Seeking asylum

Applying for asylum

Learn more about how exactly to apply for asylum and what this means in practical terms.

If you think you are in need of international protection and you fear to return home, you have the right to apply for asylum in Romania. The first step to receive protection is to apply for asylum.

Who will decide about my application?

Depending on where you are, different procedures may apply. You may ask for asylum at the Border Police, the regular Police, or the General Inspectorate for Immigration. However, all asylum applications in Romania are assessed and decided only by the General Inspectorate for Immigration (Directorate for Asylum and Integration). You may hear other people calling it IGI or Immigration Office. If you first come in contact with the Border Police or the regular Police, they will immediately send your asylum application to the General Inspectorate for Immigration.

When do I become an asylum-seeker? When does the asylum procedure begin?

You are considered an asylum-seeker from the moment you ask for asylum, expressing your intention in writing or verbally in front of the competent authorities.

It is very important that you contact the public authorities as quickly as possible. Your asylum procedure can only begin quickly if you cooperate and follow the instructions of the public authorities. You can contact your lawyer, a non-governmental organization (NGO, or ONG in Romanian) or UNHCR at any time. Click here for useful contacts.

Please choose your location in order to find out more information on how to apply for asylum:

At a border crossing point

How do I apply for asylum if I am at a border crossing point?

If you are at a border crossing point or in an international airport, you did not enter Romania. Tell the Border Police officers, in writing or verbally, that you are afraid to return home and ask for "asylum" and "protection". Your asylum application will be sent to the General Inspectorate for Immigration (GII), the Romanian authority responsible with analysing your application.

What will happen at the border?

After you apply for asylum, you have to wait for permission to enter the territory and to be granted access to the asylum procedure.

In most cases, an officer from the General Inspectorate for Immigration (GII) will interview you to hear your story, how you arrived in Romania and the reasons why you need protection. The officer may decide either to analyse your application while you remain at the border, or to let you on the territory and give you access to the usual asylum procedure. If the officer decides not to let you on the territory you will stay at the border from 3 days up to 20 days. If your asylum application is rejected at the border, you have the right to complain in court within 7 days after you were informed of the negative decision.

The decision issued by the court (in Romanian: Judecătorie) is final and can not be changed.

It is very important to be as honest and specific as possible when you speak with the authorities. It is equally important to say the truth about your age, situation and needs, in order to receive adequate support.

What rights do I have?

While you are at the Border, you can contact your lawyer, an NGO or UNHCR. You have the right to medical and legal assistance. Please ask for advice and information as soon as possible after you apply for asylum, for you to get legal counselling and assistance! Click here for useful contacts.

If you do not wish to seek asylum in Romania, you may be subject to readmission or return agreements. This means you may be returned to the country from which you crossed the border into Romania.

Inside the country

How do I apply for asylum if I am already in Romania?

If you are in need of international protection and you fear to return home, you have to immediately go to the authority responsible with analysing asylum applications in Romania, namely the General Inspectorate for Immigration (GII or IGI in Romanian).

Map with GII/IGI offices where you can ask for asylum depending on your location

You can also go directly and apply for asylum at one of the six Regional Centres for Accommodation and Procedures for Asylum-Seekers (these can be found in Bucharest, Giurgiu, Timisoara, Galati, Somcuta Mare, and Radauti).

Map of Regional CentresRegional Centres for Accommodation and Procedures for Asylum-Seekers

You can also apply for asylum with the Border Police or the regular Police. Tell the authorities in writing or verbally that you are afraid to return home and you ask for “asylum”. They will than immediately inform the General Inspectorate for Immigration about your application and you will be taken to the nearest Regional Centre. If you came irregularly and you are apprehended by the Border Police, they will first make some verifications, including fingerprinting.

See the next sections for information on what will happen after applying for asylum: Asylum Procedure, Accommodation, Rights and Obligations and so on.

If you do not wish to seek asylum in Romania, and you have crossed the border irregularly, you may be subject to readmission or return agreement. This means you may be returned to the country from which you crossed or to your home country. In the meantime you may be placed in a public custody centre in view of your removal from Romania.

In a Public Custody Centre

How do I apply for asylum if I am in a Public Custody Centre?

You are in one of the two Public Custody Centres managed by the General Inspectorate for Immigration (in Otopeni, near Bucharest, or in Arad/Horia, near the Hungarian-Romanian border). You are in public custody in order to be removed from Romania, after you did not comply with the national legislation. For example, you entered the country irregularly, your right to legally stay expired, or you did not comply with the obligation to leave the country.

Even in this situation, you still have the right to apply for asylum if you think you are in need of protection and you fear returning to your home country. In this case, tell the authorities at the centre in writing or verbally that you ask for "asylum". Your request will be sent to the responsible department within the General Inspectorate for Immigration. Depending on your situation, different procedures will be applied.

What will happen next?

Applying for asylum does not mean you will be automatically released from public custody. First, you might have an interview with an officer. You will be asked to explain why you fear to return home and why you applied for asylum.

If it is your first asylum application in Romania, the officer will first decide if you have valid reasons for seeking asylum.

Valid (good) reasons not to want to return to your country: If the officer decides you have good reasons for seeking asylum, your application will be further analysed in the normal asylum procedure and you will be released and possibly sent to an open centre.

No reasons to apply for asylum: If the officer decides you do not have good reasons to refuse returning to your country, your application will be rejected in "ccelerated procedure" (fast procedure) and you will remain in the public custody centre. 

You have the right to complain in court against the negative decision, within 7 days after receiving the decision.

It is very important to be as honest and specific as possible when you speak to the authorities. It is important to say the truth about your age, situation and needs, in order to receive adequate support.

Click on the next sections for more information on the Normal Asylum Procedure and Accelerated Asylum Procedure.

What if this is not my first asylum application in Romania?

If this is NOT your first asylum application in Romania, click on the section Access to a New Asylum Procedure. You will be able to leave the public custody centre and go to an open centre ONLY if granted access to a new asylum procedure.

Where can I ask for help?

While you are in a Public Custody Centre, you can contact your lawyer, a non-governmental organization (NGO, or ONG in Romanian) and UNHCR. Please ask for advice and information as soon as possible after you apply for asylum, in order to understand the deadlines and procedures that apply to your case!

Contact listSee a list of contacts that can help you

Contact

JRS Romania
BUcharest, Romania
Email: office@jrsromania.ro
Tel: +40-722-000000
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