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Last updated: June 2022

In case the criterion of ‘safety’ is satisfied, as a next step, case officers have to establish whether an applicant can:

Figure 18. Travel and admittance as requirements for IPA.

It should be noted that, in the context of Somalia, the three requirements should be read in conjunction.

The respective elements with regard to Mogadishu, Garowe and Hargeisa are explained below, along with conclusions based on available information:

Safely travel

There should be a safe route, through which the applicant can practically travel without undue difficulty, so that he or she can access the area of IPA without serious risks. In this regard, the assessment of the travel route from the airport to the city is part of the ‘safe travel’ criterion and has to be assessed carefully based on relevant COI.[24]

  • Mogadishu: Mogadishu has an international airport, Aden Adde International Airport, from which both international and domestic flights are taking place. The airport is located about 1.6 kilometres west of the town. Mortar attacks launched by Al-Shabaab against the airport complex have been recorded. [Actors, 4.2.3]

Several hundred checkpoints in Mogadishu manned by security forces were meant to ensure safety in the city. People reported fear going through checkpoints because of corrupt police officers or the risk of terrorist bomb attacks. Violent incidents at checkpoints causing deaths and harassments by NISA or other security agents have also been reported. [Socio-economic 2021, 1.2.2]

  • Garowe: Garowe International Airport is the third largest airport in Somalia, located about 12 kilometres from Garowe’s city centre. It is operated by the Puntland Ministry for Civil Aviation and Airport and it serves both international and domestic destinations. [Socio-economic 2021, 2.2.1]

In terms of internal mobility and security, Somalis can in general freely move around Puntland without too many security concerns. Exceptions are the contested areas in Sool and Sanaag or areas where Al-Shabaab has presence such as around the Galgala Hills. [Security 2021, 2.6.5]

  • Hargeisa: Hargeisa’s airport is located 6 km from the city centre and it serves both international and domestic flights [Socio-economic 2021, 3.2.1].

Legally travel

There should be no legal obstacles that prevent the applicant from travelling to the safe area.

  • Mogadishu: in principle, people can move freely within the capital city regardless of their clan background, and there are no clan-based restrictions on movement.

The main checkpoints in the city were controlled by FGS forces. In January 2019, a source indicated that security checkpoints in Mogadishu were commonly located every one to two kilometres, and that one should make sure to provide an ID card. However, in July 2021, another source stated that the majority of people in Mogadishu do not possess IDs or other identity documents. Official fees are not levied at checkpoints, but bribes may be requested and especially so if identity documents are missing. People without IDs are more likely to be body-checked. For members of marginalised groups, passage was not always possible even though they had the required identity certificates. [Socio-economic 2021, 1.2.2]

  • Garowe: the existence of checkpoints manned by security forces, district officials or police officers from the local municipality who collect fees as well as bribes has been reported. Controls of people are regular, however, security forces do not necessarily check IDs but ask questions to determine the place of origin. [Socio-economic 2021,]
  • Hargeisa: Somaliland authorities require anyone entering the territory through the airport to have a proper travel document and may require a fee. For individuals who are not in possession of identification documents issued by the Somaliland authorities, the Department of Somaliland Immigration (SIBC) lists travellers who, based on their type of passport or nationality, can apply for an ‘on arrival’ visa directly, while other applicants must apply for visas in advance. ‘On arrival’ visas are awarded for stays of up to 30 days. As a rule, an invitation is required as proof of the purpose of stay, without which entry can be refused. Visa fees apply. [Socio-economic 2021, 3.2.1]

The presence of entry and exit checkpoints at each district within Somaliland has been reported. There are also checkpoints on all the roads leading in and out of Hargeisa city. However, they do not significantly affect the accessibility or mobility of residents. Checkpoint authorities consistently verify travel documents, driver’s licenses, destination and origin of the trip, record plate numbers of vehicles and contact numbers of travellers. [Socio-economic 2021,]

Gain admittance to

The applicant should be allowed to access the safe area by the actor(s) who control it.

  • Mogadishu: even though there are no clan-based restrictions on movement and settlement, still, the clan background determines where people feel it is safest for an individual to live. The clan can also provide a safety net in case of hardship. [Socio-economic 2021, 1.2.3]
  • Garowe: although people can settle in all parts of Garowe city, they tend to settle according to clan affiliation [Socio-economic 2021,].
  • Hargeisa: Hargeisa’s population has a history of settling in the city according to a clan-based segregation. Newcomers settled where members of their clan lived, because they knew this network would facilitate their access to a range of institutions and services which the state failed to provide. However, this did not signify that people cannot reside in a neighbourhood populated by a clan different than theirs. [Socio-economic 2021, 3.2.3]

 The individual circumstances of the applicant should also be taken into account when assessing whether he or she can safely and legally travel and gain admittance to a part of the country.

For those applicants who meet the ‘safety’ criterion, the assessment of the availability of IPA should proceed with an assessment of the requirements of safety and legality of travel and of gaining admittance.

Based on available COI, it is concluded that there are some security concerns with regard to the safety of travel to Mogadishu. With regard to Garowe and Hargeisa, it is concluded that, in general, a person can access these cities without serious risks.

The possession of identification documents may be required to pass through checkpoints to travel to Mogadishu, Garowe and Hargeisa.

Identification documents issued by Somaliland authorities or a travel document such as a visa are required to travel to Hargeisa. The possession of a 30-day visa would not be sufficient to consider that the applicant can settle in the city. The profile and individual circumstances of the applicant should be taken into account.

Clan affiliation does not constitute a legal requirement to travel and gain admittance in Mogadishu, Garowe and Hargeisa, however it would be a crucial factor to take into account when examining the requirements of reasonableness to settle in one of these cities.



[24]ECtHR, Sufi and Elmi, paras.268, 269, 271.