Five things to know about refugees and asylum in Romania

The topic of asylum and refugees is specifically important right now, during these difficult times with the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, just at the Romanian border. We’ve had so many Ukrainians coming to Romania in order to get the refugee status.

This also concerns every type of asylum seeker in Romania, because in the last years many people from all around the world were trying to escape their countries’ challenging situation that affects their way of life and who were looking for politically neutral areas to move in where they can feel safe and at ease.

Where do you apply for asylum?

The first thing you should know about obtaining asylum in Romania or the refugee status is that you cannot acquire them from abroad. In order to make such a request and have this kind of protection that comes with it you must first come to Romania or, at least, to its border. It is a very important aspect to keep in mind when pursuing your wish to move here, considering how many people ask about this procedure not knowing they cannot apply for this type of protection while they are still in their home country.

Moreover, the request has to be made by you, in person, because it is a personal application and also because the following step consists in an interview. No lawyer, family member or friend can make this request on your behalf.

You need a good reason for the request

When asking for asylum, you should show that you’re currently persecuted in your country, and that you put your safety at risk by continuing to stay there. To prove this statement and enforce your request, you can bring certain documents showing that, for example, you were imprisoned for a certain amount of time for political reasons or you can bring declarations from people who are still abroad to testify in court or to the authorities to demonstrate how citizens rights were being violated.

The approach for the procedure is determined from case to case, for each individual and, as lawyers, we start by asking our client to tell their story in details so we can understand the situation and then, we strengthen the case by preparing ahead of time on the questions a judge could ask in court and what problems we could encounter.

You have the right to legal assistance

If you end up going to court, even if you do not have a lawyer that you retained, you will be given legal assistance for free.

We truly believe that, if you want to have a strong case an achieve the best results, it is best to personally hire your own lawyer who is specialized in immigration law then go with the one who is provided to you who is a legal professional that doesn’t work exclusively on this type of cases. For matters regarding your own life, your family, and your freedom you should always take into consideration professionals who have enough experience in the sphere of your problem.

You have the right to a translator

We dare to say that this is an even more important right than actually having a lawyer, assuming that you might end up signing papers which you do not understand and take actions that could be detrimental to your case.

We encourage you to always ask for a translator’s assistance, even if you speak an international language to some extent. Your language skills might not be as great when the authorities or the judge start questioning you about your past, what happened on certain days or about some traumatic events, especially when the conversation involves legal terms and unusual words that you are not so familiar with. When you are shown different documents that you have to sign, you must always truly understand their content and the officer and the translator are at your disposal to offer their help.

So, keep in mind to never sign papers just because they are handed over to you!

You will have the right to work in Romania

If you obtain this kind of protection, not only you will have the right to live, but also to work in Romania, which, as you might know, especially for a non-EU citizen, can be quite a complicated issue.

We often hear from our clients that in many cases employers would rather choose a Romanian or EU citizen to avoid the expensive and time-consuming paperwork that hiring a non-EU citizen involves.

So, it is quite an advantage to obtain your refugee status before applying for a job in Romania.

Maria Timofte

Legal Intern R&R Partners Bucharest

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