Asylum law in the European Union is ripe with caveats that allow authorities to reject asylum applications due to ‘protection’ received in the home country or another location. But what does ‘protection’ mean in this context? And when is it strong enough to make denying an application lawful? Departing from the notion that refugee status is a “surrogate” for lacking protection at home, Julian M. Lehmann investigates the interplay of international law and European Union law on protection against harm by non-state actors, the Internal Protection Alternative concept, and asylum in third countries en route to the European Union. Lehmann demonstrates how conflating these concepts risks equating international protection with mere safety, which stands in contrast to the very purpose of refugee law.