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01 June 2024

Seeking asylum in Romania

Seeking asylum in Romania is a complex yet crucial step for those fleeing persecution, conflict, or danger in their home countries. As one of the European Union's key member states, Romania offers a structured process for asylum seekers aiming for safety and a new beginning. This comprehensive blog article will walk you through the essential steps, legal requirements, and support systems available for asylum seekers in Romania. Whether you're considering Romania as your sanctuary or assisting someone in need, understanding the asylum process is vital for a smooth transition and successful application.

 

Discover the journey of seeking asylum in Romania

 

Navigating the asylum process in Romania can be a complex and daunting journey for many. As one of the European Union's member states, Romania offers asylum seekers a unique blend of opportunities and challenges. This guide aims to provide a detailed overview of the asylum system in Romania, including the legal framework, application procedures, and available support services. Whether you are an asylum seeker looking for information or someone interested in the humanitarian landscape of Romania, this article will offer valuable insights into the current state of asylum in the country. Explore how Romania's policies align with international standards and what recent changes mean for those seeking refuge within its borders.

 

Introduction. What aims seeking asylum in Romania?

 

Seeking asylum in Romania involves navigating a structured legal process aimed at providing refuge for those fleeing danger. This guide covers everything you need to know about seeking asylum in Romania, from initial application to integration.

 

Understanding asylum in Romania. Definition, importance and the significance of asylum in international law

 

Asylum is a form of international protection granted by a country to foreign nationals who have fled their own country due to a well-founded fear of persecution. This persecution can be based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The goal of asylum is to provide safety and refuge to those who cannot seek protection from their home country.

 

Regarding its significance, the core principle behind granting asylum is the protection of fundamental human rights. It ensures that individuals who face serious threats in their home countries can find safety and a chance to live free from fear.

 

Asylum is a critical aspect of international law dedicated to protecting individuals who flee persecution. It upholds human rights, enforces international legal standards, and embodies the humanitarian principles that promote global solidarity and peace.

 

Romania’s commitment for granting asylum. Overview of Romania's obligations under international treaties and EU regulations

 

Romania, as a member of the European Union and a signatory to various international treaties, has specific obligations regarding the treatment and protection of asylum seekers. These obligations ensure that individuals fleeing persecution can seek refuge and receive fair and humane treatment during their asylum process. Here is an overview of Romania's key obligations:

 

International treaties and conventions on the asylum

 

  • 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol: Romania is a party to these cornerstone documents of international refugee law, which define who is a refugee, their rights, and the obligations of states. This includes the principle of non-refoulement, prohibiting the return of individuals to countries where they face serious threats to their life or freedom.

  • European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR): Romania adheres to this convention, which provides additional protections for asylum seekers, including the right to fair treatment and the prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment.

 

European Union legislation on the asylum

 

Common European Asylum System (CEAS): As an EU member, Romania is part of the CEAS, which aims to harmonize asylum procedures across the EU. This includes several directives and regulations:

  • Asylum Procedures Directive: Establishes common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection.

  • Reception Conditions Directive: Sets standards for the reception of asylum seekers, including housing, food, healthcare, and employment opportunities.

  • Qualification Directive: Defines who qualifies for international protection and outlines the rights granted to beneficiaries.

  • Dublin Regulation: Determines which EU member state is responsible for examining an asylum application, typically the first country of entry.

 

National legislation in Romania on the asylum

 

Romanian Asylum Law no. 122/2006. This national legislation incorporates Romania's international and EU obligations into domestic law. It outlines the procedures for applying for asylum, the rights and responsibilities of asylum seekers, and the roles of various authorities involved in the asylum process.

 

Romania’s obligations regarding asylum stem from its commitments under international and EU law, as well as its national legislation. These obligations are designed to protect the rights of asylum seekers, ensure humane and fair treatment, and provide necessary support for their integration into Romanian society. By adhering to these standards, Romania contributes to the global effort to protect vulnerable individuals fleeing persecution and conflict.

 

Protection and assistance in Romania for asylum seekers

 

Non-Refoulement: Romania must ensure that asylum seekers are not returned to a country where they would face persecution or serious harm.

 

Right to apply for asylum: Individuals have the right to apply for asylum and have their applications fairly and efficiently processed.

 

Reception conditions: Romania is required to provide adequate reception conditions for asylum seekers, including access to housing, healthcare, education, and basic necessities.

