Issuance of travel documents for refugees can be denied if there is doubt about the applicant's identity

Supreme Court judgment HR-2017-2078-A, (case no. 2017/670), civil case, appeal against judgment

The state represented by the Immigration Appeals Board (Attorney General represented by Anders Wilhelmsen)





Self-help for Immigrants and Refugees (intervener) (Counsel Mads Andenæs)

Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (intervener) (Counsel Anders Christian Stray Ryssdal)

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (intervener) (Counsel Brynjulf Risnes)

Justices: Kallerud, Indreberg, Noer, Bergh, Tønder

Three refugees with residence permit in Norway were denied issuance of travel documents due to doubt about their identity. The Supreme Court stated, basing its decision on the Refugee Convention article 28, pursuant to which refugees are entitled to travel documents "unless compelling reasons of national security or public order otherwise require", see the Immigration Act section 64 and the Immigration Regulation section 12-1, that it is consistent with the Convention not to issue travel documents if it is more likely that the identity stated is false.

The Supreme Court held that false identification documents constitute a serious security risk and that the trust in Norwegian travel documents may be reduced if such documents are issued to persons with uncertain identities. For one of the refugees, the Supreme Court unanimously concluded that it was more likely that the identity he stated when applying for a travel document was correct. It was emphasised that he had only used a different identity once for a short period of time, and that he had stayed in Norway for a long time under the same identify without there being indications that this identify was false. For the other two, who had stated five and three different identities respectively when staying in other countries, the Supreme Court's majority concluded that their identity had not been substantiated.

Read the whole judgment