Considering the fact that the military aggression in Ukraine has led to mass displacements of the population to the neighboring countries, we hereby present to you the requirements for obtaining the right of asylum in Romania and the possibilities of the refugees to stay in Romania under the current conditions. Moreover, we will also refer to the legislative updates that have entered into force in Romania which are relevant in the context of the mentioned events.

What is an asylum seeker in Romania?

First of all, we mention that the right of asylum entails that a foreign national or stateless person will be granted the right of entry and stay on the territory of a state.

The asylum seeker in Romania can submit an application for asylum in Romania requesting the protection of the Romanian state if he / she is on the territory of Romania or at a border crossing point in Romania.

The application for asylum in Romania shall be submitted with the Romanian General Inspectorate for Immigration, the competent territorial structures within the Romanian Border Police or with the other specialized authorities depending on the region of Romania that the applicant is located.

The decision on the application for asylum in Romania shall be made after the applicant’s situation is examined by the designated public authority in Romania that is competent on asylum.

Finally, the application shall be resolved within 30 days since the date the case has been taken over by the designated Romanian public authority.

What are the rights of the asylum seeker in Romania?

In accordance with the applicable legislation, asylum seekers in Romania have the right to remain in Romania until the expiry of a period of 15 days since the asylum procedure in Romania is completed, they have the right to an interpreter free of charge and the right to be advised and assisted by a representative of a non-governmental organization, regardless Romanian or foreign and of the stage of the asylum procedure in Romania.

They have access to material reception conditions aimed to guarantee their subsistence and protect their physical and mental health, access to accommodation in reception centers, to free of charge primary care treatment, social assistance and have the right to be visited by family members or representatives of non-governmental organizations in Romania.

Asylum seekers in Romania who are underaged have access to pre-school and compulsory school education, under the same conditions as their Romanian counterparts.

It is important to note that no measures of expulsion, extradition or forced return from the Romanian border or Romanian territory can be taken against the asylum seeker in Romania, except in cases of prevention and combating of terrorism.

What is the difference between an asylum seeker and a refugee in Romania?      

Until the application for asylum in Romania is granted, the asylum seeker in Romania cannot obtain an international form of protection, such as refugee status or subsidiary protection.

Thus, in order to obtain the refugee status in Romania and benefit from the corresponding rights, the foreign national or stateless persons shall carry out the asylum procedure in Romania.

Refugees have the same rights as Romanian citizens, except for certain rights that only Romanian citizens have, such as the right to vote or to be elected in public positions.

Finally, once acquired, the refugee status in Romania is granted for an indefinite period of time.

What main legislative updates came into force in Romania in the context of the current situation?

By way of decision no. 194/2022, has been set up the Inter-Agency Working Group “Ukraine” that aims to monitor, draw up proposals and collect information on the evolution of the situation generated by the conflict in Ukraine.

In addition, the provisions of the Romanian Government Emergency Ordinance no. 15/2022 introduced the possibility of foreign citizens or stateless persons that arrived from the Ukrainian area of ‹‹the military aggression who enter the territory of Romania and who do not request any form of protection according to the asylum legislation in Romania, to benefit from certain basic necessities during their temporary stay in reception centers or in any other accommodation locations in Romania.

Thus, they will benefit from food, clothing, personal hygiene materials, medical care and the right to be included in national public health programs in Romania aimed at preventing, supervising and controlling communicable diseases in situations of epidemiological risk.

Last but not least, through the Romanian Government Emergency Ordinance no. 20/2022, elderly people with reduced mobility or that are in a situation of dependency will benefit upon request and free of charge from social assistance according to Law no. 17/2000 on social assistance for the elderly in Romania.

Pavel, Margarit and Associates recommends to any person who wishes to obtain the status of refugee or asylum seeker, to contact the competent authorities of the Romanian state.

In conclusion, any foreign citizen or stateless person can apply for the protection of the Romanian state through an asylum application in Romania, benefiting from certain rights until obtaining the refugee status.

Given the armed conflict in Ukraine, the Romanian authorities have received recently a lot of asylum applications in Romania.

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