Registration of the asylum application

Romania

Country Report: Registration of the asylum application Last updated: 30/04/21

Author

Felicia Nica with support from JRS Romania Visit Website

Asylum applications are registered by the General Inspectorate for Immigration – Asylum and Integration Directorate (IGI-DAI) within a maximum of 3 working days if the application is made at the IGI[1] and within a maximum of 6 days if the application is submitted to another competent authority such as the Border Police operating offices, the police units in which pre-trial detention and detention centres are established and functioning, or the structures of the National Administration of Penitentiaries within the Ministry of Justice.[2]

In case of a mass influx of applications for international protection filed with any of the latter competent authorities, the registration of applications can be made within 10 working days from the date when the application was filed.[3]

Asylum applications are recorded in special registers if they are submitted at a border-crossing point, at the units subordinated to the National Administration of Penitentiaries within the Ministry of Justice, and at the pre-trial detention and detention centres within the police units.[4]

When a person expresses the intention to seek asylum at one of the structures of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Romania, the asylum application is sent to the Regional Centres for Asylum Seekers, together with an outline of the asylum seeker’s situation. In addition, authorities may also attach documents drawn up after the apprehension or the first submission to the competent authorities.[5]

According to the Border Police, a person who expresses the intention to seek asylum at the Romanian border is given a form, which he or she fills in, in the language he or she knows. The form is registered in a special register of the Border Police structure. After registering the form, the person is informed, through an interpreter, about his or her rights and obligations. Subsequently, the form is submitted by fax to the territorially competent section of IGI-DAI.[6]

Asylum applications made at border-crossing points or airports are transmitted to IGI-DAI together with an information note on the asylum seeker, which includes the hour of arrival, documents in his or her possession, persons accompanying him or her and other elements which may contribute to resolve the case in due time.[7]

In 2018, there were 2 cases of Pakistani nationals, who wanted to make an asylum claim respectively in Otopeni Airport and Cluj Airport, but the Border Police never registered their claim. JRS had no access to them, even though the foreigners had contacted them. In 2020, JRS documented at least 3 similar cases, 2 in Otopeni and 1 in Cluj-Napoca.

According to JRS, in most of the cases asylum seekers are transported by the Border Police to IGI-DAI. Nonetheless, there are also cases when asylum seekers travel by train from the border to IGI-DAI. This occurred to asylum seekers apprehended at the border with Hungary, in Oradea County, which is further from Regional Centre Timișoara. However, if groups of asylum seekers are apprehended, they are transported to IGI-DAI by the Border Police. According to the Director of Regional Centre Timișoara, asylum seekers apprehended at border are transported by the Border Police to IGI-DAI.

There are no time limits set in law for making an application. According to Article 36(3) of the Asylum Act, competent authorities cannot refuse to register the asylum application on the grounds that it was filed at a later stage.[8] In addition, when assessing an asylum claim, IGI-DAI cannot reject it solely on the ground that it was filed late.[9]

According to IGI-DAI, asylum applications are registered in IGI-DAI database on the same day they are received, a registration number is automatically assigned. Simultaneously with the registration of the asylum application, the person is fingerprinted, photographed and issued a temporary identity document, which is extended periodically.[10] This practice is corroborated by the information provided by JRS representatives in the Regional Centres. As a consequence, there have been no delays in registering an asylum application in any of the Regional Centres.

If an unaccompanied minor expressed his or her intention to apply for asylum, in writing or orally, before the competent authorities, he or she will be registered as an asylum seeker in a special register, and the asylum application will be filed after a legal representative is appointed.[11] The identification data stated by unaccompanied minor are recorded in the special register.[12]

If an unaccompanied child has expressed his or her intention to seek asylum, in writing or orally, before the competent authorities other than IGI-DAI, the respective authority will immediately inform IGI-DAI, which ensures the applicant’s transport to the competent Regional Centre to assess the asylum application.[13]

According to the JRS representatives working in the Regional Centres, there were no obstacles to the registration of applications in 2019. The Romanian National Council for Refugees (CNRR) stated that they are not aware of problems with regard to the registration of asylum applications.[14]

However, according to the JRS representative in Timișoara, asylum seekers complained about the lack of interpreters at the stage of registration and lodging of the asylum application. The Director of the Regional Centre Timișoara confirmed this. He stated that they do not call interpreters even though they have the possibility to call an interpreter at this stage of the procedure. The same issue was reported in Giurgiu and Rădăuţi with the mention that IGI-DAI turns to asylum seekers or refugees accommodated in the centre for interpretation. In Bucharest asylum seekers did not report problems at this stage, even though there are no interpreters when the asylum application is registered.

