Children under 18
This section is dedicated to persons who are younger than 18 years old and have arrived in Romania without their parents.
If you are under 18 years old, authorities will consider you a child or a minor. If your parents are not with you, you are considered an unaccompanied child or an unaccompanied minor.
Please say the truth about your age, as children and adolescents are treated differently than adults.
How do I apply for asylum?
If you are afraid of what has happened in your home country, or what could happen if you return, you have the right to ask for asylum or protection in Romania. This is called seeking asylum. You have this right even if you entered Romania irregularly, meaning without proper documentation. You can apply for asylum if you are at the border or already on the territory. Tell the Border Police officers or the regular Police officers that you are afraid to return home and ask for asylum or protection.
You are considered an asylum-seeker from the moment you ask for asylum in writing or verbally. Once you apply for asylum in Romania, you can stay here until the authorities make a decision in your case. The Romanian authority called the General Inspectorate for Immigration (you may hear other people calling it IGI or Immigration Office) will be the one responsible for deciding on your asylum application, meaning if you receive protection or not.
What happens after I apply for asylum?
After you apply for asylum, you will be taken to a safe place. Initially this will be a Regional Centre managed by the General Inspectorate for Immigration. You may hear other people referring to it as camp or reception centre. Once you arrive here, you will have to register and you will receive a temporary identity document. If you are under 16 years old, you should normally be accommodated in a special centre for children and adolescents, where there are people used to working with children. Otherwise you may stay at the Regional Centre.
What are my rights as a child?
As a child you will have specific rights, such as going to school and to Romanian language classes, or receiving proper medical care. The personnel of the Regional Centre and persons working for different NGOs are also there to help. An NGO (ONG in Romanian) is an organization not linked with the government. See the contact section below for more information about organizations which can help you. Don't be afraid to ask them for help or any information. Everything you tell them is confidential.
Click below to see more on the general rights and obligations that all asylum-seekers have in Romania.
Who will help me?
If you are a child travelling without your parents, you will get help from a legal representative, provided to you by the state. This will also happen if you arrive together with other adult family members, but who are not your parents.
The legal representative will assist you throughout the asylum procedure and will accompany you when you have to talk to the authorities. Don't be afraid to speak with her or him about your problems and fears. She or he is there to ensure that your rights in the asylum procedure are respected and that your needs, safety, well being and your views are taken into consideration.
The asylum procedure will consist of several steps, and your legal representative and the NGOs will assist you throughout this process. Click on the next sections to read about these steps.
Please ask for advice and information as soon as possible. See our contacts section for details about organizations which can help you.
Can the authorities question my age?
If the authorities have doubts you are a child, a doctor might examine you to see how old you are. Do not be alarmed if this happens as nobody will harm you. The doctor will take some body measurements to determine your age. If you do not feel comfortable with the procedures, please tell your legal representative. If the results say you are older than 18 years, you will be treated as an adult.
What will happen if I lie about my real age?
If you are a child but you initially declared you are older than 18 years, you can still inform the authorities of your real age. Please do so as soon as possible, as children traveling without their parents are treated differently than adults.
For example, adults who have entered Romania irregularly (meaning without proper documentation) and decide not to apply for asylum may be taken to a closed centre (called Public Custody Centre) in order to be removed from Romania. If you find yourself in such a situation you can still inform the police about your real age. You can also ask for asylum if you are afraid of what has happened in your home country, or what could happen if you return. If you have no documents showing your real age, a doctor might first examine you to see how old you are. If the results will confirm you are a child, you will leave the closed centre. If the results say you are older than 18 years, you will be treated as an adult!
You can find additional information for unaccompanied children in the below leaflet (produced by the Romanian National Council for Refugee/CNRR)