parties shall immediately notify each other through diplomatic channels of any changes in competent authorities, their contact data and border crossing points in paragraph 1 of this Article.

3. All communication between the Contracting Parties shall be in English.

SECTION VII

FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 19

Territorial application

This Agreement shall apply to the territory of Azerbaijan and to the territory of Norway.

Article 20

Entry into force, duration and termination

1. This Agreement shall be ratified or approved by the Contracting Parties in accordance with their respective procedures.

2. This Agreement shall enter into force on the first day of the second month after the receipt of the last written notification by the Contracting Parties through diplomatic channels confirming the completion of the above mentioned procedures.

3. The obligations set out in Article 4 of this Agreement shall only become applicable three years after the entry into force of this Agreement. During that 3-year period, they shall only be applicable to stateless persons and nationals from third-countries with which the Requested State has concluded bilateral treaties or arrangements on readmission.

4. The Agreement is concluded for an unlimited period.

5. Each Contracting Party may, by officially notifying the other Contracting Party and after prior consultation of the committee referred to in Article 17, completely or partly, temporarily suspend the implementation of this Agreement. The suspension shall enter into force on the second day following the day of receipt of such notification.

6. Each Contracting Party may terminate this Agreement by officially notifying the other Contracting Party. This Agreement shall cease to apply 90 days after the date of such notification.

Article 21

Amendments to the Agreement

This Agreement may be amended and supplemented by mutual consent of the Contracting Parties. Amendments and supplements shall be drawn up in the form of separate protocols, which shall form an integral part of this Agreement, and enter into force in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 20(1) and 20(2) of this Agreement.

Article 22

Annexes

Annexes 1 to 8 shall form an integral part of this Agreement.


Done at Baku on the 3rd day of December in the year 2014 in duplicate in the Norwegian, Azerbaijani and English languages, each of these texts being equally authentic. For the purpose of interpretation of this Agreement, the English text shall be used.

 

For the Government of the Kingdom of Norway                        For the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan

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Norwegian Directorate
of Immigration
Utlendingsdirektoratet
P.O. box 2098 Vika
NO-0125 Oslo
Norway

Editor in Chief: Stephan Mo