In Rădăuţi, asylum seekers still complain about the fact that the Border Police does not use interpreters who speak their native language at the border. As consequence, information such as the name, the date of birth and the grounds of the asylum application, are not correctly recorded. Therefore, potential errors in the recording of personal information may arise during the assessment of their asylum application by IGI-DAI and contradictions may appear between the statements made at the border and those made during the personal interview. According to the legal counsellor of Rădăuţi asylum seekers who directly make an asylum application at the centre have no interpreter at this stage. JRS representative of Rădăuţi stated that while an interpreter was not always provided when an asylum application is made, there were cases where the interpreter signed the information note on the rights and obligations, that the asylum seekers receive upon arrival in the reception centre, when the asylum application is registered. She also mentioned that asylum seekers complain about the lack of interpreters in Timișoara or low quality of their services; the asylum seekers also mentioned that they signed documents without being aware of the content.

On the other hand, in Șomcuta Mare, there is not always an interpreter present when the asylum seekers are transferred from Timișoara, or when asylum requests are directly submitted in the centre. However, it was reported that soon after their arrival in the centre they are informed about the procedure with the help of an interpreter.

In addition to this, the Romanian Ombudsman noticed during the visit made in 2019 at the Regional Centre Şomcuta Mare that several documents signed by the asylum seekers were drafted only in Romanian, such as: the request for accommodation, the statement regarding the money that he or she has on her when accommodated in the centre, the obligation to respect ROI, information regarding prohibitions and sanctions, etc.[15] which, in general, are all signed when the asylum application is registered.

In Galaţi, it was reported that an interpreter is generally present when the asylum application is registered and lodged, with the exception of asylum applications made during the night, when authorities resort to asylum seekers or refugees accommodated in the Regional Centre who can speak the applicant’s language or English.

There were no cases where IGI-DAI refused to have the asylum application lodged.

After the asylum application is lodged, the applicant receives a “temporary asylum seeker identity document” (Document temporar de identitate solicitant de azil). This is a card containing a photograph, personal details and a registration number.[16]

In Timişoara, it was reported that when groups of 20-30 asylum seekers arrive in the centre, they are not issued temporary identity documents immediately, but they receive only a certificate containing the personal identification number, without picture. In these cases, the temporary identity documents are issued the next days. In case only 2 or 3 asylum seekers arrive, they are issued immediately the temporary identity document. It was reported that there were cases when around 100 asylum seekers were arriving per day in the centre and in these cases the issue of temporary identity documents may take longer.

The JRS representative of Rădăuţi mentioned that the majority of the asylum seekers transferred from Timișoara had temporary identity documents, and only a few had certificates.

 

Special measures imposed during the pandemic

 

According to IGI-DAI, during the state of emergency, the registration of asylum applications were organised in such a manner to allow the presence of only one person, except the cases where the presence of the legal representative, attorney, parent was required. Asylum applications were received and forms and other requests were filled in the designated spaces for these activities. The temporary identity documents issued were valid during the state of emergency. The photography and fingerprinting was carried out in the usual spaces. When asylum seekers where isolated or quarantined these activities were conducted afterwards. In addition, hygienic-sanitary measures were taken (masks, gloves, Plexiglas panels, social distancing). During the state of alert the same measures were applied, with the exception of the validity of the temporary identity document. The validity was extended according to the stage of the procedure.

 

 

[1]          Article 36^1(1) Asylum Act.

[2]          Article 36^1(2) Asylum Act, citing Article 35 Asylum Act.

[3]          Article 36^1(3) Asylum Act, citing Article 35 Asylum Act.

[4]          Article 38(5) Asylum Act.

[5]          Information provided by IGI-DAI, 21 August 2018.

[6]          Information provided by Border Police, 27 August 2018.

[7]          Information provided by IGI-DAI, 21 August 2018.

[8]          Article 36(3) Asylum Act.

[9]          Article 13(3) Asylum Act.

[10]         Information provided by IGI-DAI, 21 August 2018.

[11]         Article 39(3) Asylum Act.

[12]         Information provided by IGI-DAI, 21 August 2018.

[13]         Article 39(4) Asylum Act.

[14]         Information provided by CNRR, 9 December 2019.

[15]         Ombudsman, Report 44, 24 September 2019, available in Romanian at: https://bit.ly/2Txk0gT.

[16]         A template can be found at: https://bit.ly/2Q77KQ6.

Table of contents

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