 

Legal assistance: Asylum seekers must have access to legal assistance and representation during the asylum process.

 

Integration support: For those granted asylum or subsidiary protection, Romania is obliged to provide support for integration, including language courses, education, and employment opportunities.

 

Fair appeal process: Asylum seekers have the right to appeal negative decisions, and Romania must ensure a fair and impartial appeal process, including access to legal aid.

 

Eligibility for asylum in Romania. Who can apply for asylum?

 

To qualify for asylum in Romania, applicants must meet specific criteria:

 

Well-founded fear of persecution. Applicants must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country. This fear must be based on one or more of the following grounds: membership in a particular social group:

  1. Persecution due to membership in a specific social group, which could include gender, sexual orientation, or other defining characteristics.Political Opinion: Persecution due to political beliefs or activities;

  2. Nationality: Persecution based on nationality or lack of nationality.

  3. Religion: Persecution due to religious beliefs or practices.

  4. Race: Persecution due to race or ethnicity.

 

Unable or unwilling to seek protection. Applicants must prove that they are unable or unwilling to seek protection from their home country’s government due to the fear of persecution.

 

Understanding the eligibility criteria for asylum in Romania is crucial for individuals seeking protection from persecution. By meeting the specific requirements and navigating the application process effectively, asylum seekers can find refuge and a chance to rebuild their lives in Romania. For more detailed information and assistance, consider reaching out to local NGOs or the General Inspectorate for Immigration.

 

Exclusions: Situations where asylum may be denied

 

Certain individuals are excluded from asylum protection, including those who: have committed serious crimes, such as war crimes or crimes against humanity; pose a danger to the security of Romania; have already found protection in another country.

 

The asylum application process in Romania

 

Application process for asylum in Romania consists in the following steps:

 

Step 1: Necessary documentation. When applying for asylum in Romania, it is essential to provide specific documents to support your application. While some documents may not be available due to the nature of fleeing persecution, providing as much documentation as possible is beneficial.

 

Identification documents: passports, national ID cards, birth certificates, or any other identification documents. If these are not available, applicants should explain their absence.

 

Proof of persecution: any evidence supporting the claim of persecution, such as police reports, medical records, or affidavits from witnesses.

 

Personal statement: a detailed personal statement describing the reasons for seeking asylum. This should include specific incidents of persecution and the reasons why returning to the home country is not safe.

 

Family Documents: if applying with family members, include marriage certificates, birth certificates of children, and any other documents proving family relationships.

 

Photographs: passport-sized photographs for identification purposes.

 

Step 2. Filing the asylum application. Applications for asylum can be submitted at border entry points, within the territory of Romania, or at any of the regional offices of the General Inspectorate for Immigration. Applicants must provide personal information and details about their persecution.

 

Border entry points: asylum seekers can apply immediately upon arrival at any Romanian border crossing point. Border police are trained to handle asylum applications and will initiate the process.

 

Within the territory: applications can also be submitted at any of the regional offices of the General Inspectorate for Immigration (IGI). These offices are located throughout Romania and are accessible to those who are already in the country.

 

Detention centers: Individuals in detention centers can apply for asylum by informing the authorities of their intent. Detention center staff are required to facilitate the application process.

 

Airports: For those arriving by air, applications can be made at airport immigration offices.

 

Step 3. Initial Interview. An initial interview is conducted to assess the credibility and validity of the asylum claim. This interview is crucial for establishing the grounds for asylum.

 

The initial interview, also known as the preliminary interview, is conducted by the General Inspectorate for Immigration (IGI) in Romania. Its purpose is to assess the credibility of the asylum seeker’s claims and gather detailed information about their situation. This interview is a vital part of the asylum process, as it helps determine whether the applicant qualifies for international protection.

 

The Initial Interview in the asylum application process in Romania: What to expect

 

The initial interview is a crucial step in the asylum application process in Romania. It is an opportunity for asylum seekers to present their case, explain their reasons for seeking asylum, and provide detailed information about their experiences. Understanding what to expect and how to prepare for this interview can significantly impact the outcome of your application. This article provides a comprehensive guide on the initial interview for asylum seekers in Romania.

 

The interview will entail: Meeting with the asylum seeker alongside a designated IGI official and discussing all necessary aspects to address the request.

