Criteria and conditions

Romania

Country Report: Criteria and conditions Last updated: 30/04/21

Author

Felicia Nica with support from JRS Romania Visit Website

Measures imposed during the pandemic

IGI-DAI reported that submission of applications has been suspended during the state of emergency (16 March 2020- 15 May 2020). During the state of alert (as of 16 May 2020) no measures were imposed. If family members were arriving from countries or areas that are considered at high epidemiological risk, the same measure was imposed as in the case of other persons arriving from the same countries or areas.[1] The measure referred to by IGI-DAI is the 14 days quarantine.

There is no difference between refugees and subsidiary protection beneficiaries in relation to the criteria and conditions for family reunification.

  • Eligible family members

Article 2(j) of the Asylum Act defines family members of the beneficiary of refugee status or subsidiary protection, to the extent that the family is in the country of origin at the date of the asylum application made by the sponsor, as:

  • Spouse;
  • Minor unmarried children of the beneficiary or the spouse, with the condition that they are unmarried, regardless of whether they are born in the marriage or out of wedlock or adopted in accordance with the national law of the country of origin.

The law does not set out any waiting period before a beneficiary of international protection may apply for family reunification. The law does not prescribe any deadline for applying for family reunification. The beneficiary of international protection in Romania may apply for asylum for his or her family members as long as they are not on the territory of Romania.[2] Beneficiaries of international protection are also not required to prove the existence of income, accommodation or health insurance for family reunification.

They only need to prove the family relationship with the family member or the fact that the marriage was concluded before entering the territory of Romania.[3]In practice, if the beneficiary of international protection does not have the financial means to pay for the translation of necessary documents to prove family ties, NGOs might help him or her in covering the costs of translation. In this case, the beneficiary has to wait until he or she receives the Residence Permit, as the terms of the project funded by the national AMIF programme clearly state that costs of such translations may be covered only based on residence permit.

  • Family reunification procedure

Prior to 2017, the applications for family reunification were assessed by IGI-DAI Bucharest. Currently, family reunification applications are to be processed by every Regional Centre.

According to the law, once the application has been submitted, the beneficiary shall also present original documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, identity card) to prove family ties with the family members or, in the absence of these documents, any other documents proving the status of family member.[4]

In order to obtain additional data and information on family ties and to clarify other relevant aspects of the asylum application lodged for family members, IGI-DAI must conduct an interview with the beneficiary of international protection.[5]

If the beneficiary of international protection does not present to IGI-DAI sufficient documents showing his or her family relationship with the family member in whose name the application is made, where originals are in the possession of the family member who is in a third country, IGI-DAI must communicate to the Directorate-General for Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the list of the necessary documents.[6]

The General Directorate for Consular Affairs requests the diplomatic mission or the consular office of Romania from the country where the family member of the beneficiary of international protection is, to establish the existence of the documents requested by IGI-DAI. The family member must present these documents, in original, to the diplomatic mission or consular office of Romania.[7] The documents shall be sent in copy, with the mention “according to the original”, through the General Directorate for Consular Affairs, to IGI-DAI by the diplomatic mission or consular office of Romania from the country where the family member is present.[8]

Cases of family reunification in 2020 per regional centre

In Giurgiu, according to the JRS representative there were no applications made.

Timișoara: The director of Regional Centre Timișoara reported 3 cases of family reunification in 2020, which were admitted.

In Galaţi there were 15 applications for family reunification, which were admitted, but there are also pending applications. In general, the procedure takes around 6 months, but there were also cases were a decision was issued in 3 months. When the application was assessed by IGI-DAI Bucharest the average duration of the procedure was 2-3 months. Thus, the procedure for family reunification takes much more time since the assessment of the application is done at the regional level. It was reported by the JRS representative that visas were not granted due to the pandemic or even if they were granted visas they could not travel because of border closure.

Rădăuţi: 6 requests were lodged; all of them were admitted in swiftly in 1 week. The family members arrived in Romania in 4 weeks.

Şomcuta Mare: JRS reported 3 applications for family reunification, which were all admitted, and 4 still pending. According to ASSOC representative, 5 applications for family reunification were submitted and all admitted. ASSOC representatives made the applications. As for the translation fees of the documents these are covered by the NGO or by the beneficiary. It was also reported that IGI-DAI requests original documents.[9]

AIDRom mentioned that within the current project they are working on a single case of family reunification. Many are interested in family reunification; however only one person has submitted an application and it was admitted.[10]

It was reported by some of the stakeholders interviewed that in general IGI-DAI requests original documents, but if the applicant cannot present the original documents, he or she is informed that the family members have to present them at the Romanian Embassy.

