Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions


Country Report: Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions Last updated: 30/11/20


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Pursuant to Section 26(1) of the Asylum Act, “reception conditions include material reception conditions, and all entitlements and measures defined in an act of parliament or government decree relating to the freedom of movement of persons seeking asylum, as well as health care, social welfare and the education provided to asylum seekers.

According to the Asylum Act, asylum seekers who are first-time applicants are entitled to material reception conditions and other aid to ensure a standard of living adequate for the health of persons seeking asylum until the asylum procedure ends.[1] However, since March 2017, first-time asylum seekers without lawful Hungarian residence or visa have been accommodated exclusively in one of the transit zones immediately after claiming asylum where they are entitled only to reduced material conditions(see Conditions in Detention Facilities). Asylum seekers who enter the transit zones can no longer request to stay in private accommodation at their own cost on account of the existent state of crisis due to mass migration.[2]

Those asylum seekers who are residing lawfully in the country at the time of submitting the asylum application, and do not ask to be placed in a reception centre still have the right to request private accommodation as their designated place to stay during the asylum procedure. However, similarly to the previous year in 2019 the majority of applicants submitted their asylum application in one of the transit zones and there were only a small number of asylum seekers who had been already provided with a visa (or came from a country having no visa requirements) or residence permit by the time of submitting the asylum application. In this latter case, asylum seekers are not provided with any material reception condition since their subsistence is deemed to be ensured. Otherwise, deriving from the wording of the Asylum Act those who are residing lawfully in Hungary but would like to be placed in a reception facility can submit their asylum application only in the transit zones.[3] The HHC is not aware of such an example.

Only those asylum seekers who are deemed as destitute are entitled to material reception conditions free of charge.[4] If an asylum seeker is not destitute, the determining authority may decide to order that the applicant pays for the full or partial costs of material conditions and health care. The level of resources is, however, not established in the Asylum Act and applicants have to make a statement regarding their financial situation. Presently, this condition does not pose an obstacle to accessing reception conditions.

Based on the state of crisis due to mass migration the provisions of Reduction or Withdrawal of Material Reception Conditions set out in Sections 30 and 31 of the Asylum Act are not applicable anymore, although reception conditions are ex lege reduced.

According to the Asylum Act,[5] subsequent applicants shall not be entitled to exercise the right to aid, support and accommodation.[6] Although in practice since transit zones are the compulsory places of confinement, accommodation (a bed in a container) was ensured for asylum seekers. Regarding the provision of food and other material support, subsequent applicants in the transit zones can only count on the aid of civil organisations and churches having access to the transit zones (see more at Subsequent Applications).[7]

Outside of the transit zones, the HHC is aware of some cases from 2018 in which asylum seekers were provided accommodation at an open reception facility during their subsequent asylum procedure, but were denied any additional help and support such as food or hygienic items.

The legal changes regarding reception conditions derive from the establishment of the regulation concerning the transit zone system. Therefore, the logic behind it strictly links to the conditions and circumstances asylum seekers find themselves in the closed container camp along the Serbian-Hungarian border.

[1]           Section 27 Asylum Act.

[2]           Section 80/I(d) Asylum Act.

[3]           Section 80/J(1)(c) Asylum Act.

[4]           Section 26(2) Asylum Act.

[5]           Section 80/K(11) Asylum Act.

[6]           Set out in Section 5(1)(b) Asylum Act.

[7]           HHC, Turbulent 50 days – an update on the Hungarian asylum situation, 22 May 2017, available at:


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