At the EU level, the Dublin III Regulation replaces the Dublin II Regulation, Regulation 343 of 2003, which in turn followed the Dublin Convention of 1990. In its totality, the Dublin system contains the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection submitted in one of the States by a third-country national or a stateless person. The Dublin Regulation identifies the first EU arrival country of the migrant as the competent Member State for his/her asylum procedure (excluding cases of unaccompanied minors, family reunifications or other special clauses). The choice of this ‘geographical’ principle within the EU Common Asylum System was justified in order to prevent multiple asylum applications by a single person (a process known as ‘asylum shopping’). 

The rule of the state of first entry has had two main consequences. Firstly, it disregards migrants’ personal aspirations and cultural links with some countries, which partly explains the refusal of many migrants to accept the photo identification procedure. Secondly, due to this mechanism, first arrival countries are burdened with the bulk of international protection applications.