  • Specific procedure for unaccompanied children

The Asylum Act provides for a family reunification procedure for unaccompanied children, with specific requirements. The family reunification for unaccompanied minors, beneficiaries of international protection, shall be done with respect to his or her best interests.[11] The procedure may be triggered ex officio by IGI-DAI. In this case the consent of the legal representative and/or the unaccompanied child is also required.[12]In all cases, the unaccompanied child’s views will be taken into account and given due weight.[13]

If the unaccompanied child’s family has been traced, the case officer analyses the possibility and the conditions for carrying out family reunification and issues a reasoned decision in this respect.[14] The decision provided may be challenged under the same conditions as a decision delivered by IGI-DAI in the Regular Procedure.[15]

IGI-DAI shall take, as soon as possible, the necessary measures to trace the unaccompanied child’s family, while protecting his or her best interests.[16] The unaccompanied child’s opinion on the tracing of his or her family is taken into account and given the due importance, in relation to his or her age and maturity.[17]

The data and information collected for the purpose of family tracing are processed in accordance with the principle of confidentiality, especially when the life or physical integrity of a child or his or her close family who have remained in the country of origin is endangered.[18]

According to Save the Children, the family reunification procedure is initiated by the unaccompanied child.

In Galaţi, it was reported that an unaccompanied child who applied for family reunification requested the assistance of the NGO representative, who was in contact with IGI-DAI and his legal representative. In 2020 there no cases were reported.

In Rădăuţi, the reunification procedure is triggered by the NGOs.

The same was reported in Şomcuta Mare; the NGOs are initiating the procedure, taking care of the documents, with the legal representative’s support and approval. However, according to the ASSOC representative, IGI-DAI is triggering the reunification procedure for unaccompanied minors.[19]

In Bucharest the family reunification procedure in case of unaccompanied children is triggered by the NGOs.

Time limits and duration

The law prescribes that the family reunification procedure must be completed as soon as possible, not exceeding 9 months from the date the application was made. If further checks are required, the 9-month period may be extended by up to 6 months.[20]

Timișoara: The family reunification procedure takes around 3 months and family members usually arrive in Romania in 6-7 months, according to the director of IGI-DAI. In comparison with 2017, in 2018 the procedure at the level of the National Centre for Visas for foreigners who want to travel to Romania did not delay the process. In 2019 there were no applications for family reunification.

 

Şomcuta Mare: According to the ASSOC representative the average duration of the family reunification procedure is between 3 to 6 months. It was also mentioned that 4 family members (spouse and 3 children) arrived in Romania quickly, as they were already in Turkey when the family reunification procedure started.[21]Conversely, the JRS representative stated that family members’ arrival in Romania was delayed this year due to flight cancelations.

Rădăuţi: The family members arrived within 1 month from the date of communication of the decision. IGI-DAI is assessing the applications swiftly within 1-2 weeks.

 

Bucharest: an unaccompanied minor lodged an application in January 2020 and his mother arrived in November. The average duration of the procedure in previous years was 6 months; in 2020 the procedure lasted longer.

Giurgiu: The procedure takes 6 months.

 

Galaţi: The procedure takes6 months.

AIDRom reported that the application was submitted on 16 July 2020 and the decision was communicated on 10 November 2020. The family member is still waiting for the visa.[22]

In 2020, IGI-DAI reported a total of 212 applications for family reunification (90 Somalia, 80 Syria, 15 Iraq, 27 other), of which 96 were admitted and 10 dismissed.[23]

 

 

 

[1]        Ibid.

[2]        Article 71(1) Asylum Act.

[3]        Article 71(3) Asylum Act.

[4]        Article 30(1) Asylum Decree.

[5]        Article 30(2) Asylum Decree.

[6]        Article 30(3) Asylum Decree.

[7]        Article 30(4) Asylum Decree.

[8]        Article 30(5) Asylum Decree.

[9]        Information provided by ASSOC, 16 February 2021.

[10]       Information provided by AIDRom, 3 March 2021.

[11]       Article 72(1) Asylum Act.

[12]       Article 72(2) Asylum Act.

[13]       Article 72(2) Asylum Act.

[14]       Article 72(3) Asylum Act.

[15]       Article 72(4) Asylum Act.

[16]       Article 73(1) Asylum Act.

[17]       Article 73(2) Asylum Act.

[18]       Article 73(3) Asylum Act.

[19]       Information provided by ASSOC, 5 March 2020.

[20]       Article 31(4) Asylum Decree.

[21]       Information provided by ASSOC, 16 February 2021.

[22]       Information provided by AIDRom, 3 March 2021.

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

 

 

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