 

Asylum seekers are entitled to have a lawyer present during their interview. This means they can choose to hire a lawyer. In specific cases chosen by NGOs, asylum seekers may also receive support from a counselor at these organizations.

 

The interview is translated with the help of an interpreter, whose services are funded by the asylum authorities.

 

Preparation for the initial interview in the asylum applications

 

Gather documentation: collect all relevant documents that can support your asylum claim. This includes identification papers, evidence of persecution, medical records, police reports, and any other pertinent documents.

 

Prepare your personal statement: Be ready to explain your reasons for seeking asylum. Your personal statement should include specific details about the persecution you faced, the threats you encountered, and why you cannot return to your home country.

 

Understand the process: Familiarize yourself with the asylum process in Romania. Knowing what to expect can help reduce anxiety and allow you to focus on presenting your case clearly.

 

Seek legal assistance: Consider seeking help from legal advisors or NGOs specializing in refugee assistance. They can provide guidance on how to prepare for the interview and what to expect.

 

What to expect during the initial interview in the asylum procedure?

 

Interview setting: the interview will take place at one of the regional offices of the IGI. It is conducted in a private setting to ensure confidentiality and comfort for the applicant.

 

Presence of an interpreter: if you do not speak Romanian, an interpreter will be provided. Ensure you communicate clearly and ask for clarification if you do not understand a question.

 

Duration of the interview: the interview can last several hours, as the officers need to gather detailed information about your case. Be prepared for a thorough and sometimes lengthy process.

 

Questions to expect: the interviewer will ask about your personal history, the reasons for leaving your home country, specific incidents of persecution, and your journey to Romania. They may also ask about your family, occupation, and any attempts to seek protection elsewhere.

 

Emotional support: the interview can be emotionally challenging. It is essential to remain calm and composed. If you need a break, do not hesitate to request one.

 

Key points to remember during the interview for asylum application

 

Be honest and consistent: provide truthful and consistent answers. Any discrepancies or contradictions can undermine your credibility and negatively impact your application.

 

Provide detailed information: be as detailed as possible when describing your experiences. Specific incidents, dates, and locations can help substantiate your claims.

 

Explain francly the lack of documentation: if you do not have certain documents, explain why they are unavailable. Understand that fleeing persecution often means leaving without necessary paperwork.

 

Highlight your fear of persecution: clearly articulate your fear of returning to your home country and the reasons behind it. Emphasize the ongoing threats or risks you face.

 

The initial interview is a critical component of the asylum application process in Romania. Being well-prepared, honest, and thorough can significantly influence the outcome of your application. By understanding what to expect and how to present your case effectively, you can navigate this challenging process with greater confidence. For further assistance, consider reaching out to local NGOs or legal advisors specializing in asylum cases.

 

Step 4. Reviewing your asylum application after the Initial Interview and decision notification

 

Following the interview, your application will undergo a detailed examination by the IGI. This includes reviewing the information provided and conducting any necessary background checks. You may be asked to provide additional information or attend further interviews if needed.

 

The General Inspectorate for Immigration makes a decision based on the information provided. Decisions can result in the granting of refugee status, subsidiary protection, or denial of the application. You will receive a decision on your asylum application. If approved, you will be granted refugee status or subsidiary protection. If denied, you have the right to appeal the decision.

 

A decision will be made based on the information provided. The outcome can be:

  • Granting of Refugee Status: Full protection and rights as outlined in international and national laws.

  • Subsidiary Protection: Protection for those who do not qualify as refugees but still face serious harm if returned to their home country.

  • Rejection: Applicants can appeal negative decisions within a specified timeframe

 

When deciding on subsidiary protection, the factors leading to the rejection of refugee status are considered.

 

The refusal of the asylum application is accompanied by detailed justifications for each protection category and a reminder of the obligation to depart Romania. The individual is required to leave Romania within 15 days after the asylum procedure is finished, unless the asylum application is rejected as obviously groundless after being processed in an accelerated manner, in which case the person must leave Romania once the asylum procedure is concluded.

 

Step 5: Appeals process within the asylum procedure in Romania

 

If an asylum application is rejected, the applicant has the right to appeal. It is recommended to seek legal assistance during this process. Appeals should be filed promptly, and additional evidence or arguments can be presented to support the case.

 

Appeal and the competent courts

  • Complaint, filed at the territorial structures specialized in asylum issues of the General Inspectorate for Immigration (IGI) or at the competent court, within 10 days of the judgment; the complaint falls within the competence of the court in whose jurisdiction functions the competent structure of the General Inspectorate for Immigration that issued the decision.

