Alternatives to detention


Country Report: Alternatives to detention Last updated: 18/04/24


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Alternatives to pre-removal detention in the general immigration law (LARB) do not specifically target asylum seekers, rather all third-country nationals. The LARB was amended in 2017 to introduce new alternatives, namely:

  • Surrendering documents;[1]
  • Financial guarantee;[2]
  • Weekly reporting, already existing prior to the reform.[3]

The latter, however, may not be appropriate for new arrivals who do not have a place of residence.

In practice, in the overwhelming majority of cases, alternatives to detention are not considered by the Migration Directorate (MOI) prior to imposing detention.[4] The situation did not change in 2023. The necessity to develop in practice alternatives to immigration detention, which are already included in national law, was raised in the report[5] of the CoE Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees, following a fact-finding mission held in September 2023.

The asylum law (LAR), for its part, envisages bi-weekly reporting to the SAR as a measure to ensure “the timely examination of the application” or to ensure “the participation” of the asylum seeker.[6] The LAR also envisages a limitation of freedom of movement in certain areas in the territory of the state by a decision of the SAR’s Chairperson, where asylum seekers can be obligated not to leave and reside in other administrative regions (district or municipality) than the prescribed one (see Freedom of Movement).




[1] Article 44(5)(3) LARB.

[2] Article 44(5)(2) LARB.

[3] Article 44(5)(1) LARB.

[4] Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, Detention Mapping report Bulgaria, October 2016, available at:, 21.

[5] Council of Europe, Report of the fact-finding mission to Bulgaria by Ms. Leyla Kayacik, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees (11-14 September 2023), published on 30 January 2024, available at:

[6] Article 45a LAR.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation