Alternatives to detention


Country Report: Alternatives to detention Last updated: 30/11/20


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Alternatives to detention, called “measures ensuring availability”, are available in the form of:

(a)   Bail;[1]

(b)   Designated place of stay;[2] and

(c)   Periodic reporting obligations.[3]


Asylum detention may only be ordered on the basis of assessment of the individual’s circumstances and only if its purpose cannot be achieved by applying less coercive alternatives to detention. However, the HHC’s experience shows that the detention orders lacked individual assessments and alternatives were not properly and automatically examined. Decisions ordering and upholding asylum detention were schematic, lacked individualised reasoning with regard to the lawfulness and proportionality of detention, and failed to consider the individual circumstances (including vulnerabilities) of the person concerned. The necessity and proportionality tests were not used. The orders only stated that alternatives are not possible in a concrete case, but there is no explanation as to why.[4] According to the Supreme Court (Kúria) opinion, contrary to the current practice, alternatives must be considered not only in the course of the initial one, but also in subsequent decisions on extension.

The O.M. v. Hungary case of 5 October 2016 also established that the detention order of a vulnerable asylum seeker was not sufficiently individualised.


Alternatives were applied as follows in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019:

Asylum detention and alternatives to detention: 2017-2019

Type of measure





Alternatives to detention










Designated place of stay





Asylum detention





Source: former IAO and NDGAP.


In 2019, asylum detention was hardly used, whereas alternatives to detention were not applied at all. Most asylum seekers (93,5% of the total) were de facto detained in the transit zones, for which no alternative is prescribed in the law.




[1]           Sections 2(lc) 31/H Asylum Act.

[2]           Section 2(lb) Asylum Act.

[3]           Section 2(la) Asylum Act.

[4]           HHC, Information Note on asylum-seekers in detention and in Dublin procedures in Hungary, May 2014, 6-7.


Table of contents

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