  • Appeal within 5 days from the judgment of the court.The appeal falls within the competence of the courthouse – the contentious-administrative section – in whose jurisdiction is the court whose decision is being appealed.

 

If the asylum seeker lodges appeals within the statutory period, they will have the right to remain on Romanian territory during settling of their claim by the courts.

 

Common challenges and how to overcome them

 

Language barriers: language can be a significant barrier for asylum seekers. Access to interpreters and translation services is essential for effective communication during the application process.

 

Gathering evidence: providing sufficient evidence to support claims of persecution can be challenging. Applicants should seek help from legal advisors and NGOs specializing in refugee assistance.

 

Legal assistance: navigating the asylum process can be complex. Legal assistance is crucial for understanding rights and obligations, preparing for interviews, and filing appeals.

 

Rights and Responsibilities of Asylum Seekers in Romania

 

Understanding the rights and responsibilities of asylum seekers in Romania is crucial for navigating the asylum process effectively and ensuring compliance with local laws. This guide provides an in-depth overview of the entitlements and obligations of asylum seekers in Romania, helping applicants and their advocates make informed decisions and take appropriate actions.

 

Rights of asylum seekers in Romania

 

As per the regulations in Law no. 122/2006 on asylum in Romania, asylum seekers are entitled to various forms of assistance:

  • free accommodation upon demand in one of the six centers of the General Inspectorate for Immigration;

  • material means for subsistence: food, clothing etc.

  • material assistance for renting a house only when the accommodation capacity in the IGI centers is exceeded;

  • access to the labor market under the conditions provided by the law for Romanian citizens, after the expiry of a period of 3 months from the date of filing the asylum application, if the asylum seeker is still in the procedure of determining a form of protection.

  • free medical care and hospital emergency as well as medical assistance and free treatment in cases of acute or chronic illnesses;

  • Romanian language courses during the school year for minor asylum seekers;

  • cultural adaptation activities and, in case of need, counseling and psychological support.

 

During the asylum procedure the foreigner applying for a form of protection has the following rights:

  • right to apply for asylum. Every individual has the right to apply for asylum upon entering Romania, regardless of how they arrived in the country. Applications can be made at border entry points, within the country, or at regional offices of the General Inspectorate for Immigration (IGI).

  • right to remain in the country. Asylum seekers have the right to remain in Romania until a final decision on their application is made, including the duration of any appeal process.

  • right to a fair trial. Asylum seekers are entitled to a fair and transparent asylum process. This includes the right to a thorough examination of their application, access to legal representation, and the ability to appeal negative decisions.to be assisted by a lawyer at any stage of the asylum procedure;

  • right to interpretation services. Asylum seekers are entitled to interpretation services during the asylum process, ensuring they understand the proceedings and can communicate effectively.

  • right to contact and to be assisted by an official of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in any phase of the asylum procedure;

  • right to be advised and assisted by a representative of the non-governmental organizations, Romanian or foreign, in any phase of the asylum procedure;

  • right to have access, personally or through a representative, to the information contained in your file, unless otherwise stated by the law. Access to information in the personal file is granted based on the demand made to the specialized structure on asylum issues of the General Inspectorate for Immigration. At your request can be issued, free of charge, copies of documents from the personal file;

  • right to confidentiality. Information provided by asylum seekers during the application process is confidential and protected by law. Authorities are required to safeguard this information from unauthorized disclosure.

  • right to be issued a temporary identity document, whose validity will be extended periodically by the General Inspectorate for Immigration. In the absence of documents to prove your identity, the declared identity will be mentioned on the temporary identity document. This document shall not be delivered:

  • right to participate in cultural adaptation activities;

  • right to basic needs and services. Asylum seekers in Romania are entitled to access basic needs and services, including: Housing: Accommodation in designated reception centers or other facilities; Food: Provision of meals or financial assistance for food; Healthcare: Access to necessary medical services and healthcare and Education: Access to education for children and young adults.

