Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions


Country Report: Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions Last updated: 19/04/23


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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 an adequate standard of living as regards the health of asylum-seekers until the end of the asylum procedure.[1] Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, family members of refugees or subsidiary protection beneficiaries and those subject to forced measures or punishment affecting personal liberty, who are allowed to lodge their asylum application from within the country in accordance with the rules laid down by the Transitional Act (see the section on Embassy procedure), are subject to material conditions provided by the Asylum Act (in case of the third category of applicants it is reduced as the applicant is held in a detention facility). Asylum seekers who arrive to Hungary via the Embassy procedure are also eligible for reception conditions.

Until 21 May 2020 though, first-time asylum seekers without lawful Hungarian residence or visa were accommodated exclusively in one of the transit zones immediately after claiming asylum, where they were entitled only to reduced material conditions (see Conditions in Detention Facilities). Asylum seekers who entered the transit zones could 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]

Until 21 May 2020, asylum seekers who had been residing lawfully in the country at the time of submitting their asylum application and who did not ask to be placed in a reception centre had the right to request private accommodation as their designated place to stay during the asylum procedure. However, similarly to the previous years, the majority of applicants (42 out of 48 persons in January and February 2020) submitted their asylum application in one of the transit zones until March 2020. [3] Between March and 21 May 2020, no one was let in due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 at the time of their asylum application. In this case, asylum seekers were not provided with any material reception condition since their subsistence was deemed to be ensured. Otherwise, deriving from the wording of the Asylum Act those who were residing lawfully in Hungary but wanted to be placed in a reception facility could have submitted their asylum application only in the transit zones.[4] The HHC is not aware of such an example.

Only those asylum seekers who are deemed destitute are entitled to material reception conditions free of charge.[5] According to the Asylum Decree, upon submission of the asylum application, the asylum seeker also declares their assets and income.[6] An asylum seeker is deemed destitute if, taking into account the financial situation of their spouse and direct relative, they do not have an asset in Hungary providing for their living, and their total income does not surpass the minimum amount of old-age pension.[7] 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 any obstacle to access reception conditions.

During 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.[8]

According to the Asylum Act,[9] subsequent applicants shall not be entitled to exercise the right to assistance, support and accommodation.[10] In practice before 21 May 2020, since transit zones were the compulsory places of confinement, accommodation (a bed in a container) was ensured even for subsequent asylum seekers. Regarding the provision of food and other material support though, subsequent applicants in the transit zones could only count on the aid of civil organisations and churches having access to the transit zones (see more at Subsequent Applications).[11] HHC is aware of an asylum-seeking family (father and son) who were transferred to Vámosszabadi after the closure of the transit zones. After the NDGAP had rejected their asylum application in 2019 on the ‘safe transit country’ ground, the applicants requested that the asylum authority in the spring of 2020 continue their asylum procedure by virtue of the CJEU judgment issued in the case of LH (C-564/18). The NDGAP considered their application as a ‘subsequent one’ and rejected it stating that they did not provide any new evidence, despite the fact that Serbia had explicitly refused to readmit them. The court quashed the decision. Despite the judgment, the NDGAP unlawfully considered them as subsequent applicants and applied the rules of alien policing procedure regarding reception conditions. Apart from temporary accommodation they were not entitled to any sort of reception condition. Since then, the HHC is not aware of any similar instances.




[1] Section 27 Asylum Act.

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

[3] Information provided by the NDGAP on 2 March 2021.

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

[5] Section 26(2) Asylum Act.

[6] Section 17(1) Asylum Decree.

[7] Section 18 Asylum Decree.

[8] Section 80/I(a) Asylum Act.

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

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

[11] 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