About this tool


Why was this tool developed?

The primary objective of this tool is to facilitate the timely identification of persons with special procedural and/or reception needs. It may be used at any stage of the asylum procedure and at any stage of the reception process.

This tool is an interactive platform which allows you to identify special needs by detecting certain indicators that you may observe or come across based on different pieces of evidence (information in the application for international protection, medical evidence, statements during the personal interview, etc.). In addition to identification indicators, the tool suggests generic guidance on the special procedural guarantees and reception support that could be provided to the applicant in the EU+ context. 

The tool is designed to support Member States in implementing their obligations under the recast Reception Conditions Directive (2013/33EU) and Asylum Procedures Directive (2013/32/EU):

►   Identification has to be within a reasonable period of time after an application for international protection is made, and should be ongoing (Article 22 RCD recast and Article 24 APD recast).  

►   Member States are then under an obligation to take into account the specific situation of applicants in need of special reception support (Article 21 RCD recast) and special procedural guarantees (Recital 29 APD recast).

The tool could be incorporated by Member States in the framework of a more comprehensive identification mechanism. The modalities of its use would depend on the national set-up and needs.

How can this tool support your daily work?

In all cases, even where no special need is apparent, identification and assessment of special needs should be done on individual basis. This tool is designed to provide practical support in this individual identification process. Its purpose is not to assign applicants to particular categories or to providing a one-size-fits-all response to potential special needs, but rather to guide the user in a process through which he/she could ensure that an appropriate individual response has been provided to the special needs of the particular applicant.

Depending on your needs as a user and whether identification has already taken place, you may use the indicators or access directly the relevant category and particular support stage that you are interested in.

A printable report: Once you are satisfied with the results of the identification and the information you have retrieved, you can save or print a report summarising the identification information and outlining the potentially necessary actions to take. Before printing or saving the file as a pdf, you can add your own notes, so that the report would become an integral part of the applicant’s file. The notes you enter are not processed or saved in the online tool and are protected from interference.

What is the scope of this tool?


This tool provides an interactive platform for the identification of special needs within the asylum context. It primarily addresses the need to identify special needs based on key indicators grouped in the following categories.

Special needs

The categories of persons with special needs in this tool include those explicitly mentioned in Article 21 RCD recast, as well as two categories added based on the collected information regarding current EU+ practices, in particular LGBTI applicants and people with gender-related special needs. The tool recognises the limitations of any such development and acknowledges that special needs may exist outside the set categories. Illiterate applicants, for example, would need specific procedural assistance and possibly reception support; however, this is not addressed as a specific category of persons with special needs. The tool further recognises and takes into account that for some applicants, special needs would fall under more than one category. For example, a minor coming with her family may be a victim of female genital mutilation. If you have marked the respective indicators, the tool would highlight the relevance of both categories: ‘accompanied minors’ and ‘persons who have been subjected to other serious forms of psychological, physical and sexual violence’.


Furthermore, the tool addresses certain procedural stages, as well as reception support and provides general guidance. While it is acknowledged that special needs do not cease to exist with the end of the first instance asylum procedure, for practical reasons the tool only looks at the potentially necessary support up to that point. Moreover, while it briefly addresses the implications of particular special needs regarding credibility, it does not go into the process of decision-making and into looking at special needs as potential grounds for granting international protection. It focuses solely on procedural guarantees and reception support.

How was this tool developed?

This practical tool was developed within the EASO Quality Matrix process. Following the methodology of the Quality Matrix the development of the tool built on the comprehensive mapping of current EU+ practices, existing tools and identification mechanisms.

The tool was developed by a Working Group of national experts from the field of the asylum procedure and reception, including experts from Belgium, Bulgaria, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom, and with valuable initial input from a Reference Group, including the European Commission, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). The draft material was further consulted with the EASO Quality Reference Group and with interested members of the EASO Consultative Forum. Furthermore, before finalising the tool it was consulted with all Member States and their feedback was taken into account to make this a useful tool in the different national contexts.

We would like to thank the national experts and all organisations which took part in this consultation for sharing their expertise and contributing to this important development: Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme European (AEDH), Asylum Aid, Belgian Refugee Council, Caritas International, ECRE, Greek Council for Refugees,  International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), International Network to Analyze, Communicate and Transform the Campaign against FGM/C (INTACT), International Organization for Migration (IOM), International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT), Jesuit Refugee Service Malta (JRS), Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (NOAS), Red Cross, Save the Children, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNHCR and the European Commission.

How does the tool relate to national systems?

The way the tool is designed in its main part – identification – is universally applicable in any context. It reflects the elements by which a person’s special needs may be identified and those elements do not change across States.

The part on special procedural guarantees and reception support takes into account that national set-ups may vary and the particular modalities of the available assistance may be different in the different EU+ States. The tool provides brief and general guidance in those instances and further refers the user to national practice.

How does the tool relate to other EASO support tools?

It should be underlined that this practical tool can in no way replace the need for training and efforts to raise awareness about potential special needs in the asylum context.

Training is crucial to ensure that the responsible officer is able to identify in a timely manner and address effectively the special needs of applicants for international protection. Member States should, therefore, provide relevant training to those various actors who may be in contact with applicants for international protection in the course of the asylum procedure.

As all EASO practical support tools, the IPSN tool is based on the common standards of the CEAS and on identified good practices. It is built in the framework of providing practical on-the-ground support and should be seen as a complement to the other available tools, such as training, other practical tools and guides, country of origin information, etc. Consistency with those tools has been a primary consideration in developing its content. In particular, the tool was built in line with relevant EASO Training Curriculum modules, such as ‘Gender, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation’, ‘Interviewing Vulnerable Persons’ and ‘Interviewing Children’ and is integrated into the training module ‘Reception’. The IPSN tool is also in line with and directly refers to the publicly available Practical Guides on the Personal Interview and Evidence Assessment, within the ‘EASO Practical Guides Series’.