What is asylum and who can apply for it in Romania?
Asylum is the granting of the right of entry and residence on the territory of a state to a foreign person.
Thus, if you are a foreign citizen and you are on Romanian territory or at a point for crossing the border you can apply for asylum in Romania. You will be considered an asylum seeker from the moment you have expressed your will, in writing or orally in front of the competent authorities, by which you prove that you are requesting the protection of the Romanian state.
Where can I fill in my application for asylum?
The central authority which is responsable with the asylum procedures is the General Inspectorate for Immigration (GII), but there are also others specialized structures that operate within it, such as Asylum and Integration Directorate (AID).
Also, in order to request asylum in Romania, you can confidently address to other structures, such as the Romanian Border Police, the police units within which detention and pre-trial detention centers are set up and operate, as well as the structures of the National Administration of Penitentiaries within the Department of Justice.
! An important thing to know is that depending on the region from Romania on whose territory you are, you will have to address to the specialized institution in that region. Thus, you will be able to addres one of the following 6 competent regional centers to receive, register and process your asylum application:
- Bucharest Center;
- Timisoara Center;
- Galati Center;
- Radauti Center;
- Maramures Center;
- Giurgiu center.
How do I apply for asylum?
The asylum application can be submitted in person by foreign citizens located on the territory of Romania or at a checkpoint for crossing the state border. In the case of the minors that want to obtain asylum, the application will be submitted by their legal representatives, but if they have reached the age of 14, they will be able to submit on their own the asylum application.
The asylum application can be found in the form of a standard form, available here. The form may be completed by the asylum seeker with the help of the official responsible for his/her file or even by the designated official, if the applicant does not know how to write, according to his/her oral statements.
Also, for the final registration of the asylum application, you will participate at a preliminary interview through which the Romanian authorities will establish your personal and family members’ data, the travelling route from your origin country to Romania and they will also verify the identity documents that you have.
The procedure following the submission of the asylum application
After registering the asylum application, you will go through a procedure which is not complicated at all. Through this procedure, the authorities will decide whether to grant you the right to asylum on the territory of Romania or not.
This procedure supposes 5 steps: the assignment of the foreigner’s file to an specialized officer, the applicant’s interviewing, the analysis of the reasons invoked by the applicant, as well as the file submitted by him, taking a decision and communicating it to the asylum seeker.
You should be aware that all the data and information you provide to the competent authorities in order to resolve your request will be kept confidential throughout the procedure and after it has been completed.
The interview involves a conversation with the official officer designated to resolve your asylum application in order to clarify all the aspects of your file.
The answer to your asylum application will be issued within 30 days from the date of taking over your case by the competent officer. It may be extended by several periods which may not exceed nine months. The decision to grant asylum or to reject the asylum application shall also be communicated to you immediately.
If your asylum application has been rejected, you must leave the Romanian territory within 15 days from the date when the asylum procedure was completely finished. However, if you choose to challenge the solution provided by the officer which was charged with your file through one of the remedies provided by law (complaint or appeal), you will have the right to remain in Romania during the settlement of your request by the competent courts.
What rights and obligations do I have during the asylum procedure?
The Romanian legislation includes an exhaustive list of rights and obligations that an asylum seeker has during the asylum procedure, available here.
We will list some of the most important rights, in our opinion:
- the right to be assisted by a lawyer at any stage of the asylum procedure;
- the right to be advised and assisted by a representative of Romanian or foreign non-governmental organizations at any stage of the procedure;
- the right to stay in Romania until the expiration of the 15 days term from the rejection of the asylum application;
- the right to be accomodated in the special centers subordinated to the General Inspectorate for Immigration.
Among the obligations provided by law, we will mention:
- the obligation to submit in writing to the competent authorities the motivated asylum application;
- the obligation to provide the competent authorities complete and real information about your identity;
- the obligation to submit to your file all the documents that you have at your disposal or that have been requested by the competent authorities;
- the obligation to respect the laws of the Romanian state and to respect the measures ordered by the Romanian authorities concerning asylum.
What do I need to know if I am in a vulnerable category?
One of the vulnerable categories seeking asylum in Romania is the one of the unaccompanied minors. In this case, the asylum procedure has some particularities and the settlement of applications will be done with priority.
If you are in this category, you should know that you will receive a temporary certificate that replaces the temporary identity document. You will also be accommodated in a center of the General Directorate of Social Assistance and Child Protection.
At the same time, the officer responsible with your case will immediately request the appointment of a legal representative and from the moment of its recognition, any stage of the asylum procedure will be carried out only in his presence and with his consent.
If your application has been accepted, you will receive identity documents, a personal numerical code and you will have the right to benefit from accomodation in an institutional center until you reach the age of 18.
Legal Intern at R&R Partners Bucharest
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