  • right to receive free of charge primary medical care and proper treatment, emergency medical care as well as medical care and free treatment in case of life threatening acute or chronic diseases, by means of the national healthcare system and emergency qualified first aid; right the right to be included in the national health programs that aim to prevent, monitor and control the transmittable diseases, in epidemiological risk situations;

  • right to receive social assistance as provisioned by Law no. 292/2011 on social assistance;

  • right to Work. After a certain period, usually three months from the date of their application, asylum seekers have the right to work in Romania under specific conditions and obtain temporary work permits.to receive access to the labor market in the terms provisioned by the law for Romanian citizens, after the expiry of a 3 months period from the date of application for asylum, if your request has not been answered during the administrative phase of the procedure and the delay cannot be imputed to you, as well as during the progress of the asylum procedure in court. If at the filing date of the application you have a regulated right to stay in Romania and are legally employed, you can continue to perform the lucrative activity;

  • right of the minors to access ante pre-school, pre-school and compulsory school under the same conditions as Romanian minor citizens, unless an expulsion measure against them or their parents is enforced; on request, you can receive reimbursement of your transport costs occasioned by your travel to court in order to attend the hearings, if the process is conducted in another city than the one you are staying in and if the movement is achieved by means of automobiles, second class rail or by boat;

 

Responsibilities of asylum seekers in Romania

 

Compliance with laws and regulations: asylum seekers must comply with Romanian laws and regulations. This includes respecting public order and adhering to the rules of the reception centers.

 

Providing accurate information: it is the responsibility of asylum seekers to provide truthful and complete information during their application process. Providing false information or withholding relevant details can negatively impact their case.

 

Attending interviews and appointments: asylum seekers are required to attend all scheduled interviews and appointments with immigration authorities. Failure to appear can result in delays or negative outcomes in their application process.

 

Staying in designated areas: asylum seekers may be required to reside in specific reception centers or designated areas. They must inform the authorities of any change in their residence or contact details.

 

Cooperating with authorities: full cooperation with immigration and law enforcement authorities is essential. This includes submitting to security checks, providing biometric data, and complying with any other reasonable requests from officials.

 

Maintaining documentation: asylum seekers should keep all relevant documents, such as identification papers and legal documents, safe and accessible. These documents may be needed throughout the asylum process.

 

The rights and responsibilities of asylum seekers in Romania are designed to ensure a fair, humane, and orderly asylum process. By understanding their entitlements and obligations, asylum seekers can better navigate their journey towards finding safety and protection in Romania. For additional support and guidance, consider reaching out to local NGOs, legal advisors, or the General Inspectorate for Immigration.

 

When going through the asylum process, the foreigner seeking a form of protection is required to:

  • to present to Immigration General Inspectorate the asylum application containing the data indicated by the authority at which you deposit it, and to submit to fingerprinting and photography. Fingerprinting is not done if you are under age 14;

  • to present to the competent authorities complete and actual data on your identity data and asylum application;

  • to submit all documents that you have at your disposal and are relevant to your personal situation;

  • to surrender the document for crossing the state border, and will receive a temporary identity document;

  • to track the status of the procedure and inform the General Inspectorate for Immigration about the change of residence, within 5 days from the occurrence of the change;

  • to respond to requests from legal bodies in the field of asylum;

  • not to leave the locality of residence without the authorization of the General Inspectorate for Immigration. The permit will be issued by the General Inspectorate for Immigration after an individual, objective and impartial, examination, and in case it is not authorized, the decision shall be justified;

  • to attend the medical examinations that will be established for you and submit to the vaccination, as appropriate, in order to protect public health;

  • to respect the laws of the Romanian state and the measures taken by the competent Romanian authorities regarding asylum;

  • to leave Romanian territory within 15 days of completion of the asylum procedure, in case you have not obtained the required form of protection, except for the situation in which your asylum application was rejected as manifestly unfounded after its settlement in accelerated procedure, in which case you must leave Romanian territory as soon as the asylum procedure has been completed. The obligation does not exist if you have the right to stay covered under the laws on the legal regime of foreigners in Romania.

 

Conclusion on the asylum in Romania

 

Seeking asylum in Romania is a structured process designed to offer protection and new beginnings. By understanding the steps involved, your rights, and the support available, you can navigate this journey with greater confidence and clarity.

 

For further assistance and detailed guidance on this immigration issue, feel free to get in touch with our english speaking immigration and human rights lawyers at sorina@roadvocacy.ro or +40 744 65 09 50 or using the contact form on at www.roadvocacy.ro.

 

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The Lawyer's corner is nothing else but a legal blog dedicated only for entrepreneurs and investors in Romania 

 

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