Access to detention facilities


Country Report: Access to detention facilities Last updated: 31/05/23


Felicia Nica

The Aliens Ordinance provides that national, international and non-governmental organisations and other bodies competent in the area of migration, authorised and accredited under the law, shall be provided with the possibility to visit detention centres on the basis of the Protocols concluded with IGI or prior authorisation. In exceptional and duly motivated situations, it is possible to visit the centres within 48 hours.[1]

Article 13 of the Public Custody Centres Regulation details visiting hours in detention centres for the following groups:[2]

  1. Representatives of diplomatic missions or foreign consular offices representing the detainees’ interests: 09:00 – 20:00 every day;
  2. Representatives of national, international or non-governmental organisations competent in the area of migration, authorised and accredited under the law: 09:00 – 20:00 every day;
  3. Family members or other persons who need to state the reasons for visiting: 10:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 17:00 for a maximum of 30 minutes, three times a week, usually on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday;
  4. Legal representatives: 09:00 – 20:00 every day.

Lawyers have to hold a power of attorney from the foreigner held in detention. In some cases, lawyers have not been allowed access to detention centre on the ground that they had not had their lawyer’s card validated by the Bar Association.

Visits are authorised by the Head of the Centre or his or her legal representative. In the absence of cooperation Protocols, visits by NGO representatives are authorised by the Director of the IGI Migration Directorate.

Media and politicians have access to detention centres if their request is approved.

The Public Custody Centres Regulation prescribes the conditions under which detainees may use the phone in order to contact people outside the centre.[3]Foreigners may use the public telephone at their own expense from 09:00 to 22:00 every day. Every person is entitled to a card of 5 euro per month. The representatives of Otopeni reported that in some cases they allocated 2 cards. All interviewed persons stated that this is not sufficient, because international calls are very expensive.

In Arad there is one functional phone in building B. The phone is made available for a day for foreigners accommodated on one floor and the next day for the ones accommodated on the other floor, according to the detainees interviewed. Phone wires were installed in each common room in building C and a phone is connected for two hours in each common room. Each foreigner has around 20 minutes access to the phone. The Ombudsman also confirmed that the number of phones (four) is not enough, even more so when the centre is at full capacity.[4] In Otopeni, according to the people interviewed, there is one phone in each building. According to the representatives of Otopeni centre there are 2 phones. There is a third phone which is placed in the area designated for asylum seekers in transit, which was never used.

Detainees may use their personal mobile phone upon request, provided that it is not equipped with a camera. They are forbidden from using their personal mobile phone as long as they are under escort.




[1] Article 103(4) Aliens Ordinance.

[2] Article 13(1)-(3) Public Custody Centres Regulation.

[3] Article 12(1)-(4) Public Custody Centres Regulation.

[4] Ombudsman, Visit Report, 6 October 2022, available in Romanian at:, 5.

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