Safe third country


Country Report: Safe third country Last updated: 31/05/23


Felicia Nica

Article 96 of the Asylum Act states that a European safe third country is a European country which is not a Member State of the European Union and:

  • Has ratified and respected the provisions of the Refugee Convention without any geographical limitation;
  • Has an asylum procedure provided for by domestic legislation;
  • Has ratified the ECHR and complies with its provisions, including standards on effective

The concept of European safe third country may be applied only if the applicant has attempted to enter or has illegally entered Romania from the referring country and this country agreed to his or her readmission.[1]

Under Article 97(1) of the Asylum Act, a safe third country is considered to be a country in respect of which there are sufficient guarantees that the rights of an applicant for international protection are respected on its territory in accordance with the following principles:

  • Life and freedom are not threatened for reasons of race, religion, citizenship, membership of a particular social group or political opinion;
  • There is no serious risk for the purposes of this law;
  • The principle of non-refoulement in accordance with the Refugee Convention is respected;
  • The prohibition of expulsion to a State where the person may be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is respected;
  • There is a possibility to request refugee status and, if this status is granted, to benefit from protection in accordance with the Refugee Convention.

Pursuant to Article 97(2), IGI-DAI rejects an asylum application as inadmissiblewhen these criteria are applicable, the third country has agreed to readmit the applicant and there is a link between the applicant and the third country, on the basis of which it may reasonably be expected that the country is safe in his or her personal situation.

Although the law prescribes that a list of safe third countries shall be published in the Official Gazette,[2] there is no such list available therein. NGO practitioners are also unaware of the existence of such a list. The Director of the Regional Centre of Timișoara thought that a list is published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. UNHCR stated that there is no list of safe third countries and the concept has not been applied in practice according to information available to them.

According to the law, ratification and respect for the provisions of the Refugee Convention without any geographical limitation is one of the criteria which has to be fulfilled by the country in order to be considered a European safe third country. This criterion does not figure in the conditions for a “safe third country”.

When claims are rejected as inadmissible on the ground of European safe third country, safe third country or first country of asylum, IGI-DAI must inform the authorities in the respective country in the language of the safe third country, stating that the claim of the applicant was not examined on the merits.[3]

One application was dismissed on the basis of the safe third country concept in 2018.[4]

In 2019, no applications were dismissed on the basis of the safe third country concept.[5] The same was reported in 2022.[6]




[1] Article 96(2) Asylum Act.

[2] Article 97^2 Asylum Act.

[3] Article 97^1(4) Asylum Act.

[4] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 5 March 2019.

[5] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 20 February 2020.

[6] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 16 February 2021.

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